Provisional Blog

3 Reasons Why You Need a Custom Cover Letter

August 21st, 2018

When it comes to your job search, you’ve probably spent a lot of time writing the perfect resume. But what about the cover letter? It’s a lot more important than you think. And if you don’t customize it for each position you apply to, it can impact whether or not you get a call for an interview. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, Provisional explains why:

It tells a story.

Your resume offers an overview of your background, skills and experience. But your cover letter is where you can truly let your personality and accomplishments shine through. Not only that, but beyond simply focusing on your career history, it gives you an opportunity to discuss where you see your career headed and why you think you’re a great fit for the job. You can do all this in a way that helps you to come off as warm, friendly, capable and confident, rather than just another job candidate.

It demonstrates enthusiasm.

If you send in a boilerplate cover letter, then a hiring manager isn’t going to be impressed, nor will they take much time reading it. However, when it’s personalized and specific to the job opening, it shows them that you’re excited about the company and the opportunity. It tells them that you’re willing to go the extra mile to learn about their organization, so you can best speak to the value you can offer. As a result, you’ll stand out and be more likely to get noticed.

It digs into more detail.

Your resume lists your skills and accomplishments. But if there’s one in particular that’s especially relevant to the job, you can dig in and explain the details of it in your cover letter. For instance, if you won an award at work, you can talk about how you achieved it and what it meant to you. Again, this simply provides another opportunity for you to set yourself apart in the eyes of the hiring manager.

Clearly, a customized cover letter is important for every job you apply to. And creating one is easier than you might think. Simply write a standard letter and then tweak some details in each one you send out so they’re as pertinent as possible to every company and opening.

Need more help with any aspect of your job search?

Call Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we’re highly experienced in helping our candidates craft top-notch cover letters and resumes, all so they secure more interviews in the process. Connect with our team today to get started.

Why is a Cover Letter Important?

February 20th, 2018

You know that your resume is vitally important to the job search process. But did you also know that your cover letter is important too? As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that for many candidates, though, it’s an afterthought. They focus all of their efforts on their resume and give minimal attention to the cover letter that accompanies it.

However, in many cases, hiring managers put a lot of weight on a cover letter for a few different reasons:

  • It’s hard to get a sense of the person behind the resume. But a cover letter gives more insight into a candidate’s personality.
  • It gives each candidate an opportunity to set themselves apart by explaining why they want work at a particular company or why they think they’d be a good fit for a position.
  • It also enables a hiring manager to tell whether a particular candidate did their homework. They want to know, for instance, that you have a solid overview of the company and what the needs are for the position.

So now that you know why a cover letter is so important, what can you do to ensure you make the best impression possible with yours? Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Do some research. Get to know the employer and as much as you can about the position they’re hiring for. That way, you’ll be able to write more intelligently about why you’re a good fit in your cover letter.
  • Think about why you want to work there. One great way to stand out with your cover letter is to tell a story. You can do that by talking about the company and why you want to work there. Get into specific details about what in your background would make you a fit for the position and the company.
  • Talk about the value you can offer. Hiring managers want to know what’s in it for them. In other words, what can you offer to a potential employer and why should they hire you over another candidate. So connect the dots for them. Play up your skills and experience that are most relevant to the position and the employer, and how those will enable you to hit the ground running in the job.

Need more help with your cover letter or resume?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare you for job interviews, and match you with opportunities that are a great fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

Struggling with Your Cover Letter? Here’s How to Write an Effective One

September 12th, 2017

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that many candidates struggle with cover letter writing. And for good reason. Most don’t know where to begin, let alone what to include in theirs. So they end up regurgitating their resumes, or pulling a boilerplate letter from the Internet and swapping out details for their own.

But in today’s competitive job market, that’s not the way to get hired. Instead, when you’re trying to write your cover letter, but get stuck with the process, follow this format instead:

The Beginning.

  • Your contact information should be at the top of your resume. That way, hiring managers don’t have to search through your application, resume and cover letter for it. It’s front and center.
  • In terms of the greeting, if you don’t have the name of the hiring manager, and can’t find it despite your best efforts, it’s ok to address the letter “To whom it may concern” or “Dear hiring manager.”
  • In the first paragraph, you need to grab the attention of the hiring manager, and also make it clear you’ve done your homework and understand what they do.
  • If you were referred to the job by a mutual contact, then this also a good place to drop their name.

The Middle.

In the rest of the body of the letter, keep in mind you’re trying to highlight why you’re the best fit for the job. The most effective way to do this is to talk about a past project or accomplishment that’s most relevant to the position. For instance, if you mentioned you increased sales by 10% in a past position on your resume, your cover letter is the ideal place to further explain how you went about doing that and what impact that had on the company. Whenever possible, use numbers.

The End.

The ending of the letter is the place to reaffirm your interest and enthusiasm for the role. It’s also a good place to thank the hiring manager for their time.

A few other tips:

  • Your cover letter should be short and sweet, and less than one page.
  • It should be formatted in a way that makes it easy to read, with a good size font and plenty of white space.
  • If you have an online portfolio or work samples, you can also provide a link in your cover letter.

Your cover letter is your chance to shine. It’s important that you not only highlight the skills and abilities that make you unique, but how you can contribute to the potential employer’s bottom line. You also need to come across as a real person, not a robot, with some energy and passion.

If you’re still having trouble with your cover letter, give Provisional a call.

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every step of the job search process, from resume and cover letter writing to job leads and interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

6 Cover Letter Secrets Every Candidate Needs to Know

April 18th, 2017

If you’re like most job candidates, you dread writing cover letters. What are you supposed to say that’s not already discussed in your resume?

While writing a cover letter can feel like a pointless exercise, it’s not. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that hiring managers do read them and they’re actually an opportunity to promote yourself – and why you should get the job. To help you put together one that gets results, consider these tips:

#1: Don’t rehash your resume.

The cover letter shouldn’t be a duplication of your resume. Instead, it should be used to explain something new about yourself that your resume doesn’t showcase. For instance, if you’ve used the company’s products and services – and are a fan – then you can explain why you’ve always wanted to work there. In fact, telling a story is a powerful approach for cover letter writing.

#2: Focus on facts, not fluff.

Don’t make statements, such as “I’m a top-notch candidate best suited for this position.” You don’t know that; other candidates could be stronger or better suited. Instead, stick to facts about your background and the value you can bring to the potential employer.

#3: Be real.

Don’t be overly formal or use corporate jargon in your cover letter. When you do, you wind up sounding more like a robot than a real person. Also, don’t copy and paste a boilerplate cover letter and simply swap out the company and hiring manager’s name. They’ll know in an instant. Instead be professional, but also warm and engaging with your tone and language.

#4: Talk about what you can do for the employer.

Your cover letter shouldn’t be all about you. It should be about how you can help the company succeed, whether it’s through increased sales, more efficient processes, or shaping better policies. You may need to re-read the job posting to get a better sense of how your background and skills can contribute to the company’s bottom line.

#5: Use numbers and statistics.

Hiring managers want to see real results – in the form of dollars, percentages and statistics. So brainstorm an accomplishment that you can quantify and talk about it in your cover letter, including how you approached the problem and the results you were able to achieve.

#6: Expect to re-write it a few times.

No one gets their cover letter right the first time. Expect to write a few drafts and then revise it many times before it hits the mark. Also, make sure to proofread it plenty of times before sending it out to potential employers. That way you can rest easy it’s well-written and error-free.

Need more help with your cover letter, resume or job search?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we’ve placed more than 8,000 professionals with leading local employers since 1994. From writing your resume to getting interviews and offers, we can help you with every aspect of your job search, start to finish. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

Why Do I Need a Cover Letter?

May 27th, 2014

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, candidates continually ask us this question. To them, it seems like a waste of time. But to a hiring manager, a cover letter is still an important tool in assessing you as a candidate.

Think of it this way:

Whom would you rather interview? The candidate who sends a compelling cover letter offering unique information and details about why they are a good fit for the position? Or the candidate who just sends a resume?

A cover letter is the first impression a hiring manager will have of you. If you don’t send one, then their perception of you won’t be as positive when compared to another candidate who sends along a great one.

To help you, here are a few secrets to a great cover letter:

Skip the boilerplate.

Too many candidates submit cover letters that look and sound like everyone else’s. But the key to an effective cover letter is to be human and let your personality shine through. Hiring managers want to hire real people with diverse experience, not some automaton who blasts out the same cover letter they copied from the Internet to every employer.

Sell what makes you unique.

Another mistake candidates make in cover letters is to focus on themselves – what they’re looking for in a job opening. Instead, you need to place that focus on the employer and sell your unique fit. In other words, what about your background is going to make the hiring manager want to bring you in for an interview?

Keep it simple.

Your cover letter doesn’t need to be three pages long in 9-point type. In fact, if you submit a letter like that, it will likely wind up in the trash. Instead, keep it brief and simple. A few paragraphs on one page will do. Also be sure it’s formatted in a way that makes it easy to read.

Show your passion.

Tell the employer why you’re excited about the position. Whether you’ve been a fan of the company for a long time, or you’ve heard great things about the employer, communicate why you want to work there. This is the kind of information that doesn’t belong on your resume, but is perfect for a cover letter.

Cover letters can be a hassle to write. But skipping out on one isn’t an option if you really want the job.

Need more help with your job search? Call Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we’ve placed more than 8,000 employees with leading local employers since 1994. And we can help you find a new job too!

Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.