Does this sound familiar?
Please accept my application…..
In my previous role, I was responsible for…..
I am very interested and available for an interview anytime……
If you are bored by these lines, you can imagine how bored Hiring managers are after sorting through hundreds of applications. It’s no wonder many admit to not even skimming the cover letter.
But, when done the right way, a cover letter can be an essential part of your job application. Consider it as a soapbox to tell the potential employer about what makes you the best person for the job…..
‘For as long as I remember, I enjoyed organizing. I would spend hours planning every minute of family events and vacations, or neatly sorting the contents of closets and rooms. It was no surprise to my friends and family as they watched me thrive in my role as an Administrative Assistant over the past 20 years.’
‘At an early age, I knew I had an eye for design. I constantly visualized practical space and atmosphere – in both physical places and virtual canvases – even before my technical training. Now with over 10 years in the drafting field, I design cutting edge and modern architectural drawings, with a focus on environmental sustainability, that make my clients nod and smile.’ – end quote –
How interesting, right?? Let’s move those letters to the ‘KEEP FOR FURTHER REVIEW’ pile!
Here 5 quick tips on how you can prepare equally compelling and WINNING cover letters
TIP 1: Remember it’s not a clone of your resume
A resume and cover letter have different purposes, therefore they require different content.
A cover letter is a platform to share your unique value to the potential employer and should include more information than just a ‘coles notes’ version of your resume. Use your cover letter to show some personality that does not fit within the formal format of a resume.
The next 4 tips will give more direction on what to include the cover letter.
TIP 2: Take advantage of the introduction
Leverage that opening paragraph to catch the hiring managers’ attention.
One of the most common mistakes in cover letters is using this paragraph to list the job title, organization name and expressing your interest in the job. Instead, move this information to a reference line under the organizations’ contact information (RE: <<JOB TITLE>> at <<ORG NAME>>, (Competition # <<XXXX>>).
Keep reading on to Tip #3 to learn about what should you write about in the introduction.
TIP 3: Tell them about yourself
We all enjoy connecting with others, and we do this best through sharing stories.
In the first paragraph, tell a relevant story about yourself. Explain why are you always wanted to write for the New York Times or how you feel energized when you help others. Talk about what specifically interests you about the job or the company (Tip #3.1: Doing research on the company is not just for interviews).
Here are a few questions to get you started thinking about your relevant story:
- How did you get into this line of work/field?
- What is your favorite part / What is your strength in this field?
- What would it feel like to be in this role? What would you like best?
- What would it be like working for this company? What would you like best?
Note: These questions are just a guideline and not an
extensive list. Only include details that are relevant and connect you to the job you are applying for.
TIP 4: Share WIIFT (what’s in it for them)
You can help make the hiring managers’ job easier by clearly showing what you will do for them. You need to demonstrate the value you will bring to the employer.
So how do you do this?
Let’s consider how sales professionals do it. When a real estate agent shows you a new house, they describe where furniture could go and how you could decorate – helping you visualize yourself already living there. This same strategy can be used for your cover letter.
Paint a picture of you already working and succeeding in the role.
Will you be expected to grow sales, motivate staff or execute a complex project? Use examples of your relevant experiences and achievements to demonstrate how you will help the organization achieve the desired results.
TIP 5: Keep calm & keep it SIMPLE
Like all us, hiring managers are busy.
Therefore, your cover letter needs to be a quick and easy read.
Use simple terms and sentences when explaining why you are the best candidate for the job (refer to Tips #3 & #4), and avoid using jargon and acronyms.
As you are proofreading (Tip #5.1: Proofread multiple times!), put yourself in the shoes of the reader. Does it flow? Does it make sense? Is it interesting? If not, revisit tip #3 and #4.
Ready to start writing your way into an interview?
If not, you can always ask for support from a professional resume writer to ensure your cover letter is a perfect match for that next dream job application. Book a free consultation or email me directly, I am happy to help!