The world of job search is changing and has changed for many. With the hiring managers trusting the applicant tracking system, what you require is a ‘game changer' job application letter and resume. Just 6 seconds of attention for each resume and cover letter, your words should impress the recruiter from the very start.
Before you think of writing a job application letter, you have to direct efforts to two important aspects-the applicant tracking system (ATS) and which company/industry.
Let's start with how to rank high and get into the hands of recruiters from the flood of job applications they get.
Top 5 Tips for Mastering Applicant Tracking System
1. No Templates: Most of the ATS cannot read .docx, PDF, RTF, and JPG formats, so use a standard Word document.
2. Use Keywords and Phrases relevant to the work and job role in your descriptive achievements.
3. Keep simple formatting and avoid using headers, footers, borders, symbols or shading.
4. Do use the exact job title on top of your job application letter when applying for a position. Even though you have a personal connection, stick to the ‘exact job title' in your cover letter.
5. Be careful inserting special characters and accents as these can be misinterpreted by an applicant tracking system
Well, now let's focus on the company/industry and how to apply the right way.
Before you start writing you application letter, know what the company is looking for and whether you are a right fit to the company culture. Also your experience years decides whether to send a letter with your resume.
If you are a fresh college graduate or an entry-level professional, a well-written cover letter would be of great value. Hiring managers can assess you written skills, specific job skills and attention to details.
Point to be noted: Candidates with 0-3 years' experience can knock off competition with a cover letter submitted with the resume.
What about experienced candidates?
Gaining a few years of work experience, recruiters do pay more attention to your resume. It is better, however, to submit your cover letter with your resume, even if it's not asked for. With a cover letter you can explain clearly pointers that may not be included in your resume.
Point to be Noted: If a company clearly mentions to not submit a cover letter and has their own directions, it's best to follow the guidelines.
How to write a Job Application Letter:
Writing or not writing a cover letter with your resume depends therefore on industry and company. Many candidates also write a boilerplate cover letter which can be added with any job roles and sent to any company.
1. Write your job application letter which talks to the point rather going verbose.
2. Use Business English to write. Keep your creativity for some other time (other than if you belong to a creative field). Letter for creative jobs should be different than a letter to an EPC company.
3. A short cover letter of 3-4 paragraphs including the specific reasons from applicant's for the job role is what most recruiters do read.
4. Focus on skills and experience in your application.
Point to be Noted: Include elements of business letter in your application, even if you are sending an email.
Save your recruiter's time-
Your recruiter has few seconds to spare, given the sea of letter received by job hunters every day.
1. Show an interest in the job and company. You words should show familiarity with company's mission and vision.
2. Your application letter should show you are motivated and eager to work in the company. Write what drives you to be part of the company you applied and how you present role fits into what you want to do.
3. Your qualities and skill-sets which are not part of resume should be described. In the limited time of your recruiter, write additional skills which are not clear from your cv.
4. Your recruiter should tell why you are different. Read bios of professionals in the same industry and similar role. Write something not mentioned by them. Differentiate.
5. You have to understand the type of company you are writing and tweak the writing tone. For example- writing in a formal tone for a gaming or food start-up would be boring.
1. Attach you resume and not your cover letter. Recruiters read the resume and skip the cover letter. Put your application letter in the email body.
2. Leaving the subject line blank. Many job hunters leave the email subject blank or do not write the apt subject description.
3. Do not cover the same job application again and again. Recruiters can tell.