You’re motivated to find the job of your dreams, you sit down to write a cover letter, you take on an extensive search for excellent cover letters, you’re overwhelmed with everything you’ve read, you tell yourself that this doesn’t matter and you stop.
Does this sound like you? 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.
45% of Job Seekers do not include a cover letter and are often rejected automatically.
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 cover letter coupled with a killer resume provides a high-level view of your achievements, showcases your personality, and expands on why you would be a good fit for the organization. Use this as a chance to express your interest in a particular position or department by writing a compelling case for yourself.
How do you write a compelling cover letter?
Step 1: Let’s begin with introductions!
Add the hiring manager’s name – Personalize your cover letter by including the name – use ‘Dear/Hi Mr. James’ for a slightly formal salutation or ‘Dear/Hi James’ at the beginning of your cover letter. Move away from generic lines like ‘To whomsoever, it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ as it looks too impersonal and robotic. We’re writing cover letters for people here
Personalize your cover letter by including the name of the Hiring Manager
Introduce yourself – It is generally accepted, to begin with, a line like ‘I am writing this letter to obtain the position of xx’ but try to change it up by introducing yourself and highlighting what you will bring to the table like ‘I’m a driven passionate marketer with 5 years of experience looking for an opportunity to work on challenging new projects’.
Step 2: Convey your message!
Don’t repeat your resume content – The cover letter is a predecessor to your resume and not a replacement. Instead of listing responsibilities like ‘in charge of creating weekly content for social media’, try to provide a more holistic and fuller picture of your past accomplishments like ‘by adopting a data-driven and inbound marketing approach, I was able to grow social media audiences by 30%’. You could even go a step further by unpacking a challenge and use a storytelling approach to explain how you were successful with a task or project.
Highlight the important experiences – Expand on the experience most relevant to the job application and go into detail about your responsibilities, achievements & success metrics. Always scan through the job description and note down keywords and include the same on your cover letter. It’s extremely important to tailor your cover letter for each job application, the one size fits all approach does not work anymore.
What can the company do for you & what can you do for the company? – Try to explain your rationale from both points of view. While the company is looking for talent to fill a need, highlight skills and past experiences that will help boost your case for the company. It also helps to be open and transparent about what you’re looking for from the company; be it growth, challenges, learning, etc.
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 a data analyst but don’t have any experience, numerical skills and Microsoft excel proficiency might help boost your chances.
Include metrics & quantifiable figures to show your accomplishments & success
Metrics are key – 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 – Now that you have presented your motivation, strengths and profile, end your letter with an offer to have a conversation or discussion instead of a dry ‘Thank you for your kind consideration’.
Sign off – End your letter cordially with a ‘thank you’ or ‘best regards’. Once you’re done with your cover letter, ensure 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 almost sound like the letter was specifically written for the hiring manager to give them context and set 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. Keep it in check.
Hyping yourself too much and exuding overconfidence will ruin your shot. Keep enthusiasm in check.
Keep it short – The cover letter can have 3 to 4 paragraphs but 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 consume, understand and hits all the important points. Ask the reviewer if the letter sounds exciting if it would make you look like a good fit for the job and shows off your personality.
Edit & Tailor – Change your cover letter 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.
Use all these tips to write a stellar cover letter and get your foot in the door with your dream company. If you’d like to join the Qureos global community of learners, join talent hub to get started! Contact us to learn more about all the magic happening at Qureos!