“Tell me about yourself” are some of the first words you can expect a recruiter to say. How do you respond? Do you tell the recruiter what you expect from the job or do you tell a compelling story that affirms your functional expertise and bottom-line value?
Since you only have one chance to make a first impression, you should take advantage of the opportunity before you enter a prospective employer’s lobby. By communicating your value clearly ahead of the interview, you can position yourself as the candidate of choice, in the enviable position of having the position to lose.
How do you do this? Obviously you need a powerful resume . . . and a cover letter to match.
Over the years, I’ve seen a handful of exceptional resumes that have been written by clients themselves. Cover letters, however, invariably leave something to be desired. Too many start with “I.” Putting the focus on you early in the game is less compelling than focusing on something that lets the reader know you understand how business works.
Starting your letter with something topical that relates to your industry, the business world in general, a significant project you’re working on, your strengths and how they relate to your achievements, a customer issue or a news story about the prospective employer draws the reader in and encourages a thorough reading.
Nothing resonates like results, so be sure to include some of those and make sure they have enough weight to make the reader sit up and take notice.
Of course your interview performance must reflect the same strengths evident in your letter, but a well crafted letter will let the reader know you understand what is at stake, that you mean business and that you have the confidence to succeed.
Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC