7 Happybrook Lane
Croydon Vic 3136
Telephone: 8888 7776
September 8, 2010
Re: Your Advertised Position
Dear Sir or Madam
I would like to apply for the position advertised in The Trumpet on September 9th and hereby attach a copy of my resume for your perusal.
I am currently an Area Manger for Clothes ‘R Us. Clothes ‘R Us is a large, national company that has set the scene for innovation in the women’s casual dress area. With sales of more than $60 million a year, Clothes ‘R Us has become the employer of choice for staff members and has won the trust of the 35-45 women’s demographic.
As the Area Manager based at the Croydon North store, I am responsible for overseeing my team, managing budgets, resolving customer complaints and ensuring that merchandise is displayed to drive foot traffic to the store. I am also responsible for other tasks such as meeting with store managers to provide assistance in how revenues can be generated.
I hope you will consider my application to work for your client’s company. I am loyal, a good leader, responsive to directions and possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills. I also consider myself a big picture visionary.
I would be happy to attend an interview to discuss mutual interests.
What do you think? Does it work for John? Do you think he sounds like a real find?
If you answered no but you’re not quite sure why, here are the reasons this cover letter fails on many levels.
- John has poor manners: If the job advertisement requests that the application be sent to “David”, then the salutation of “Dear Sir or Madam” indicates John has no interest in the person reading his application. People like to be addressed by their names as if they matter. Only resort to a generic salutation when all available angles to research the contact name have been exhausted. (Even then, what about Dear Hiring Manager or something a little warmer?)
- Lack of Detail: A recruiting agency is not going to have just one job advertised. Referring to “Your advertised position” without any reference numbers or titles means the reader is going to have to put extra effort in finding out which vacancy was advertised in a certain newspaper on a certain date. As people generally display reluctance to put themselves out for no evident payoff, there’s a good chance this letter will be placed in the “too hard” pile.
- Wet-Fish Handshake: A redundant, cliched sentence stating “I would like to apply for” scores high in the yawn stakes. Start with something the recruiter hasn’t seen on every cover letter he’s ever reviewed; something that will arouse his interest and awaken in him a level of excitement he has never felt before.
- Fake Legalese: Hereby? Perusal? Really? Does anyone, anywhere really strike up a conversation by saying “Hi John, I am hereby providing you with the notes of our meeting for your perusal”? Opt for a business-like, respectful, yet conversational tone. It is important to give the recruiter an impression that should he call John into a meeting, he won’t be sitting across the desk from a bank manager from the turn of the last century.
- Typographical booboo: Never rely on the computer’s spell check! The word “manger” is routinely and quite rightly passed by spell checkers as it is a word. Proofread the cover letter and then hand it to a friend to read, and then read it again out loud. Everyone makes errors; the key is to find them before looking foolish.
- Self-absorbed text: Four of the paragraphs in this cover letter start with “I” and eight sentences include “I”: I would, I am, I am, I am, I hope, I am, I also, and I would. Rather than making himself the sole focus of the letter, John should be talking about what the employer wants. He needs to replace “I” with “you” (not only on paper but in his mindset and approach) and become more focused on what the employer or recruiter would like to see.
- Unnecessary content: The description of the company being the employer of choice and winning the trust of the women’s demographic is clearly out of place in John’s letter and is off on its own little tangent. Why advertise the company’s services? John needs to reinforce how he can fulfil his next employer’s needs, not sell the virtues of Clothes ‘R Us.
- Duties and Responsibilities: Not one quantifiable example is provided of how John does his job well. Instead the reader is led through a shopping list that could be called job description highlights. As most people know, a duty on a job description doesn’t indicate the job is ever done, nor does it mean it is done well. John’s letter talks in generalities about what he could or may do but not what he has contributed and how he has made things better.
- Cliches: John is loyal, a good leader and responsive to directions. Great, he’s a puppy. He also sounds like everyone else which is at odds with his self-proclaimed “big picture visionary” statement.
- No call to action: A passive request that he’ll attend an interview to discuss mutual interests scores highly on the yawn scale. Forget the happiness about being called to interview, asked for action!
Let’s use the information above to create something new.
7 Happybrook Lane
Croydon Vic 3136
Telephone: 8888 7776
September 8, 2010
Re: Regional Manager, National Clothing Inc., Reference RM/1001.DWR
In today’s turbulent economic environment, retailers need leaders demonstrating the confidence to continue red-carpet service for loyal customers, the energy to maintain a responsive, top-quality staff and the initiative to take bold steps for cost containment and lean operations.
Your advertisement indicates that your client is seeking individuals with those talents and more, and it is common knowledge in the industry that National Clothing Inc., is in the type of growth pattern that is my area of specialisation.
National Clothing Inc., will benefit from my leadership in the areas of budget management, revenue generation and store rejuvenation as the following selected highlights of recent times will prove.
- Transformed a demoralised group of people with high levels of absenteeism, into a formidable, customer service team providing service that delights. Customer-engagement rates previously languishing, rose 32% to an all-time high of 97% following delivery of an integrated program of training, succession planning and incentives.
- Surpassed expectations for cutting the budget by 10% without compromising levels of service and numbers of front-line staff. Outsourced administrative and payroll services and negotiated a multi-year deal that cut expenses by $500K annually.
- Kick-started a new, store-wide sales and marketing campaign for a channel partnership that generated unprecedented foot traffic to stores. Initiative delivered ROI in the first three weeks and progressed to create $1M in new revenues in six months.
As the current Area Manager for Clothes ‘R Us, I can bring to National Clothing Inc., a new leadership style to propel the company forward as it seeks to stamp its mark of distinction in all areas from customer and staff engagement, though new market penetration and beyond.
It would be a pleasure to discuss your client’s needs and my capacity to meet and exceed their expectations with new solutions and proven programs. I am available to chat in the next week and keen to move forward. Please let me know what days and times work for you.
Thanks David for your time. Look forward to speaking with you soon.
This new cover letter is confident, provides proven examples of John’s expertise, and has a sense of urgency that compels the reader to pick up the telephone. The emphasis is on the client’s needs, and it takes the reader on a journey.
Perhaps it is time to review what you’re doing. Are you submitting cover letter yawns?
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