Q: What is the most effective way to answer a want ad?
A: Classified ads generate hundreds of responses, often from unqualified applicants. With that in mind, recruiters spend, on average, only three seconds surveying résumés before they hit the cylinder file or the inbox.
That said, it’s important that your cover letter stands out. “It should be a teaser of what’s to come in the résumé,” says Charanne Parks, managing partner of Sonic Bee Consulting, a management consulting firm in Matawan, New Jersey. “Include a paragraph that zeros in on your particular skills. For example, mention that you developed a market plan, expanded territory or saved the company thousands of dollars with a new time saving process.”
Avoid some common mistakes that could cost you your current job and reflect badly on your ethics. “Don’t use your company’s letterhead, fax or mailing system,” says Parks. “Nothing is worse than a faxed résumé that has your company name and fax number at the top.” And while it’s fine to use formatted cover letters, tailor them to the specifications of the job your seeking. Above all, check for spelling and grammatical errors. Follow these rules and you’ll increase your chance of getting a call.