If you’re searching for a job right now, chances are you’ve heard the terms ‘resume’ and ‘cover letter’ thrown around quite often. In fact, you’ve probably spent a good amount of time updating these career materials when applying for new positions.
You probably know what resumes and cover letters are; but do you understand them and their significance in your job search today?
Your resume should provide clear and quantifiable proof of your skills and abilities as a professional.
This is important because your resume must be 6-second worthy – that’s the amount of time a recruiter or hiring manager spends initially skimming your resume. If they don’t see what they need during the initial skim, you’ve just gone into the ‘no’ pile. Additionally, their eyes work in a Z pattern, meaning left-to-right across the top of the resume, and then back down the left-hand side.
The best indicator that your resume beats the 6-second skim is with a single glance – do you see white space? Good resumes are well-formatted with plenty of white space.
In fact, it’s better that your resume goes onto a second page rather than trying to cram all the information in small, nearly unreadable lines. A good rule of thumb is to never use a font smaller than 11 points on your resume.
The main purpose of your resume is to get the hiring manager at ‘hello’. You do this by sharing why and how you feel connected to the company’s business model and mission.
Recruiters often open hundreds of cover letters – but end up reading very few. Why? The biggest complaint they have is how boring and egotistical they are. Just like with a resume, job seekers use their cover letters to write an epic novel on how perfect they are for the role, all in an attempt to appear fully qualified.
The recruiter’s job is to determine which candidate is the best fit for the job; they don’t need job seekers telling them how to do their job. These narcissistic sounding cover letters usually end up in the garbage can; even if the professional never intended for it to come across that way.
Here’s The Right Way To Write A Cover Letter…
The job market is more competitive than ever, which means your cover letter needs to stand out.
Not only are cover letters inevitable, they’re also extremely important—it’s the only space you have outside your resume to make a good first impression. So if you want to land the job, you should be giving that letter the attention it deserves. To do this, you need to have a disruptive cover letter.
What’s a disruptive cover letter?
Cover letters that are disruptive focus on the employer.
A good cover letter helps the hiring manager understand how you feel personally and emotionally connected to what the company does. This is where you detail how you’ve come to understand what they do is better, faster, cheaper, more cutting-edge than the competition. It also shares why you are motivated to do the kind of work you specialize in. By offering the motivation behind wanting the job, you will help them see you are a fit for the company’s mission and culture.
Ultimately, companies want to hire professionals who respect, support and truly understand the reason they’re in business. For this reason, your cover letter is one of the most important career materials in your job search.
Always remember to proof-read and edit both Cover Letter and Resume, most especially when applying for different job vacancies.