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How to Distinguish Yourself in a Job Letter

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A job or cover letter is a requirement when applying for a job. Some postings specifically mention that you send a cover letter with your application and resume. Whether it's requested or not, employers usually expect it and your job letter is a great tool to help motivate the hiring manager to call you in for an interview. You can use it to explain how your skills and experiences align well with the job beyond what your resume shows.

Use an attention-getting opening. This is the most commonly mentioned tip from recruiters and employers surveyed in an article by hospitality job site Hcareers. Hiring managers are not always excited to read job letters and you must give them an immediate reason to pay attention. In the opening paragraph, identify the job you are applying for and lead with a hard-hitting statement about your qualifications. You might state: "In response to your website listing for an area sales manager, I'm excited to share how my proven skills and knowledge match your needs for this position."

Target your letter. One of the most effective ways to separate yourself from the crowd is to emphasize how your background aligns specifically with the needs of the hiring manager. Employers are used to reading letters about a candidate's brilliance and accomplishments. Before you state your core qualities, indicate that you recognize the manager's needs for the given position. You may state, for instance, "You need someone with proven sales success and I have twice been my company's annual top-performing salesperson."

Use bullet points. The easier your letter is to read, the more likely the hiring manager reads it. In the Hcareers article, employers mentioned they prefer to get through a letter as quickly as possible. Bullet points that highlight your qualifications for the job make for a quick and easy message.

Emphasize tangible accomplishments. To stand out, demonstrate not just that you have the qualities, but that you have proven it. Specific sales numbers, service scores, business achievements or awards can do this. Make it easy for the hiring manager to see your value.

Make your case for an interview. In your conclusion, ask for the interview directly but professionally. Thank the manager for his time, indicate how you can be contacted and say you look forward to meeting. Also, indicate a follow-up plan, such as "I will call at the start of next week to ensure you received my materials." This causes the manager to put pressure on himself to make a judgment. He may more likely call you.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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