“Dear HIRING MANAGER,
My name is Andrew and I am very interested in POSITION. I am a hard worker, a team player and love to work with people. Attached is my resume. I look forward to hearing from you!”
Is that all there is to a cover letter? Unfortunately, many applicants find themselves using bland examples like the one above (albeit a little longer) when applying for a new job. But not all cover letters are alike!
Our recruiters see countless cover letters each year, and they have four top tips to share that might just help you separate your writing from the boring clutter landing on desks along the job search.
Write Personalized Letters for Each Specific Opportunity
If you’re applying for a variety of positions, it may be tempting to come up with a catch-all cover letter template, then plug in the company name in question in strategic sections when needed. After all, this would save time! However, if you’ve ever received an automated email, you know just how impersonal this type of communication can feel. “Dear _____, we’re excited to tell you about this exciting opportunity!” sounds great at first, until you realize the email had been mass produced and your name was just plugged in by a computer.
Employers are no different! They can tell the difference between a cookie-cutter cover letter, and one that has been carefully tailored to fit the opportunity. This process takes some extra time (and research) but the added quality will be worth it.
Research Research Research
Before writing any cover letter, it’s extremely important to do thorough research. Without a doubt, it is necessary to meticulously review the job description and have a complete understanding of the role you are applying for. However, employers have a lot more information than just the job posting to share!
Going one step further and reviewing as much company information as you can from a variety of media sources – from corporate websites and newsrooms, to Twitter and Instagram pages – can better prepare you to write not just about the role at hand, but also about company history, overall culture and current events. These types of specific examples not only give you more to work with, but can also impress a recruiter or hiring manager.
Consider this example from one of our own recruiters, “A candidate had once highlighted each of our core values, then gave an example of how her personal values and experiences aligned with each one; it showed she put a lot of effort into the writing and did her research even before applying!” By connecting your own life to the company’s story, you may be able to help hiring teams better envision your future with the company (and up your chances at an interview in the process!)
Go Big in the Introduction Paragraph
Applicants only have so long to catch recruiters’ attentions in a cover letter. Wasting time using cliché lines (“I’m a fast learner!” “I am a team player!”) or telling employers things they already know can be a quick ticket to being overlooked. Instead, look for unique ways to grab your reader’s attention right from the start.
Personal stories from your professional experience, connecting your values to a company’s culture or specific examples of how you can positively impact the business all help to pique interest in your application. This is your opportunity to get creative!
Don’t Just Repeat your Resume
With all that in mind, it should be clear that your cover letter should not just be your resume rephrased. Try sharing new information or a new perspective within the lines of your cover letter instead. Specific experiences and connections from your own life to the company story are much more engaging than the bullet points of your resume could ever be. Your cover letter is another opportunity to show employers what you bring to the table; use it to your advantage.
If you don’t want a cookie cutter job, don’t write a cookie cutter cover letter! Taking the time to write personally and directly will help you stand out in a crowded field. Do you have any tips for breaking cover letter writer’s block? Write them in below!