I have been guilty of not applying for jobs because they required a cover letter. And those were jobs I was highly interested in.
I know, coming from me sounds crazy.
But that was the old me, the college graduate who did not know any better.
My honest opinion on cover letters: they add value. And can be a game changer on your candidacy.
They should not be a mandatory job application piece.
However, since the majority rules, many of the hiring managers I have worked with in my seven years recruiting love cover letters.
So, we have to learn how to write them.
Because I have to tell you how original it sounds to say “as you can see on my resume”…
We need to step away from writing genetic letters like that, because they do more harm than good.
So with that out of the way, let’s get into the juicy parts.
Your cover letter could be the best chance to impress a potential employer. Besides your LinkedIn profile and your resume.
It may be just one page, but you have only one opportunity to make it count.
This blog post will cover cover letter hacks that are guaranteed to earn you interviews from employers and teach you how to write a cover letter based on the job description.
Tip #1: Be Personal
The cover letter is your opportunity to showcase your personality. Use the cover letter to show why you are a good fit for this job and company, not just what skills you have or experiences that may apply. This also includes making sure the cover letter reflects who you really are and not one that just repeats what is in your resume.
What I mean by being personal is to tell a story, is there something that ties your story to the company’s mission.
Have you had an unusual upbringing, or had an extraordinary career story? Tell us about that (but only share what you feel comfortable with).
If none of those apply you can also just think of something you feel connected to. For example, if I were to apply for NBC Universal, I would probably talk about how The Office is one of my favorite shows because it makes me laugh and it makes great material for my HR training on what not to do in the workplace.
That is a personal story that ties into their product (TV SHOW) and the job that I would be performing (HUMAN RESOURCES).
Tip #2: Keep It Short
Do not exceed one page. Ever. For cover letters, resume cover sheets, and anything that is job-related because it will come off as too wordy, and it can make you look as though you do not know how to be succinct. You should be able to tell your career story in one page. And it can be difficult for recruiters and hiring managers to feel intrigued to read a three page over wordy document.
Many hiring managers do not have time to read through long cover letters, so make it simple for them and get to the meat of what is in your cover letter with a clear introduction paragraph followed by three or four short paragraphs describing details that demonstrate why you are qualified and how you connect to the company.
Tip #3: Keep It Positive
Do not use your cover letter to vent about how you are frustrated with the job market or this and that. Remember, the cover letter is a marketing tool for yourself — it’s an opportunity to show what makes you different from everyone else applying for this position. And how proactive, pleasant to be around, so take responsibility and leave the complaints at the door.
Tip #4: Be Aware of the Job Description
The cover letter should be tailored to the job description. If you are applying for a position that requires creativity and problem solving, then share your creative work or any problems you were able to solve in past positions.
If there is not much room left on the cover letter, then summarize your cover letter in one sentence that includes the reason you want to work for this company and how you are a good fit.
There is no need to repeat information found on a resume or cover sheet, but it is also not necessary to merely state why someone wants to join the team. We need concise examples that show your skills and experience.
The cover letter should allow readers an inside look at who you are as a team member and how competent you will be at solving the company’s issues. Remember you are the bridge closing the gap between what they need and you can offer.
Hack #5: Include Numbers
This helps cover letter readers quickly scan through it and recognize the strengths of an applicant. It also makes it easier for them to understand why you are qualified, without having to read every single word. What is one number that best illustrates your qualifications? If someone was applying for a position as a social media manager, they might mention their facebook following on their cover letter.
If you are a sales executive, you might want to mention how much revenue you brought in and how specifically you did that (talk about strategies, especial training, etc).
Quantifying your value will always get you far in the job application process.
RAPID FIRED HACKS:
– Share your personality and give a sense of who you are
– Personal stories help illustrate why the applicant is qualified for this position
– A cover letter should be tailored to the job description (so it’s important to read over the job listing) and make your experiences relevant to that.
The cover letter is a document that accompanies your resume to communicate the way you think and what kind of team member you are. It serves as an introduction, highlight reel or trailer, so make it noteworthy and memorable.
The fact that you are here gives you an advantage. You are learning how to write a cover letter that will win you interviews, you are being like 90% of other applicants using the same template they found on the first page of a google search.
A well-written cover letter can increase the success rate for landing interviews with prospective employers.
A winner cover letter should include the following:
- Name and contact information.
- A brief introduction about who you are, what your qualifications are (aside from what is in your resume)
- Why they would be interested in meeting with you for an interview.
- Specifics of how this position is a good fit for your skills and interests so that companies can see you are also vetting them.
So go out there and write a cover letter that will get you more interviews. This guide will help you tailor your cover letters to each job description BUT you will have a template so you don’t have to start from scratch every time.
This post is all about how to write a cover letter that earns you interviews.
As always let me know your questions below, comment if you have any suggestions aside from the ones I made. Happy job searching and remember you deserve a job you love. So go get ’em.