Just today I talked to a hiring manager who expressed his frustration at the carelessness people show in the cover letters they submit. Many applicants do not put the required effort in their cover letter. Read more about why your cover letter is more important than you might think…
Let’s get back to that hiring manager. He says: “They claim to want this job and to have the communication skills to do the job well. But if they cannot show the simple respect of proofreading the letter, I admit it – I get impatient, and I throw their application in the garbage.”
While not every recruiter is going to have a reaction this violent. It is imperative – and no amount of repeating this is enough. You need to carefully proofread your cover letter before submitting it. We implored you to proofread even back in 2010.
As we have stated many times, it is not enough for you to proofread your letter alone. You are too close to the material to see it clearly. While your friends and family will offer some help, you really need professional editing and proofreading help when you reach the upper echelons of management consulting hiring. Seek the professional skills of proofreaders who understand both your skills and how they fit into the management consulting industry.
Take on the editing and proofreading challenge one step at a time.
Go the Distance
In writing and rewriting your letter, you should be proofreading and editing it all along. You are in it for the long haul and intimately know the letter’s contents. This is both a good and bad thing. You can go the distance on the content and finely hone its message. At some point, when you have your personal brand perfected, you will need something more. You will need a fresh set of eyes to seek out the grammatical issues you no longer see and to find the ways you might craft your language into something sharper. From seeing something too much, too closely, we no longer see it clearly.
Seek Professional Help
A professional editor and proofreader will offer you the fresh, outside, unbiased view you need to perfect your cover letter. There are numerous services and individuals offering this kind of professional assistance, and you should not be shy about asking for references or work samples. It is, after all, your future career at stake. A professional should offer not only a valuable impartial perspective but should have the technical skills to make your letter error-free and sharp.
Tap the Network
Even after you have been through your letter a million times and have let a professional have his/her way with it, you might still want to assess it from the point of view of a real-world individual. You have certainly networked enough to form relationships with industry mentors, businesspeople and others who have enough real-life professional experience that they can read your letter and give you some valuable advice on how your letter might be received, what kinds of content is most useful versus completely useless, etc. It never hurts to seek out this kind of input, even if you do not end up using it. It deepens your understanding of what recruiters and managers are looking for.
Before you submit your letter, do a final read-through without overthinking it. You have put it through the ultimate stress-testing, and now it should be perfect and ready to send. It is always wise, however, to give it a final gut check, doing a final proofread for the most basic, overlooked errors; reading for sense and suitability (for your desired job) and overall flow.Likewise, proofreading is not just about errors in your typing (although that is crucially important!); it gives you another chance to be sure you are writing your letter in your own voice in an effective, honest manner. You can ask yourself the last-minute things, such as, “Have I sold myself effectively?” and “Are there significant missing pieces to this picture?” This is what the gut check is all about.
When you are satisfied, you are ready to send your cover letter out into the world.
You are never alone in putting together your management consulting cover letter. A great friend in helping you write the perfect letter is the ConsultingFact.com “Guide to Consulting Cover Letters and Resumes“.