The goal of a resume cover letter is simple: to secure an interview. If you will focus on that goal when crafting the letter and communicating to the employer, your chances of gaining that interview, and the job, improve tremendously. However, you must also know what the employee wants to see.
First, you need to understand the hiring authority perspective. Most managers hate hiring. It is a distraction from tasks that are more urgent and one that requires a lot of time. The employer is usually behind in their work because they need more employees. The average employer interviews eighteen candidates for each job opening. Several finalists are interviewed another three or more times. A significant number of times, the selected candidate will not accept the job offer. The process is frustrating, time consuming, and even avoided as long as possible.
In a tight job market, the hiring manager can afford to be highly selective. He or she will receive hundreds of resumes for any job posting and dozens of qualified candidates will be quickly identified. Cover letters should, therefore, state the applicants' qualifications in as few words as possible to facilitate a quick scan by the manager.
Those qualifications should be tweaked to match the job description. The employee scans the cover letters and sentences looking for very specific keywords – make sure you include those keywords. Typically, those words may include the names of competitors, specific job skills or certificates, the names of major clients, and specific job titles.
Consider what those could be and try to work them into your introductions. Your communication should cover these items:
1. Your reason for writing – identify the job you want
2. The reasons why the employee should interview you
3. A request for the interview
4. Your contact information
Employers want to know you are qualified and want the job. A cover letter is intended to get an interview. A follow up letter should be trying to do the same. There are numerous ways to keep your name in front of the employer during the follow up process so they know you want the job. By focusing on your goal of securing an interview, such that your communications appeal to the employer needs and position you as the best solution, you will have more success, more interviews, and more job offers.