Do You Sound Like Grandpa Simpson within your Cover Letter?
Grandpa Simpson from the hit cartoon comedy The Simpsons is one kind of my favourite characters. The flaw in his character is that he cannot seem to give a straight response to the simplest question as well as result is that he always seems to alienate those around him.
Writing a whole lot in your cover letter is as bad, or worse, as not writing enough. I will not bore you using an example because I want you to read to the end. But imagine a novel like document loaded with paragraph after paragraph of superfluous specifics of the work experience of a total stranger. Now, insert that document amongst sixty other job applications and you've got the proverbial literacy sleeping pill.
It is ironic how the incredible effort how the job candidate exerted writing the extra long cover letter actually ends in alienating the reader. It's not necessarily because the reader won't recognize the additional effort, it truly is that the reader carries a different perspective. You see the reader, aka the employer, is looking for a very specific style of person.
Imagine that you are recruiting from the insect world for your position of 'army ant'. Your four applications include; a bull ant, a white ant, a military ant and a fire ant. Whilst additional types of ants may be larger, stronger if not more aggressive the 'army ant' stands out as the most suitable. Why? Because you were looking for a very specific style of ant.
Ok, that wasn't the most elegant example ever. However hope that you know the point. Responding on to the criteria in the application is of utmost importance. Unless you address the key points from the job advertisement you have not written enough and if you're adding additional unrelated information you happen to be rambling.
I agree that there is a thin line between too little and a lot of. Finding the right balance is often tricky but here is a little technique that might help you to self measure the quality (and quantity) of this cover letter content.
· Make a note of each key criteria from the job application
· For each criteria, discover the paragraph in your cover letter that addresses that criteria and ensure that it is relevant, concise and building a strong argument for the case.
· Repeat step two for each key criteria until all tips are covered.
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By how, this is also an easy way to write down a cover letter. Just group all of your criteria responses, add an intro and a conclusion and...bammo - instant cover letter!