If it wasn’t for those pesky cover letters it would be easy to apply for HR and payroll jobs. Just blast your resume and sit back and wait… right? Well we know that’s faulty logic because the resume’s goal is to land an interview. The cover letter? You need that to get employers to read your resume.
The painful part of the cover letter is each should be customized and different. It’s not efficient, but it is effective if you take the time to make that awesome first impression with a cover letter crafted especially for the job.
Get personal. Look on LinkedIn and find out not only who may be the hiring manager but also if you have connections who can serve as a reference. If your connection is strong, let them know about your plans. You could even start following folks on Twitter… assuming your own Twitter feed is professional and appropriate.
Customize. It would be nice to have some sort of canned cover letter when applying for HR and payroll jobs – but it is not advisable. Customize your letter for each position. Whether you have industry experience or specific experience and accomplishments that are being asked for, craft 3-5 powerful bullets that will scream… “I am your candidate, keep reading.” At the same time, your cover letter should be approximately a half-page – keep it simple and streamlined.
Remember… first impressions. You may only hold the reviewer’s attention for a sentence or two – so make them strong. “I am applying for your open HR position” is not as strong as “I am thrilled to find a HR position that can capitalize on my experience with X, Y, and Z.”
Take control. Don’t be passive and say that you “look forward to hearing from them.” Make it clear, this is a position that you are going after and that you will follow up! And follow through.
Stay classy. Your letter – even if it is in email – should follow proper business etiquette, with flawless grammar and spelling. And don’t ever address any negatives in your cover letter like “I was laid off and now am looking for a position.” Save that and any explanations for the interview.