One reason so many job seekers hate writing cover letters is because they find it difficult to write something unique. There is a lot of pressure to write that one-in-a-million killer cover letter, especially in a crowded job market. So, how do you write something original and captivating?
Write a hook in the opening paragraph.
- Start your letter with a startling fact or industry trend.
- Congratulate the company or department for an honor or achievement.
- Recognize the company for a recent expansion or new product.
- Start with a testimonial from a client or partner.
- If an external person referred you, mention that person’s name.
Include concrete examples of your accomplishments that are relevant to the opportunity.
- Provide four to five examples from your recent history.
- Share accomplishments that demonstrate how you solve problems and produce results.
- Include measured results and the scope of the initiative. If possible, show actual figures rather than rounded estimates. (27% instead of 25%)
Personalize the closing paragraph.
- Communicate why you would be of value to the company.
- Express your interest in the company, using the company’s name.
- Indicate that you are going to make a follow-up call, and then do so.
- Thank the reader for their time and consideration.
The secret is not a witty joke or a philosophical mind-bender to show your intelligence. The secret is to research the company and personalize the letter based on your knowledge of the company, then to connect that with your experience. For more information on cover letters, read these blog entries: Include a Cover Letter with Your Resume and A Cover Letter is NOT Optional.