As you’re writing the contents of your cover letter to submit to a potential employer, it’s likely that you’re wondering how all your past work experience should be included. ‘Work experience’ is a term that’s thrown around a lot in the job hunting world. But, should you include it in your letter? If you do, will it make a difference in the end? Although ‘work experience’ is a somewhat vague term, there are some key steps that you can take to figure out whether you should incorporate it into your letter or not.
Should You Include Your Work Experience or Not?
Most people think that potential employers want to know about every single aspect of their past work experience. If you’re a young person who’s just getting started in the work field, then this is probably true for you. However, if you’ve previously worked in some sales positions, retail positions, etc., it’s not necessary to include each and every one of them when you apply for jobs. Suppose you’re applying for a position as a paralegal. Obviously, you would include all your experience related to the paralegal field, or certain jobs where you applied your specific paralegal skills. But, you don’t need to list your cocktail waitress job while you were in college.
When Work Experience Should be Included
Usually, it’s always best to include some work experience in your cover letter in general, even if it’s somewhat limited. But, only emphasize the related work experience that will either show your knowledge in the field at hand, or make a good impression on your potential employer. Your resume should reveal a list of all your previous jobs anyway, so listing them again in your letter isn’t necessary. Focus on those that you’re most proud of and also use them to persuade your potential employer to continue reading so he’ll want to call you for an interview.
Keep Employers from Thinking You Have Too Much Experience
There may be times in your life when you want to take a position in a company but you might think that your resume contains too much experience for you to get the job. This is particularly true if you’ve reached an executive or advanced stage of your career. Don’t worry. There are key ways to diminish your concerns about being over qualified.
First, you should take on an overall attitude of gratitude, success, and appreciation regarding how far you’ve come so far with your career. This means that you should let your potential employer know that you’re doing quite well financially and that you really don’t require a high salary regarding the new position. Simply let them know that you want to work for a dynamic company in a good position where you can get promoted in time based on your achievements and skill sets. In doing so, the potential employer will see you in a much different light if you can express a sense of enthusiasm concerning the position and how excited you are about working for such an incredible company.
Listing Past Experience in a Cover Letter
If you’re trying to use your past work experience to make your letter more appealing, don’t just list all the places where you worked. Instead, point out your achievements, awards, or any accolades you may have received from previous employers.
For example, saying “When I worked for 123, ABC, and XYZ Company” isn’t nearly as compelling if you say “While working at 123 Company, a top Fortune 500 Company, I actively took part in developing a paperless database system that helped our team achieve the prestigious ‘Best Green Company of the Year’ award.”Although you’re letting the employer know where you worked, you’re doing it in such a way that highlights your talents and shows how you can potentially benefit their organization as well. It’s in your own best interest to thoroughly explain your best qualifications in your letter in order to show prospective employers what a great asset you would be to their company.
Work Experience Matters
Many people wonder just how much their work experience affects the overall effectiveness and quality of their cover letters. Simply put, it does influence what your letter is trying to convey. Although a lack of previous work experience won’t necessarily exclude from landing a job interview, having past work experience will enhance your letter as well as your chance to land a position.
People without any work experience are more likely to land an entry level position. But, you can always make the most of your stellar education and meaningful life experiences if it relates to the position in question in order to boost your chances. Many times, potential employers are willing to contact you for an interview or even hire you if you can show them any solid experience or reasons why you would be a great asset to their organization, regardless whether you’re fully qualified or not for the position.
Because your cover letter is the very first thing that a hiring manager will see and read, it needs to make a strong, positive impression. Regardless of how much experience you actually have, your letter should ideally sell you and what you have to offer as a prime candidate for the position.