A winning cover letter is a golden passport to that much-desired job.
Indeed, as Jake Bradley, Associate Director of Michael Page Human Resources, explains: 'Cover letters that are well-written demonstrate to employers that you are a unique, literate and enthusiastic candidate.
'They give you a chance to put forward your most relevant experience and achievements, and this really goes a long way in terms of grabbing the employers’ attention.'
But having just one sheet of paper upon which to sell yourself and everything you can do is no mean feat. Here, Jake shares the perfect cover letter, as well as his golden rules for curating one that will land you your dream job.
Jake Bradley, Associate Director of Michael Page Human Resources, shares the perfect cover letter, as well as his golden rules for curating one
THE PERFECT COVER LETTER
Dear Mr Company,
In response to your recent advertisement for the 'Human Resources Recruitment Specialist - MP123456' on http://www.website.co.uk/, please find attached my curriculum vitae for your consideration.
I have the following experience which is well aligned to the requirements of the role.
• Successful human resources recruitment specialist with four years’ experience.
• Experience gained in leading FTSE 25O global recruitment company.
• Thorough understanding of the human resources market having worked on both specialist and generalist roles.
• Multiple sector experience having worked with both the private and public sector.
In my current role as a human resources recruitment specialist I have achieved the following.
• Established relationships with the human resources functions of two leading retail banks and as a result now have preferred supplier status not only for HR, but the wider business.
• Diversified client base by 20% YOY.
• Increased job numbers across client base by 45% YOY.
• Increased productivity and revenue by 30% YOY.
• Requested to be account director by one of the 'Big Four' and have successfully performed in the role.
• Managed multiple projects alongside day to day activity; organising CSR day, charity quiz which raised £6,000 for charity, client and candidate entertainment event.
I believe that my experience to date is very well aligned to the requirements of this role, and I am confident that I will be a valuable asset to your organisation.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me via the contact details provided on my CV. I am available for an interview at your convenience and I look forward to hearing from you.
1. Address the contact: Firstly, don’t forget to address the contact mentioned in the job advert and to quote the reference. This will ensure that your application is processed by the right person and increases your chance of capturing their attention.
2. Outline your current role: It’s important to outline your current job situation and why you are searching for new opportunities as this will provide context to the employer but also give you a chance to demonstrate ambition.
However, it’s really important not to be negative about your current or past employers or job situation as this will reflect poorly on your attitude towards work.
3. Prove you've done your research: Showing that you’ve done your research about the company is always beneficial but stating why you are interested in them as an employer is particularly important. This is also a good time to tell them why they should also be interested in you as a potential employee and what you can bring to the business.
4. Highlight your transferable skills: Tailoring the information you share in this cover letter will avoid repetition and ensure that you present yourself in the best possible way and match the skills you put forward with the job description. Make sure you highlight your transferable skills, achievements and versatility.
5. Check, check, check: Finally, make sure your letter is neat, brief, and check it for typos. End your cover letter by politely expressing interest in further dialogue in order to keep the discussion open.
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The festivities were in keeping with Mr. Hsieh’s ongoing campaign to build his community, or, as he frequently writes in his book, his “tribe.” In the Zappos offices, costume parades are commonplace, as employees wind among cubicles plastered with posters and mementos that give the headquarters a teenage aesthetic. Zappos recruits talk breathlessly of the Fourth of July barbecues and New Year’s Eve parties that Mr. Hsieh hosts every year at his home. And although he lives alone, an assortment of friends, business associates and people he’s met on book tours keep his five guestrooms in heavy use.
Unlike fellow Harvardian Mark Zuckerberg, Mr. Hsieh (pronounced shay) is not yet a household name, even among the legions of customers who delight in Zappos’s large selection, free shipping and free returns. There is not yet a movie cribbing his rise to dot-com success. But he has become a celebrity in entrepreneurial circles, having sold his first company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million when he was just 24, and for turning Zappos into the largest seller of shoes online.
His profile is also growing: He appeared as a judge on “Celebrity Apprentice” two years ago, he has 1.8 million followers on Twitter (One recent post: “Swam in Silverton mermaid aquarium on my birthday! Wore costume b/c they don’t allow birthday suits.”/) and his book appeals to a broad swath of teachers, students, parents and even dating gurus who see in it a broader message of self-improvement. The Culture Boot Camp drew a mix of entrepreneurs and managers eager to meet Mr. Hsieh, including the head of retail operations for the Marine Corps and a church youth-group consultant.
NOW, Mr. Hsieh is hoping to spread his vision to downtown Las Vegas, where Zappos recently announced it would be moving its headquarters to the former City Hall. In an unglitzy area of the city rarely seen by casino-bound tourists, Mr. Hsieh envisions, among other things, a zipline connecting bars, clubs and the Zappos offices.
Reading “Delivering Happiness,” one could get the impression of Mr. Hsieh as a gung-ho Michael Scott type (if he had actually motivated his employees on “The Office”). He misquotes from his favorite movie, “Pretty Woman” (“I was living the fairy tale,” his version of “I want the fairy tale”), describes elaborate office pranks, and urges companies to “make WOW a verb.”
Yet in person, Mr. Hsieh, who has close-cropped black hair, speaks quietly and with little inflection. In a group, he calls little attention to himself, and often lingers on the sidelines. “He draws energy from people,” said Alfred Lin, a Harvard classmate of Mr. Hsieh’s who was Zappos’s chief financial officer until last year. “But he’s not an overtly ‘Hey, I’m the center of the party’ kind of guy.’ ”
At times, Mr. Hsieh comes across as an alien who has studied human beings in order to live among them. That can intimidate those who are not accustomed to his watchful style. “I have been in job interviews with him where you are expecting more, and it can be awkward silences,” said Ned Farra, who manages relationships with other Web sites for Zappos. “He is not afraid of it. It is almost like he is testing you.”
Mr. Hsieh said that he surrounds himself with people who are more outgoing than he is, in part to draw himself out. “My view is that I am more of a mirror of who I am around,” he said. “So if I am around an introverted person that is really awkward. But if I am around an extroverted person I will be whoever they are times point-5.”
On the night of the party at his home, Mr. Hsieh introduced Antonia Dodge, a “personality assessment consultant” to Zappos, to explain why he often appeared somewhat “staid.”
Mr. Hsieh has “a form of social phobia,” Ms. Dodge said. “But he gallantly walks over it by not letting it stop him and always pursues social situations. And second, he lubricates with tons of vodka.”
Indeed, Mr. Hsieh clutched a metal shaker full of red wine because he and two colleagues were following Tim Ferriss’s “4-Hour Body” diet, which prohibited hard alcohol but allowed two glasses of wine a day. Mr. Hsieh, who said he prefers Grey Goose and soda, noted that the diet didn’t stipulate the size of those glasses. “I have been trying to find every loophole possible,” he said.
Outwitting the system is something Mr. Hsieh has honed from a young age. In addition to describing his youthful business ventures (worm farms failed, personalized photo buttons succeeded), “Delivering Happiness” recounts a history of scam artistry. To fool his Taiwanese-born parents into thinking he was practicing piano and violin, he recorded practice sessions and played them back on weekend mornings.
Richard Hsieh, Mr. Hsieh’s father, said that at music recitals for friends and family, Tony, the eldest of three boys, performed his own compositions to disguise the fact he hadn’t practiced. “He has always been very creative,” the senior Mr. Hsieh said. “This shows up in many, many different ways.”
At the prestigious Branson School in Marin County, Calif., Mr. Hsieh and classmates figured out how to use a modem line in the computer lab to call a phone sex number. And at Harvard, where Mr. Hsieh was a computer science major, he persuaded other students in a class on the Bible to divide up potential question topics for the final exam and then produced a study guide he sold for $20 a copy.
Friends say that Mr. Hsieh wasn’t lazy, just interested in doing things in an unorthodox way. “It was more because it was a fun thing to see how it would work out,” said Jill Wheeler, who lived in the same rooming house as Mr. Hsieh at Harvard. And despite his reserved exterior, she said, “somehow he draws people in together.”
Jason Levesque, another Harvard friend who worked at LinkExchange, recalled Mr. Hsieh’s self-effacement. When inviting friends to play a video game, “he was obviously the best at the game, but he would sort of hide that in order to get everyone to play,” Mr. Levesque said.
Like Mr. Zuckerberg’s, Mr. Hsieh’s success has been built in part on his ability to anatomize the way people crave connections with others, and turn those insights into a business plan. He has never pretended to be interested in shoes, and began his involvement with Zappos as an investor. But by promoting the perks of a highly social company where workers get free sodas and popcorn, decorate their cubicles, are invited to share their ideas and can climb the career ladder from inside, Zappos is able to pay below market salaries for its more senior workers. “We want them to work for us for reasons other than money,” Mr. Hsieh said with a shrug. Recruiters boast that it is harder to get a job at Zappos than to get admitted to Harvard, and the company rejects qualified applicants who don’t buy into the corporate philosophy.
Although his admirers credit Mr. Hsieh with having created a unique (and unified) culture at Zappos, others point out that what he is doing is actually simple, and perhaps not so original.
Nick Swinmurn, the Zappos founder, who left the company in 2006 because he grew weary of attending “meetings about meetings,” said Zappos’s wackiness was as much about publicity as strategy. “One thing Tony is good at is he definitely catches on with what might seem interesting as a story,” Mr. Swinmurn said. “At the beginning you had everyone young and single, and we had beds for employees to sleep in and a ton of Red Bull, but that’s what every dot-com did.”
“You can only talk about shipping shoes for so long,” Mr. Swinmurn said. “But if you take away the culture and keep the free shipping and the free returns, it’s the selection and the free shipping that keep the company growing.”
In his book, Mr. Hsieh implies that the company’s investors forced him to make the Amazon deal, although he insisted in an interview that the company continues to operate independently.
At the point of the sale, Zappos reported $1 billion in annual merchandise sales (although its actual revenues were closer to $635 million because of returns), and profits of $10.8 million. Amazon, which does not break out Zappos’s results separately, is now paying Mr. Hsieh just $36,000 in salary. His stake in Amazon is believed to be worth more than $550 million.
He says he has no plans to leave. “If we were not growing and just selling shoes, I would probably get bored,” he said. For now, he is consumed by the move to downtown Las Vegas, hatching plans for employee housing and a charter school.
Leading a small entourage through the Fremont East neighborhood of Las Vegas, about a 10-minute drive from the Strip, Mr. Hsieh gestured toward a street of bars and cafes. “You don’t even feel like you’re in Las Vegas,” he said.
His pride was evident as he talked about revitalizing the area. During a tour of a dark lounge that was fairly empty on a Wednesday night and a pulsating bar filled with a dreadlocked and pierced crowd, he was greeted warmly by the bars’ owners, whom he introduced as friends.
For all Mr. Hsieh’s emphasis on the importance of relationships, his romantic life remains a mystery. Close friends and employees either giggled nervously or balked outright at queries about it.
“It is just something we never talk about,” said Sean Kim, a friend from the Bay Area. They are close enough that when Mr. Kim and his wife decided to buy a home in a gated community in the Southern Highlands suburb of Las Vegas, Mr. Hsieh followed. Each even made the purchases of their homes contingent on the closing of the other’s.
“He has a lot of close friends and he loves a lot of people,” said Mr. Kim, who helps shape tax and legal strategies at Zappos. “That is just Tony.”
Mr. Hsieh, who professes fascination with dating guides like Neil Strauss’s “The Game” and pontificated on his theory of the evolutionary futility of sexual jealousy, said he does not date. “I don’t usually define dating or not dating, together or not together,” said Mr. Hsieh, nursing another tall shaker of wine at the Downtown Cocktail Room. “I prefer to use the term ‘hang out.’ And I hang out with a lot of people, guys and girls. I don’t really have this one person I am dating right now. I am hanging out with multiple people, and some people I hang out with more than others.”
Jenn Lim, who has known Mr. Hsieh for a dozen years and helped him write the bulk of “Delivering Happiness” over eight days while holed up in a condo in Lake Tahoe, is one of the women he “hangs out” with more than others. Ms. Lim, who now runs a separate entity to promote the book and coordinate Mr. Hsieh’s speaking engagements, shares his views on relationships. “It’s kind of a gray area,” she said, adding that she was not his girlfriend. “I think of everyone I know in my life, he’s the best at not feeling jealousy,” she added. “But I think he’s human, whether anyone believes that or not.”
Mr. Hsieh said he limits his speaking engagements to about one a week, and plans to ratchet back his involvement in the Zappos boot camps.
But he makes a point of appearing at key company events to mingle. At a quarterly awards party for employees who exceeded sales targets or were being promoted, he sipped a vodka and soda (it was his day off from his diet) and watched intently as various teams showed lighthearted homemade videos, including one where staff members satirized the television show “Glee.”
In a room that felt a bit like an evangelical youth conference, Mr. Hsieh seemed eager to demonstrate that he, too, was a fun-loving guy. He disappeared to the men’s room and returned with an iPhone photo of a miniature football goal that was placed in each of the urinals — an innovation that Mr. Hsieh suggested to the managers of Nacho Daddy, where the party was held and in which he is a silent partner. And he gamely joined several employees at the karaoke microphone, barreling through the lyrics of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” and “Take on Me” in an off-key voice.
Then he quietly slipped out from the party. Employees talked affectionately about him after he had gone. “Sometimes I look at him, and I say, ‘He is such a dork,’ ” said Lauren Glassman, a buyer in the action sports clothing division, downing a goblet of beer. “But at the end of the day, we are all dorks.”Continue reading the main story