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9 Tips to Make Your Cover Letter Rock

July 20, 2015 - Posted to How to: Essay writing tips

Content 9 tips

9 Tips To Make Your Cover Letter Rock

Stunning cover letters send a reader to your resume; “ho-hum” letters send you reader on to the next applicant. And do not expect the reader to go beyond the first sentence if s/he is not intrigued and/or curious to know a bit more about you. The traditional cover letter that has been around for more than the past 50 years, and the common templates you find all over the Internet will not do you well anymore, because they will be like everyone else’s. Still, while you are thinking about being “stunning,” there are some tips that will help:

Stop Trying to Stuff Your Resume into Your Cover Letter

If the reader is intrigued by your letter, your resume will be reviewed. What you need to show in the letter is your personality, your interest in the job and how you can meet the needs of the organization. To do this, the first thing you will do is research the company, learn something of its history, and keep a tidbit to put into the letter somewhere.

Speak to What You Can Bring to the Company, Not What You Want

So many letters have within their sentences, something like, “I am looking to join an organization that in which I can continue to grow professionally and develop new skills.” You think you are complimenting the company and maybe hinting that you want to settle in for the long haul, but you are not giving the reader what s/he wants. What can you contribute right now? How about, “I am a sales professional with a great track record, a record I can repeat with you.”

Even For Conservative Companies, You Don’t have to be Too Formal, but Gear Language to “Culture”

You need to do your homework here. Get on the company website. Look at the “About Us” page at least. Study the language and style. You want to use that same style in your cover letter. And, remember, even in banking and investment, while your format may be more traditional, your language can be less formal than it might have been 10 years ago. Everyone is bit more relaxed now.

Gear Format to the Company Culture Too!

As above, if the company is conservative use a traditional format. If, however, you are applying to a website design company, do something creative. Put your strengths and personality into a great and creative infographic – you will demonstrate your great design skills immediately. Even with a middle-of-the-road organization, a nicely designed infographic will grab attention immediately, and that’s what you want!

Are Cover Letters Really Read?

According to one researcher, 90% of hiring contacts don’t read them. If this is the case, yours had better be a real stunner and start with a bang! Maybe you have an anecdote that relates to the company. “As a kid, I sang your jingles from TV,” or “At age 8, I sat in one of your offices and ate candy from a bowl while my dad got his taxes done.” Barring that, read through the website or the job posting and find something you can say that relates. “I may be the creative and enthusiastic copywriter you are looking for,” or “Here is a link to a content marketing blog post I recently wrote.” Now you have established some curiosity about you, and you have also revealed a bit of your personality.

Avoid Complex Sentences and Big Words

Simplicity is best, with short sentences and a moderate vocabulary. Use some of the terminology from the ad, but avoid jargon. There may be an automated screening in place, so try to get a keyword or two from the posting.

Shorter is Better

Nor more than half a page, please! You can say what you have to say in two paragraphs. The first paragraph is to reveal your personality and to create curiosity; the second is to tell the reader you are interested and repeat, in different words what you would like to do for his/her organization. That’s it!

Skip the Salutation

Unless you have the correct name of the reader, do not put in a salutation at all. Just start with your first paragraph. It’s that first sentence you want him/her to see first anyway! The other option is to put a headline at the top of the letter. This is different, and if you can come up with something catchy all the better!

Link to LinkedIn

If you have a really great profile, insert a link to it in your last paragraph. If you have a blog that relates to the business niche, link to it. Someone who wants to know a bit more about you will click.

Every cover letter must be written from scratch for the position being offered. Yes, you can use some of the same great phrases and such, but begin anew each time. This prevents your letters from becoming boring and you may come up with even more creative ways to introduce yourself!

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