How to Impress Your Future Boss With a Powerful Cover Letter
The following is a guest post by Nelma Lumme. Her bio follows.
A Resume Is Not Just Enough:
Yes, the resume is important, but it certainly isn’t the end all. In fact, the cover letter is in some ways far more important than the resume, as this is where you don’t show your past but who you are right now. And that can make a huge amount of difference.
Of course, to make sure that you do that, you do need to know how you can write a good cover letter. That’s what we’re going to get into in this article. If you follow this outline, then you’ll be able to impress whatever boss you’re applying to. Now wouldn’t that be something?
Follow the correct structure
The first thing you’ve got to realize is that cover letters have a particular structure and though you might be able to deviate from it a little bit, don’t go too far. Why not? Because most HR managers have quite enough on their plate, thank you very much. The last thing they need is a cover letter that they can’t digest in the little time they’re going to give it.
The average resume receives just 6 seconds. Now, a cover letter might receive a little bit more, but it won’t get much. So, if the bits that they’re looking for aren’t in the right place, chances are they’re not going to take the time to find them.
So what is the structure of a cover letter?
Generally, it has 6 sections.
- Address details of yourself and the recipient. Don’t forget to put in how they can reach you!
- What the letter is about. Here you cover the job and where you found it.
- Why do you want the job?
- Identify the needs of the client and demonstrate why you’ve got the right skills to meet those requirements.
- More general information plus examples.
- Close, thank you for your time, reach out to me with any questions that you may have.
That’s it. That’s the structure. If you follow that, then people will know in which sections to look for what information. That will get you into the door.
Relax and simplify
Okay, so you’re following the structure, now what? Now you need to show why you are special. That means talking straight to the person you’re addressing and giving them a piece of personality. The best way to do that is to make sure you’re not incredibly stuffy and aren’t trying to sound smarter than you are. People can see straight through that.
Instead, speak to them as if you’re a person and that you understand that they’re human too. In that way, you’ll be able to actually connect.
Another thing that’s vital is that you speak clearly and simply, by shortening your sentences and avoiding unnecessarily long words. An editor friend of mine said it best when ye said that badly written texts are like a fog that hangs between your ideas and your reader’s understanding. Great writing, on the under, is crystal clear and lets your ideas take wing.
In this way, the company you’re writing will understand your point and will besides be impressed with how well you can communicate.
Understand the difference between intent and executions
Whenever people write, they’re trying to appeal to their audience and engage with them. And yet, a great many people fall flat on their face. This is because how they think what they’ve written will be interpreted is completely different from how it is actually interpreted.
Often this comes down to their inability to separate what they meant from what they actually wrote down. Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, after you’ve written your cover letter, you’ve got to put it aside for a while – preferably at least a night. In this way, it will be much easier to see what you actually wrote. This will allow you to avoid sounding negative and will also allow you to spot little mistakes that will drag you down.
Even better than editing your text yourself, of course, is getting somebody else to do it. Have an eagle-eyed friend who can take a look at your text? Then ask their opinion. Don’t? Then get in touch with a cover letter writing services. They’ll help you turn your cover letter from okay into a real head turner.
Don’t just talk about what you did, also talk about what you achieved
Everybody can write about what jobs they’ve held. And sure, if you’ve done a lot, that can be impressive. Still far more impressive, however, is talking about the things that you actually achieved while you held those positions. So, if held a social marketing position, that’s great. But if you managed to quadruple traffic to the company’s site in that first year, now that’s fantastic.
Talk in terms of achievements, not in terms of positions. This is key in making your resume stand out.
You’ve got to be a little bit obsessive compulsive about your cover letters. They’re often the first thing that HR people look at when you reach out them, and it’s also the last thing they’ll look at before deciding to invite you.
Count on it getting passed around a lot.
Yes, that does mean it’s quite a lot of work, but you can recycle bits from previous letters into new ones. In that way, it becomes easier. In fact, your cover letters will become quicker to write and more impressive as you’ve got more of the building blocks in place and hone them to a sharper edge. So go for it.
About Nelma Lumme
Nelma Lumme is freelance blogger from Chicago, IL. Her hobbies are cinema, jogging, psychology and blogging about business, education, self-improvement and psychology.
Image credit: Cover letters.