Before Submitting Your Resume and Cover Letter to Potential Clients

#1 Rule: Know Your Target!

Do your homework!  Know the recipient’s full name, title and proper spelling. This can be accomplished simply by scanning the company website directory or searching on social media sites such as Linkedin. When all else fails, use the ‘old school’ method and call the company!  If calling, verify the contact information is accurate and ask for the correct spelling of their name and title.

Whenever possible, avoid using the dreaded, “To Whom It May Concern” as your salutation.

As the former Director Aircare Crews Staffing and prior to that Director Inflight Services for a major charter operator, if I received this type of generic salutation, I immediately knew three things;

  1. You didn’t bother doing any research on your point contact.
  2. This is a generic letter that you are sending out to numerous recipients.
  3. I’m no longer interested in reading any further.

Speaking of salutations; it’s completely appropriate to use, “Dear ____________,” or
“Hello ________________,” However, ALWAYS address them by their last name! Example; “Dear Mr. Arnold,”

If no salutation is used, simply use proper address, “Mr./Ms. {Last Name],”

Addressing them by their last name shows respect and avoids being perceived as too informal. I personally, was never offended when addressed as, “Hello Scott”, “Dear Scott,” etc. but what about your recipients?

Why risk it!? Keep it professional, keep it proper.

There are no second chances at a first impression … so make it count!

Fact: Of the hundreds of resumes I have received over the years, sadly this is the reality… approximately:

  • 35% were addressed, “To Whom It May Concern” even though it was emailed to ME directly!
  • 15% no salutation, no addressing by name – just a blank email with a resume attached (and no cover letter).
  • 45% were addressed, “Hi Scott!” or other informal salutations.
  • 5% submitted properly and professionally.

Every resume submission, no matter how many errors were made, always received a reply but the 5%, they received a gratitude response acknowledging their professionalism.

Create Draft Documents:

We recommend creating master documents of your cover letters and/or introductory emails and keep them on file as draft templates. These should be created in a generic format. When you are ready to use one of the templates, simply copy and paste the text into an open template. THEN customize it for your recipient. This will avoid making another common mistake – sending a letter meant for someone else or another company. It happens more often than you think.  PROOF carefully before hitting SEND!

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