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[转载]How to write a job application covering letter

已有 9413 次阅读 2010-4-23 03:52 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察|文章来源:转载

In any kind of job application, whether on line or off line, you submit an application, your CV, and a covering letter introducing yourself. This last item is the first impression you make on a company. Here reproduced is some sage advice on “Writing Cover Letters That Get Read” from IEEE
http://www.todaysengineer.org/2010/Apr/cover-letters.asp
Writing Cover Letters That Get Read
By Elizabeth Lions
A common challenge among my clients is how to write an effective cover letter. Some think the cover letter is the place to list all the reasons why they are a good fit for the position. Others are so overwhelmed by the cover letter assignment that after looking at a blank screen for hours, they end up rewriting a summary of their resume. Numerous books and articles have been written on this topic, with much debate over what is the right approach for the right audience. Perhaps the following tips can help you when it comes time to draft this important piece of the job search puzzle.
Identify who is receiving your cover letter. More than likely, you are applying online and it will go into the inbox of a Human Resource person on the other end of the line. This person may be a senior leader with years of experience, or your application could go to a junior employee that who has been hired to screen you out. If you are very lucky, you’ll get read by a hiring manager, but more likely, if you are fortunate, your information forwarded by the gatekeeper to a decision-maker.
Regardless, it’s always safe to assume that HR will be the first set of eyes on your cover letter and information. Generally speaking, HR professionals aren’t technical in skill set, rather they are generalists. Often, recruiting isn’t even the most important function of their jobs. Keep that in mind. Be gentle with them. Don’t bore them. Most importantly, remember that you are one of many in their e-mail box, competing for an opportunity to speak to them about this job.
For years as a recruiter, I received thousands of cover letters, most of them missing the correct approach with me entirely. The one that I remember the most was the one that was unusual. I distinctly remember that he sincerely thanked me for my time, acknowledging that he wasn’t the only person competing for my attention. He knew I was busy and treated me with respect. He ended the letter with a compliment on my abilities and my organization. I called him immediately, thinking that this was the type of candidate I wanted to know more about, and a simple e-mail wouldn’t do. I wanted to hear his voice and meet him. I wanted the conversation out of e-mail!
How do you think you can get a reader that motivated?
Think about the point of the cover letter. It’s a page turner. The only point of the cover letter is to keep the reader interested enough to double click and open to your resume, where you will be judged. The best approach is to be pleasant, somewhat informative and very concise.
Over the years, I’ve been asked to author cover letters, and to explain why mine typically work. I have found that even a rejection letter is good because at least we know where we stand in the process, and I’d rather that than listen to dead air. Here are two examples of cover letters and some analysis of why they work:
Cover Letter Sample #1

Hello,
Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read my resume.
I noticed you had an ad for a (insert job title here), and wanted to reach out to you directly. Currently I am a working candidate and am looking at very select opportunities. Your organization, with its values and beliefs caught my attention.
Perhaps my background in (add a broad skill statement here) would be of value to you. At this point in my career, I’m looking for an organization that values its employees, where I can contribute immediately and be a respected team member.
I’ll leave this in your capable hands and thank you for your consideration.
Best Regards,
Your Signature
 
 
Look at the letter carefully and I’ll explain in detail why this approach works.
First, the letter acknowledges that the reader is busy. Not only is this a polite approach, but considering the reader’s feelings and workload shows that the letter isn’t all about you, it is focused on the reader, too. HR people receive too many cover letters that have a needy tone, asking or begging for a job, while others start with an arrogant tone. Start off on the right foot immediately by choosing a tone that draws the reader into the letter and on to the next paragraph.
This type of letter reminds the reader that you are working. An employed candidate is a highly desirable candidate from the employer’s perspective. It provides an opportunity to steal you away from another employer – possibly even a competitor. It also says that your skills are current and you aren’t on the government dole, unlike other candidates in recession or in tight job markets. Top talent is always working, and being employed just entices the reader all the more. If you aren’t working right now and can’t say that, don’t fear. Cover letter sample number two will provide verbiage for your situation.
The next paragraph sums up the position for which you are applying, just in case there are multiple openings in the company. Then it goes on to compliment the organization and show that you did some preliminary research on the company, which you have reflected in comments about the organization’s values. Employers love a candidate who did his or her homework. In this example, it should be clear that you did the research and the reader will want to read on.
This letter says very little about your actual skills, which will make the reader want to view your resume. Saying less is really more in this case. Briefly state that you have some of the skills the employer is looking for, but make the reader open your resume to find the facts.
The last paragraph plays to the reader’s ego, re-emphasizing how good the reader is at his or her job, and leaving it to his or her discretion to pass the your information along to the hiring manager. It’s a classy way to close a cover letter, and frankly, it works.
Cover Letter Sample 2

Hello,
Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read my resume. I’m certain you’ll get a lot of response to your ad!
I am writing in response to your (insert position title here), in the hopes of exploring this opportunity with you. I have heard good things about your organization, specifically how you are the leader in (enter some fact here) and believe in (enter a company core value here). At this stage in my career, I’m looking for an organization that supports the growth of their employees, and a place where I can contribute at a high level immediately.
Perhaps my background in (enter two broad skill sets that are requirements on the job description here) would be of value to you.
Sincere thanks for your consideration.
When the time is right for you, please give me a call.
Best Regards,
Your signature
 
 
Example two uses a slightly different approach, but the result is the same: the reader will click to your resume.
Look at the first paragraph. The tone is friendly and thankful to the reader. Like it or not, the reader has all the power to get your information onto the right person’s desk or to make the decision of whether or not to call you. By saying that the employer will get a lot of ad response, you are telling the reader that you know you are applying to a desirable organization. Employers like having their ego stroked. People like working at a popular place. It feels good. And it’s even more fun if you are on the inside, looking at others who want to be where you are.
Paragraph two shows that you have a basic understanding of the position and knows something about the company, which scores automatic bonus points. Again, notice that the cover letter isn’t just about you; it’s about the reader, too.
The next paragraph is a teaser about your skill set. If the reader wants more, he or she will have to open your resume.
The close is the most powerful part. It simply says when the time is right, please call. It gives the reader the power and implies that you aren’t sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. The tone says that you are busy, the reader is busy, and hopefully you can connect. The close is professional and it doesn’t have a needy message.
Cover letters are tricky, but they don’t have to be if you outline why you are there, what you have to offer and keep the reader in mind at all times.

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