Have you ever wondered the criteria employers or interviewers use to select their employees from a bunch of applicants? Or have you ever thought why most applicants who attach cover letters to their resumes before sending are always given the first priority when selection is done? If you haven’t then this paper will be much relevant to you since it will fervently answer your questions thus informing you on what to do the next time you apply for a job. If you are totally green on what is involved then the paper will also offer you with relevant skills required in writing better cover letters that will guarantee you employment.
To begin with, if I’m not wrong, everyone has obviously written an application letter or resume or both at least once in a lifetime. You might have been either seeking for a job somewhere, requesting to be admitted to some institution or just applying for unsolicited jobs. One thing is for sure, we both have at one time failed to secure the jobs we badly needed or we even never got any feedback from the applications we made. It’s also very true that some of us have been blindly writing these cover letters without actually knowing the essence of doing so, and with some luck, we have been able to meet our goals. We as well have to admit that resume writing in USA has become a necessity especially when applying for jobs in bigger organization hence the need to better our cover letter writing skills. But to be able to write better and informed cover letters, we have first to understand what they are and what is required in writing them.
Cover letters, in simple terms, are letters written to accompany resumes and C.Vs and are mainly aimed at introducing applicants to their potential employers. These potential employers can either be human resource managers in big organizations, educational institutions, government offices or non-profit organizations. They offer first hand information to employers especially about the applicants thus offering that first impression to your employers. Employers can actually tell much about you by looking at your cover letter. Your communication skills, your education level, your experience and level of understanding as well. If your cover letter is very shallow, shoddy and deceptive then your chances of securing that lucrative job may be limited. On the other hand, if it is well-thought out, organized and informative then your chances of being picked may be raised.
In most cases, job applicants are advised to take advantage of cover letters to express and market themselves to their employers, they should be prepared to up their game by beating their opponents at their own game. For example, they should clearly state the reasons they are applying for the job, why they feel they are better placed for the job than their opponents, what value they can add to the company if picked, and when they are ready to start the job. Cover letters should also offer a detailed description of your skills, abilities and experience. Sincerely speaking, most cover letters and C.Vs are a turned down by employers because of lack of such clarity.
The Dos and Don'ts for KSA (Key Skills and Abilities)
The US job market has become so diverse that one is always compelled to feel up questionnaires regarding his/her KSA (key skills and abilities) whenever seeking for employment. For example, when applying for a job on a website like usajobs.com, you have to answer the KSA questions. These are actually the evidences of your strengths. They distinguish you from the rest of your competitors because they give the employer reason to hire you as opposed to other applicants. You have to really convince him/her that you are the right person for the job, and that your skills and abilities match their requirements. Therefore, there’re certain things you do have to mention while the others you don’t have to point out for your application to be successful.
-Use the STAR approach – (Situation, Tasks, Action and Result)
-Do highlight your communication skills
-Do tell about your level of tolerance and ability to adapt to new situations
-Do describe your ability plan, organize, delegate, influence, manage and make critical decisions
-Do inform your ability to tolerate stress
-Do highlight your ability to solve and analyze problems
-Don’t mention your ability to polarize others
-Don’t use negative words
Best of luck,