Saturday, March 27, 2010

An Easy Way to Give Your Cover Letter Zing!

As the saying goes: There are people who make things happen, people who watch things happen, and people who wonder what happened. Most employers want an employee who makes things happen. Your cover letter/email is a great place to say you do just that! Continue reading...


Ronnie Ann said...

Nice post, Susan - as always.

If I may (and borrowing from what you already said), it's so important I just want to emphasize again that the actual cover letter (in contrast to your passive/active examples) should say something like "I reorganized our marketing department in record time with a 20% increase in sales." or maybe even "I saw the need, proposed a solution, and then led the reorganization of our marketing department, resulting in a 20% jump in sales." (Depends on what qualities you want to convey.)

In case anyone was looking to borrow it (ahem), the phrase in your example "I took on the job of reorganizing our marketing department" while not grammatically passive simply doesn't inspire me enough as the reader of a cover letter. "I took on" feels more helpfully administrative and ironically "passive" in tone rather than showing real roll-your-sleeves-up leadership ability - unless of course to match the job opening the person wants to convey helper rather than leader qualities. My suggestion (and I believe Susan you agree) is to get rid of the helper words and get to the heart of it as you say later on: You reorganized the department! ;-)

It's hard for people to believe this stuff matters, but when screeners read a bunch of these, small things like that can jump out - and can make a real difference in your chances, again depending on the job.

~ Ronnie Ann

Jorge Lazaro Diaz said...

I totally agree. You must be perceived as a go getter and use of active language versus passive gets that across. Your focus on the cover letter (and the resume too) should be to tell 'em your measurable accomplishments.

Forget about describing your job roles and responsibilities. They can figure that out from your job title and a brief recap statement. You need bullets stating the percentage increase in sales, amount of money saved, increases in operational efficiency (you get the picture). This tells the reader what makes you so special compared to the others they may be considering for the position.

Check out my Pocket Resume article. It expands upon these ideas to help get you the awesome job you deserve.