If you are ever given an opportunity to write a cover letter for a job application, do it. Even if they don’t ask for one.
I can hear you moaning at your screen. “But why-y-y?”
Whether you run your own business and are preparing a pitch to collaborate, or you are applying for a new job, being able to portray your strengths via writing is essential. Communicating effectively is the difference between going nowhere fast and living the life you’ll never forget.
I often hear, “Just make it to the interview stage and you’ll be fine.” Yeah, that’s not the case for most people.
I’m an awful interviewer! I have been told that I’m great at talking to people, but I am still trying to grasp where this *supposed* talent comes from because I’m awkward as HECK. (Where are my fellow introverts at?) Although it gives me severe anxiety, public speaking is unfortunately one of my strengths.
While human interaction stresses me out, writing soothes my soul, and I am happy to tell you that I’ve mastered the art of writing cover letters. And I’m going to walk you through how you can do the same!
I mean, resumes are great. And I’m not saying they should be neglected in your hunt for that perfect job. But your cover letter is likely the only place you’ll be able to sculpt your strengths and highlight your passions, character, and values before you are placed in front of an interview panel like a specimen about to be dissected.
I’m going to break down my 5 Rules for writing a stellar cover letter (with an example). And, of course, you can download a Word template I’ve created and get started today!
#1 Introduce yourself
State the role you are applying for and where you heard about the position. If you relate to the company’s history, state that. If you met someone at a convention and couldn’t resist the temptation to apply because their enthusiasm was infectious–well, there you go. Employers like to know how you are tethered to them, and this should be done early in your cover letter.
#2 Do not talk about your past experience
This is a big one, guys. Never talk about the past or why you left your last job. Instead, talk about the future and what you are looking for in an employer. Speak from a place of momentum. Besides, your work history is on your resume anyway. This is a future opportunity, so talk about the future!
#3 Describe your strengths
What. Are. You. Good. At?! We all can describe what we’re bad at, but this is your chance to show all that good juju you can offer. In my case, I’m an engineer so of course I’m a geek, but I’m a skilled writer and I am able to present complex topics in a way that my Neanderthal clan can understand. Do you know how many engineers can’t write coherent sentences? This is a skill I offer my industry. So, what are you good at, and what can you offer?
#4 Explain how your strengths can benefit the role you’re applying for
Now we’re getting to the good part. Talk about the role and what it means to you, where you see yourself benefiting the company, and what you hope to take away in return. Remember, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.
Be compassionate, considerate, and memorable. In my example below, as well as the Word template you can download, I’ll show you how this is done. Avoid being salesy, aggressive, or kiss-ass-y (yes, that’s a word now).
Keep your cover letter within one single-sided page. Please, PLEASE avoid big language because people are just…people. Your employer isn’t going to care if you know what “nikhedonia” means.
(Nikhedonia is excitement that comes from anticipating success…what a dumb word.)
Now, what does this look like all formatted and pretty?
Are you ready to write your own? Download the cover letter template to get started! This is a fill in the blank template so the hard work is taken out, and you can walk into an interview confident that they’re impressed with you before you even step foot through the door.
And don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know when you landed the job of your dreams.