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With the way the hiring process is these days, recruiters are flooded with thousands of cover letters. Trying to sift through them all can be a daunting process. On top of this, most cover letters are generic and tell the recruiter nothing about you.
But there are a couple of things recruiters really CAN'T STAND when it comes to cover letters. Career expert and Work It Daily founder J.T. O'Donnell is going to share what those things are and why you should stop doing them NOW...
#1: To Whom It May Concern
Using the phrase comes off as old-fashioned, impersonal, and shows that you didn't do your homework on the company.
Instead use "Dear Hiring Team", "Dear Hiring Manager" or better yet find the name of the person who posted the job.
# 2: Recap of your resume.
Writing out your accomplishment and rehashing what's already in your resume is wasting the recruiters time. Also, you could list the wrong thing in your cover letter could make them decide you're not a good fit and they won't even look at your resume.
Instead, you need a disruptive cover letter. Check out our video on how to write a cover letter recruiters will love!
Learn how to write a cover letter recruiters will love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdUafTx82OM
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hi JT! I wanted to hear your opinion on my situation. As someone who has dealt with anxiety all throughout high school and most of college, i never had the courage to step out of my comfort zone to apply for jobs. When my anxiety was at its worst, I couldn't even leave the house nor stay alone at home. Because of that entire experience, I always felt like my life was put on hold. I wasn't able to do things everyone else my age were doing like getting a job, joining clubs, or even leaving the house to hang with friends. I was always seen as a good student w/ good grades, but my grades suffered a lot in HS because my anxiety made me so uncomfortable I couldn't go to class. It was even to the point where I considered dropping out of high school and I felt like a disgrace to my family. However, I managed to push through it and brought my grades back up and even graduated college with a pretty decent GPA. As a recent college graduate who is applying for jobs with only 2 work/volunteer experiences, most jobs require work experience of some sort. I always wondered whether the cover letter would be the appropriate place to address the limited experience. Also, do you have any tips for people just entering the job force with little/no experience? Thank you in advance!!!
JT, I've only just "met" you in the past couple of days. I've watched about a dozen free videos and have subscribed to your service with access to all of the learning. (Very excited about it!) I must say that you are someone who genuinely seems to be doing exactly what they are built to do in these videos! My hat is all the way off to you for your excellent work! Many, many thanks!!!
Not knowing whom to address the letter to. Indeed, Linked-in Monster etc do not list a name, it's kind of a crock this whole process, the job-seeker is supposed to be all personal and bubbly and try to make a human connection, meanwhile the company is this cold, impersonal, unfeeling institution who only looks at the data, such a crock.
The worst part of writing a cover letter is the fact that as a job seeker looking for administrative work, is trying to find a unique way to introduce myself, and what could possibly be interesting enough as to why I'm the right person for the job, based on the company. For example, say I'm applying at a high-end restaurant or specialty grocery store... As a foodie, who also is very organized in the office, I have a few things I can talk about with the idea behind the place. Of course, if I'm applying at an engineering company, it's not so easy to connect myself.
I actually enjoy expressing myself in a cover letter so my passion for the work shines through. But I read a Work It Daily response down below here that says not to send a cover letter if it's not requested. I've ALWAYS been told that you send a cover letter anyway. Even a government sponsored job search agency told me to do this. Any further comments on this from Work it Daily?
Hi Laura. Good point. We were speaking to the point that sometimes in a job posting they will specifically say "Don't send cover letters" or "Please no cover letters." It's best to listen to what they're asking and not send one. If it doesn't specify this then it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing but if it states in the job posting to not send one, don't send one. Hope that helps.
Hi, there! I just graduated with an Associate's Degree in SoCal. When I cornered matriculation and counseling about what this Degree can DO while pursuing graduate studies? They said, "Well, it will garner an entry level position somewhere." (What on Earth does that mean?)
I have a Behavioral Science Undergraduate Degree, but zero intern experience. I have a family. I'm 40. I have worked in (5)polarized fields that have almost nothing in common with eachother: Food Server, Retail,Federal Mail Carrier, Psychiatric Technician, and then finally, WAREHOUSE. [So, there's things that I do not know how to make stand out to a recruiter. 10+ years Customer Service means we have worked with thousands of people. USPS is Federal. Psych Tech is 5 years with the State, and is inclusive of nursing, clerical, forensics. I accepted warehouse work, because I could cross train- two departments, six functions, two separate companies. ]
Your feedback IS valuable, but it is intimidating. I don't want to sell insurance, and our resumes are going out there virtually to God knows where.
This is just my take on it:
A few things. I want meaningful* work. Many people are underemployed and disgusted by the work they do. They're seeking higher education in a fleeting hope to venture away from those positions where employees are reduced to a login. I have $40,000 in school loans and resumes and cover letters weren't taught, or critiqued, from either colleges I attended.
In defense of all the tossed resumes, we applicants were seeking a guided process when there wasn't always one. We work/ed hard, pursue/ed higher education in order to have qualities pulled out of ourselves that we never knew we possessed to transcend poverty. So, with this Associate's of Liberal Arts Degree in Sociology and Behavioral Science, how do we transition to HR or administrative positions with work experience that highlights $12 employment in order selection or McDonalds?
I'm listening to your videos and imagining my last, FAMOUS, Famous eCommerce Fulfillment Employer that was NOT nice to work for three years. That's where I discovered how important it is to manage stress, or it will manage you? Also, there is value in ASKING the right question to achieve the correct answer.
How do warehouse workers ( *educated* warehouse workers) find an Entry Level position in Administration, Receptionist, Trainer, Coach, etc., and put their degree to work? No shame in transferable skills.
Write your cover letter in four sentences or less, the "how to write your entry resume video" was helpful.
I registered with the Department of Labor while job seeking, and the EDD has programs that subsidize HALF the wages of a 90 day temp to hire training process with provided training*. The Department of Labor is Federally funded and they will prioritize Veterans. Additionally, there are programs for students straight out of high school ages 17-26. Additional help is available to persons seeking certificate training, typing test, fax, PC equipment and I believe 8-5 office hours. However, they don't have resume training, many of these will utilize " the Wizard" which according to some other YouTube videos is not recommended.
So, as I/YOU/WE write my/your/ new resume(S) for EACH new job description, everyone tailored with action verbs listed in said job description? I had no idea is perfectly acceptable to omit your address. No "I have" "I can" "We have" in your 'highlight' sales pitch (30 seconds). You want a 1" Margin and a .7 setting on your word document in Calabri or Arial font. (font size not smaller than 10) No periods. No formatted lines, and don't snag templates from Google Images, NO color on your resume..... and save to flash drive in PDF format. I'm not sure why I thought Microsoft Office Docx. were okay.
My point is? How does a non-corporate executive know all of this? They pay lots of money to people to generate these, or try to make these themselves, because they're working with what they have. I'm sad for all these resumes that go in the bin, because the instruction was missing from non-virtual life. I'm certainly not the only one who didn't know, so I'm typing this. Maybe? From a position of Advocacy, and encouragement and not even trying to seem as though I'm pessimistic, or yelling. Simply this? We're going to recruiters for help. I just met the recruiter last week that was brave enough to discuss some of this with me. I'm working through recovery with a chronic illness, finish college, the kids are raised and okay, but then find this.
It took seventeen years to obtain this Sociology Degree while raising my family. I admire anyone who is working towards a higher quality of life / transcend stratification through higher education. Keep persevering and modeling positive goal setting. DO your research and don't undermine your gifts and abilities. Study all of the videos that are this, or like this, and keep tailoring your strategy for success. There are 9,000,000 women in the US that are single parents. If you graduated high school or community college, proud of you. If you're raising families by yourself, with or without help? Proud of you. That's the most important job you could ever do. If you're the male provider or female provider, working hard to find work to support your family while juggling Military or trauma with DMH or DBH issues, College and work? Proud of you. If you are newly sober with 12 steps? Proud of you. Outline a plan for your life, but ultimately you form that template. Family is the most important thing. Keep your head up. Good luck to you, job seekers!
I'm burned out on the cover letter. I understand it's importance, however, I am tailoring a resume and a cover letter to every job I apply for. When I'm applying for at least a job a day, most of my day is writing twice. Yes, I can cut and paste and share across jobs, but you still have to tailor both. It's exhausting and frustrating and leads to burn-out. I'm almost to the point of "Dear Hiring Manager, Here's my resume, read it. K. Thx. Bye."
I'm already subbed, noted, and of course, I like...no... I L O V E looking at these kinds of videos ! ! So thank you so much for doing this. Being I'm from Canada [Ottawa Ontario], There is no company, or people like you, that does this for us unemployed. I can't remember how I came across your YT channel but lemme tell you I"m glad I did.
I've already implemented many of your tips and tricks to find work, some I was already doing. Unfortunately, I'm still out of work going on 6 months now. I'm getting calls, and interviews.....but no job. I'm a pharmacy technician that was cut as a result of what they called "Organizational restructuring" [the new buzz word these days I guess]. Eight years of dedicated service....and well.....this. And what I'm finding out now, is the rate for a pharmacy assistant now days, up here in Canada, . . . ready for this?....$14.00/hr. . . AND they want you to wwork nights. . .AND they want you to work weekends. . .AND they want you to work holidays. . . AND they don't have a benefit plan. . . I'm in a job where a patients health is paramount, but they feel that it's only worth . . $14.00.
Anyway, you don't need/or have the time to hear this kind of stuff. All this to say that I really appreciate everything you do and keep doing doing it !
Thanks for sharing your story Mike! We're sorry that you're having such a hard time finding work. You're not alone! We hope our videos give you the insights you need to find position that's perfect for you. :)
If you find that our videos here in YouTube just aren't enough, we recommend checking out our Premium Subscription. For only $19/mo (when you use the code YOUTUBE10 at checkout) you get access to 15 of our courses, a community of like minded professionals and one-on-one message coaching with our team of experts. It can make all the difference. You can learn more about it here: http://courses.workitdaily.com/p/subscription
Best of luck!
Based on informal discussions I've had most recruiters don't read cover letters, but we definitely don't read the cover letter and then the resume. Resume first if not resume only. I wouldn't write a cover letter based on wanting someone to read my resume, assume they've read your resume, you're close enough that it's worth reading the cover letter but they aren't 100% convinced and you need the cover letter to put them over the top. Use it to clarify why something on your resumes is germane to the job. High light specific responsibilities from the job post that aren't on your resume but you've done and sell yourself for THAT particular job.
Why is that that for instance i went to a potential employer or employee and i asked what does it take to make it in the industry of hospitality and tourism and they said a generic response can you hand in the Resume/Cv. I then corrected them that i weren't there just asking for a job with no research that i were interest in what it takes to work in the industry. Now i try and ask questions and research about the industry and have different Cover Letters for each industry and a different Cover Letter for each job.
Hi too be honest i enjoy being a bit of a word doctor and reading thoroughly through the job description highlight my skill that aint relevant to my Resume/Cv. I like embellishing my language and highlighting my strengths. Talking about my interest in the people not just the pay packet. Can you please reply back to my comment. I will hit subscribe.
I'm going to know thanks to you get some information about the managers name or the company and their unique title.
Hello Ms. O'Donnell, I am trying to copy the links to both videos on Cover Letters, and surprisingly enough, both links lead to the same video, to How To Write a Cover Letter That Recruiters Will LOVE. Please advise.
Hi there - We'd be happy to help point you in the right direction. We only have one cover letter video we link to in this video and it is the "How To Write A Cover Letter Recruiters Will Love" - Is there another video that you had in mind that we could help you find? Thanks!
Most are submitted online but it all depends on the company. If you've networked your way into a company and someone is passing along your resume and cover letter to the hiring team, they might ask you to print it out. Also only send a cover letter if it is requested in the job description. Hope that helps!
Well, living in a country where 75-80% of the new people hired in companies receive a fixed term contract to me it does not make sense at all to invest time and effort in writing a cover letter in which I should motivate why I want to work for a certain company. I like the work regardless of which company. In fact, I am not interested in companies at all as without exception they treat employee's as liabilities, bystanders and expandables instead of assets. Employers keep demanding loyalty without realizing loyalty is in fact reciprocal. My horizon with employers is usually at 8-9 months when I get a year contract. If I receive an offer for a 12 months contract near the end of my fixed term contract from another company I take it as it provides me an additional 10 months of income. Waiting for a possible chance of contract extension is too risky.
I would say the worst part in writing a cover letter is the introduction. I am currently writing "Motivation Letters" to business schools. Writing an introduction that stands out is so difficult sometimes. On top of that, trying to customize a cover letter for each single school you are applying to can be difficult also.
Very true Brady. It can be difficult to come up with unique introductions for every school, but if you have an underlying theme perhaps that could help. Also doing your research to see if there's a specific aspect of the school or curriculum that excites or interests you that's also a source for inspiration. Best of luck!
Writing cover letters for vague postings that give me enough information to know I want the job but not enough to craft a relevant and persuasive letter. Also postings where hiring management teams can't be found on linkedin, or their website. Frustrating, to say the least. Is it their strategy to see how deep someone can dig in their research? or have they not been shown how to communicate with potential candidates. I have always wondered this...
Great question Adrienne. A lot of companies out there are just completely unaware of how to properly market themselves and write job descriptions. This is a major problem in the industry and one we're trying to fix. Work It Daily it trying to bridge the gap in knowledge that both job seekers and companies have when it comes to the hiring process. If you're finding that the job description isn't giving you enough and there's not much about the company online in order for you to properly research them, we could recommend trying to network you way in if possible. Find someone who works there and request to connect with them on LinkedIn and ask for an informational interview.
You asked for opinions on the worst part. For me the worst part is trying to be original and different then the 100's if not 1000's of other applicants and trying to figure out what appeals to the particular culture of this particular organization. Seriously considering just starting my own business and getting out of this ridiculous game!
We always teach here at Work It Daily that "you're a business-of-one". For some that means being their own boss and for other's it's about knowing your worth and what you want out of your career. Both paths are great it's about knowing what's the right fit for you. You are 100% correct that it can be very hard to stand out in a sea of other applicants. It might be hard but it's NOT impossible. If you use our Disruptive Cover Letter Technique, which JT covers in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdUafTx82OM ) it will set you apart and get recruiters attention. This includes doing your research about a company on sites like Glassdoor, but also asking for informational interviews with people at the organization. They can give you the insight you're looking for when it comes to the company culture.
Rhett - Yes that is true. You should take time to craft a disruptive cover letter. It will show the hiring manager or recruiter that you really did take the time to understand the company and have connected with the company on a personal level. These kinds of well crafted cover letters are the ones that truly stand out and get people to the next phase in the hiring process. There's a lot of noise out there, you need to break through.
Having a good relationship with others.
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