5 Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

September 18th, 2018

When it comes to your job search, the cover letter plays an important part of it. But getting it right can be a challenge, especially if you struggle with writing. The good news is that you don’t have to be the next Ernest Hemingway if you want to craft a cover letter that gets positive results. Instead, Murray Resources, one of Houston, TX’s top employment agencies, has the information you need to avoid some common cover letter mistakes:

Reusing information that’s on your resume.

Your cover letter should complement your resume. It shouldn’t be an exact replica of it. So don’t regurgitate all that’s on your resume in your cover letter. Instead, highlight new areas, talk about why a company should hire you, and discuss why you’re so interested in the position. It should be more of a story and less of an overview of your career history like your resume.

Sending in the same resume for every job.

When hiring managers receive a resume, they expect it to talk specifically about their company, their job opening and what makes you a fit for it. You can’t do that if every cover letter you submit is the same for all employers. That’s why tailoring your cover letter to each opening is so important. When you do, you can dig into the most relevant details about your background and abilities that make you an excellent match for the job.

Touching on soft skills, not technical ones.

Sure, you might be an excellent communicator or collaborator, a reliable employee and a diligent worker. But don’t just focus on your soft skills when you’re writing a cover letter. Hiring managers want to know whether you can do the job and the hard skills you have will give them an indication. Go a step further and give specific examples of how your skills have added value to or benefited past employers.

Sending in a long cover letter.

Hiring managers don’t want to read a three-page cover letter. So keep yours down to a page and edit it if you need to pare it down. Keep in mind that hiring managers are busy and only have a short amount of time to scan resumes and cover letters. You want to ensure your letter clearly and succinctly sets you apart from other candidates.

Writing about unrelated information.

Your cover letter needs to convey to the hiring manager that you have the right abilities for the job and you’d be a good fit. There’s limited space to do that in, which is why it’s so important to focus on these points and not talk about unrelated ones. So don’t ramble or include unnecessary information. Keep it tight and targeted, highlighting only those details that are your best assets and strengths.

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

Call in Murray Resources, one of Houston, TX’s top employment agencies. We can work with you to learn about your skills, accomplishments and career goals, all so we can connect with rewarding opportunities with today’s top employers. Contact us today to learn more.

4 Quick Tips for Stand Out Cover Letters

February 7th, 2017

As one of the leading job agencies in Houston, Murray Resources knows that having a polished resume and LinkedIn profile are both critical for job search success. But so is a great cover letter. Your cover letter is your opportunity to show some personality, demonstrate your interest in the company, and explain why you’re a terrific fit for the job.

The trouble is, so many candidates simply send in a boilerplate cover letter that doesn’t make much of an impression on a hiring manager. The good news for you, though, is that in a sea of standard cover letters, yours can stand out and get noticed. Here’s how:

1. Talk about how you can help the employer.

Your resume is all about your background. Make the cover letter all about the employer. In other words, talk about what you can do for them, how you can help them overcome specific challenges, and what unique value you can bring to the table. Use your cover letter to convince the hiring manager you are their answer to everything they need in a new hire.

2. Address specific points from the job description.

Most cover letters are bland and generic. That’s why, if you dig into specifics, you’re going to stand out to a hiring manager. To do so, choose a few requirements from the job description and explain how your background meets those needs.

For instance, if the company needs an office manager to supervise other administrative staff, then talk about a specific example of how you have experience leading a team and the results you delivered in this role. You want to demonstrate that you understand the job, and then relate to the hiring manager how your background is a fit for it.

3. Don’t presume you’re the best.

You’re applying for a job that sounds tailor made for you. But don’t assume you’re the best fit candidate and make statements along those lines. After all, you don’t know who else is applying for the job and making saying that you’re “the best suited candidate” has no basis. Instead, focus on the facts and why your background is a strong match for the role.

4. Infuse some enthusiasm in your cover letter.

Employers want to hire those who are enthusiastic about their opportunity. So use your cover letter to talk about why you want to work there and what’s most appealing to you about the job.

For instance, perhaps you’re a fan of the company products and already buy them; or you know how involved the organization is in the community and admire them for that. Don’t be phony here; but do articulate why you’re excited about the potential for working at the company.

Creating a great cover letter certainly takes some time. But in the long run, it’s one element of the job search that can truly help you stand out.

Need more help with your job search? Call the experts at Murray Resources. As one of the leading job agencies in Houston, we can assist you with the entire job search process – from writing a strong resume to preparing for interviews to finding job opportunities that are a great fit for your skills and background.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.

6 Cover Letter Rules to Follow When Searching For Houston Jobs

September 13th, 2016

Are you spinning your wheels trying to write a cover letter that’s going to stand out? You’re certainly not alone. In fact, as one of Houston’s top job placement agencies, Murray Resources knows most job candidates struggle with composing the perfect cover letter. It’s one of the most dreaded parts of the job search process – right up there with an interview.

So if you’re having trouble, what can you do? Start by following these tips – and increasing your odds of landing an interview:

Tip #1: Don’t repeat yourself.

This is one of the biggest mistakes job candidates make – simply repeating what’s already on your resume. But your cover letter is an opportunity to provide new information to a hiring manager. And it can be the difference between winning an interview and getting passed over. So focus on something fresh, or expand upon a point you made in your resume.

Tip #2: Don’t focus too much on education.

Sure, you might hold a pricey degree from a fancy institution of higher education. But what hiring managers really want to know is: What can you do for them. So don’t focus too much on your education credentials. Instead, talk about your work experience and how you can make an impact at the company. Even if you have limited work experience, highlight volunteer or internship positions you’ve held.

Tip #3: Do focus on relevant experience.

You might have worked on a big project in your last job. But if it has nothing to do with the position you’re applying for, don’t write about it. Instead, think about the accomplishments that are most relevant to the job – and highlight those in your cover letter instead.

Tip #4: Start with a story.

Having a hard time getting the creative juices flowing? Start your letter with a story. For instance, why are you applying to the company? Have you been a fan of it for years? Do you dream about one day working there? Stories are a great way to stand out and bring your background to life.

Tip #5: Throw in a few numbers.

Hiring managers love numbers. So if you can quantify an accomplishment, all the better. For example, rather than just saying you managed a team, talk about how you managed a team of 10 people and were responsible for a $100k departmental budget.

Tip #6: Be mindful of your tone.

Don’t write in a way that’s too formal, or robotic. You want to come across as a human being. So be engaging, approachable, and friendly – but still professional.

Need more help with your cover letter or job search? Call Murray Resources. As one of Houston’s top job placement agencies, we can help you create a stellar resume and cover letter, as well as locate positions that best match your skills and interests – whether you’re looking to move up the corporate ladder, re-enter the workforce, get more experience, or just gain more control over your schedule. Contact us today to learn more.

Not Landing Any Interviews? Check Your Cover Letter

February 25th, 2014

For most job candidates, cover letters are the least important part of the job search process. After all, there’s networking, resumes, interviews, and a host of other activities to undertake.

But, as one of the leading recruiting agencies in Houston, Murray Resources knows that if you’re not taking the opportunity to put your best foot forward in a great cover letter, then you’re missing out. Your cover letter can actually be the one detail that sets you apart from a sea of other candidates with similar experience. And it could be the reason you get called in for an interview.

Why? Because hiring managers are scanning a vast number of resumes everyday, which can begin to blur together. However, when a candidate showcases a distinct personality, strong motivation and unique experience through their cover letter, it piques the interest of the hiring manager. Simply put: They want to learn more about you. Don’t pass up the opportunity!

To help you put together an engaging cover letter, here are a few tips to follow:

Tell them why you want the job.

What made you apply to the position in the first place? Why are you interested in working for the employer? What grabbed your attention most about the job posting?

Showing a personal interest in the company and the job is your first step in getting noticed by the hiring manager.

Don’t regurgitate your resume.

The cover letter is not another place to simply re-recite all the facts and details available on your resume. It’s your opportunity to let your personality shine through. The hiring manager is perfectly capable of scanning your resume and learning about your background.

Use your cover letter as a way to add something new about you – a fresh angle, a different perspective, dynamic work habits, or personal feedback from a manager.

Don’t make vague or exaggerated statements.

Ever start your cover letter with something like: “I feel I am the best candidate for the job”? Stay away from these kinds of statements! They’re empty, mean nothing to the hiring manager, don’t set you apart, and take up valuable real estate on your cover letter.

Keep the tone conversational.

Your cover letter does not need to be written in the most formal tone possible. Instead, be conversational, engaging, and warm. While you don’t want to use slang words, or be too causal, you do want to sound like a real person, not some robotic candidate.

Write a new cover letter for every job you apply to.

Cue collective groans. But really this is time well spent. Hiring managers have seen enough cover letters to spot a form one or template in a second. So when you take the time to craft a unique letter, you will stand out in a positive way.

Need more help writing a cover letter that gets results? Call Murray Resources. As one of the leading recruiting agencies in Houston, we can help you with your cover letter, along with the entire job search process – from preparing for interviews to finding job opportunities that are a good fit for your skills and background.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.

 

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