Tips for Cover Letter Writing
A cover letter is a company’s first insight into who you will be as their potential employee. When you think of it in those terms, it better be good, huh?
There was a time when I hated cover letters. I didn’t give them much thought and I specifically thought that my resume would do most of the talking. But accolades and experience aren’t necessarily all you need to secure a new job or to impress a potential employer. Your cover letter expresses your personality, as well as why it should be you that gets the job. Why do you want this job? What would you bring to the table that a competitor couldn’t?
I started writing what my friends and I lovingly referred to as my “crazy, psycho, lost-my-marbles” cover letters. These CLs were saturated with personality and also with details I never would have previously cared to insert into a cover letter. “All while balancing my tea of choice: a chai latte,” I’d write. Words that were much more emotion-driven than professional — “obsessed with” and “genuinely interested in” — were staples in my letters. And suddenly, I knew the worth of a cover letter because I was finally getting noticed by employers.
Of course, I am not implying that this cover letter trick will work for everyone. For me, it was extremely successful. Instead of essentially paraphrasing my resume, I let my cover letter address who I was, what kind of employee I would be in the office, and what kind of person I’d be to interact with. Keep reading to find out some more amazing cover letter writing tips!
STRESS WHAT YOU EXCEL AT
Focusing on what you don’t know, or apologizing for it for that matter, will set you up for undoubtable failure. Rather, showcase what you know, what your strengths are, what you’re good at. Whoever is reading your cover letter will remember “oh, that person has incomparable Photoshop skills” and your strengths will stay in the forefront of the interviewer’s mind.
USE THE POWER OF ANECDOTE
People will remember how you made them feel. That’s what Maya Angelou said and she was right, even though she wasn’t specifically talking about the interviewing process. Your interviewer will remember the overwhelming feeling of reading your cover letter, not every tiny detail. An interviewer is more likely to remember or say, “that letter was funny” or “that candidate was very smart-sounding” rather than specifically recalling what your major was or where you worked for how many years.
SHY AWAY FROM FORMALITIES
Being formal isn’t necessarily negative but you should consider how it makes you sound. Stray away from sounding overly robotic. The company doesn’t want to hire a robot; they want to hire a person. So what kind of person are you? What kind of employee would you be? Let that shine through your cover letter writing. Let that personality be the tone of your cover letter, not some insincere formalities that are ambiguous and could’ve been written by anyone.