I work with hundreds of hiring managers at Publix, from those in our stores to those in our corporate, distribution and manufacturing facilities. And I can tell you there is no magic formula to writing a cover letter. In other words, nothing will guarantee that your cover letter will be read.
However, I have discovered a method that definitely captures the attention of a majority of hiring managers. This method is based on the simple fact that hiring managers have to wade through dozens, if not hundreds, of applications for each opening. They truly want to find the most qualified candidate, but time pressures force them to cut to the chase as quickly as possible.
To help them do that, here is what I propose:
- Read the Minimum or Required Qualifications very carefully. Make sure you meet ALL of those requirements. If you don’t, there’s no need to apply.
- Read the Preferred Qualifications, if any are listed, to see how many of these “bonus” qualifications you meet. Most people hired at Publix have many of these. In other words, it’s usually not enough just to meet all of the Minimum/Required Qualifications.
- Create a chart on your cover letter that lists all of the qualifications in the left column and how you meet those qualifications in the right column. Be specific, not general. I’ve provided an example below.
Once you’ve completed your chart, write the opening to your cover letter. Remember, you need to grab the attention of the hiring manager quickly. Here’s an example of what you might write based on the chart above:
Dear Recruiter or Hiring Manager:
Your posting for the Manager of Emergency Preparedness makes it clear that you need an experienced project manager with strong public speaking and written communication skills as well as a knack for data analysis and deductive reasoning. You and your company also obviously value team players who can also be independent thinkers. I believe I meet your needs.
Please read the chart below, which compares what you want with what I can deliver.
Use this method for writing cover letters and I can guarantee that more hiring managers will at least read them. Whether you land an interview or a job… well, the most important factors in those quests were covered in my last blog, which is here.