You sit down to write a cover letter because you are motivated to find the job of your dreams. But, instead of finding that perfect cover letter through extensive research, you get overwhelmed with all the information. Finally, you tell yourself that it doesn’t matter and quit. Hence, giving up on the search to write that perfect career building cover letter.
Does this sound like you? Then let us tell you that you’re not alone.
Why do you need a cover letter?
According to a study by Career Builder, 45% of job seekers do not include a cover letter with their application and recruiters could reject these straight away. Think of your cover letter as the first impression you could possibly make. It’s an opportunity to gain the recruiter’s attention and set yourself apart from the competition. A career building cover letter along with a killer resume provides a high-level view of your achievements while showcasing your personality. It highlights why you would be a good fit for the organization. Use it to shoot your shot and apply for the role by writing a compelling case for yourself.
How do you Write a Compelling Career-building Cover Letter?
Step 1: Let’s begin with introductions!
- Add the hiring manager’s name – Personalize your cover letter by including the name of the recruiter for a slightly formal salutation. Move away from generic opening statements as it seems too robotic and impersonal. After all, we’re writing some career building cover letters for people here.
- Introduce yourself – Instead of beginning with a line that explains why you are applying for a certain position, try to change it by introducing yourself and highlighting what you will bring to the table.
Here's an example of a strong introduction for a career building cover letter:
"As a lifelong fan of ABC Company's innovative products, I was thrilled to see the open position for a Product Manager. My passion for technology and experience in product development, make me a strong fit for this role. I've had the opportunity to work on several groundbreaking products throughout my career. I'm eager to bring my experience and enthusiasm to ABC Company."
Step 2: Convey your message!
- Don’t repeat your resume content – Remember, the cover letter is a predecessor to your resume, not a replacement. Instead of listing all your responsibilities, provide a more holistic picture of your past accomplishments. You can do this by including numbers and statistics of what you have achieved. You can also include how you overcame professional challenges by using a storytelling approach.
- Highlight the important experiences – Elaborate on the experience most relevant to the job you're applying for. Go into detail about your responsibilities, achievements & success metrics. Always scan through the job description, note down keywords, and include the same on your cover letter. It’s necessary to modify your cover letter for each job because the one size fits all approach does not work.
- What can the company do for you & what can you do for the company? – Try to explain your rationale from both perspectives. While the company is looking to hire talent, highlight skills and experiences that boost your case for the company. You can also portray it through a brilliant portfolio. It also helps to be transparent about what you’re expecting from the company; be it growth or challenges.
- Skills come first – If you’re applying for a position where you may not have enough experience, try to focus on skills. If you’re applying for the position of data analyst but don’t have experience, proficiency in Microsoft Excel might boost your chances. You can also complete projects to build your portfolio and gain skills. Then you can mention them in your cover letter to make it more attractive.
- Metrics are key – A perfect career building cover letter should include statistics and numerical figures to attract the attention of the hiring manager. Adding metrics will provide context and highlight the measurable impact you have had through the previous roles.
Step 3: Wrap it up!
- Finish your letter with an offer – After presenting your motivation, strengths, and profile, end your letter with an offer to have a conversation or a discussion.
- Sign off – End your letter cordially thanking the recruiter for their time. Make sure to check for or add the following: Your full name & contact information (email and phone number).
Some bonus points to keep in mind:
- Use a ‘personal’ voice – Move away from being excessively formal to a more personal voice and tone throughout your cover letter. It should sound like the letter was specifically written for the hiring manager. This gives them context by setting the tone before moving on to the resume or portfolio.
- Keep the enthusiasm in check – While all recruiters want candidates to be excited about working with the company, hyping yourself up too much and exuding overconfidence will ruin your shot. Be collected!
- Keep it to the point – A perfect career building cover letter should have 3 to 4 paragraphs. It should be written under 400 words within a single page. Keep it single-spaced with a double space between paragraphs.
- Gut checks– Get a second opinion on your cover letter and see if it is easy to read, and covers all important points. Ask the reviewer about their remarks about your cover letter and if there should be any relevant changes in it.
- Edit & Tailor - A career building cover letter should be based on the job you are applying to after reading the job description. You could adopt the company’s voice within your cover letter and make it more relatable for the reader. Again, one standard cover letter does not fit all job descriptions.
By following these tips, you have yourself a great career building cover letter! All these tips make your cover letter more impactful and memorable. These increase your chances of standing out to the employer and landing an interview with your dream company.
You can also build your portfolio by completing portfolio projects and stand out to recruiters with relevant experience as you showcase the right skills and tools. Here are a few projects for you to check out;