If you often face "writer's block" when you're getting ready to craft your cover letter, don't be so hard on yourself, everyone feels this at one point or another. The trick is, to have very clear goals and guidelines that will help you stay on track and focused.
If you really want to capture the hiring manager's attention, and get invited for the interview, you need to write an effective cover letter that really conveys the kind of value that you can bring to the organization in that role. Below are 3 simple rules for writing an efffective cover letter.
That fire in your belly so to speak. Reach down deep, dig out that primal instinct and go after that job. Go after what you want and act like you really want it. I know it sounds crazy but it’s not. This fire will jump off your letter and touch those reading it.
There’s nothing wrong with digging deep, go after that job like you REALLY want it, act like it’s the last job on earth and it’s already yours and you’ll develop the right attitude.
That fire, that energy and enthusiasm will jump off the page and reveal the type of person you are and that you’re keen. The right attitude and mindset can open lots of doors and put you above those candidates just applying for the sake of it.
Consistency is also the key, keep that fire alive by approaching every cover letter you write unique, make it easy for the reader to see how special and capable you are, and why you should be called in for the interview.
Whether it’s for your 1st or your 50th cover letter, keep the same energy level because to your boss to be, this is your first cover letter to them not your umpteenth, so approach every cover letter you purposely craft for each position be written through a fresh pair of eyes by tailoring it to suit each job position.
Share your energy and enthusiasm but never be desperate, come from a position of confidence and you will have mass appeal amongst recruiters and prospective employers.
Believe it or not, the way you write can indicate the kind of impression people will have of you. Each of us has a signature tone in all of our letters. The way you write should be consistent.
Some believe that writing in the third person removes the “I” factor from the equation, for example “generated over 1 million dollars in extra company revenue in 2008”. This way you can humbly boast about your achievements without appearing conceited, rather than writing “I generated over 1 million dollars in extra company revenue in 2008”.
The second approach is more personal. However, if you have a half a dozen bullet points, it can get a little repetitive and make you look self-centered.
Mix it up, find the right balance between personal and professional, and let it convey your message with your own unique personality. Put yourself under the microscope and highlight your best qualities so that it becomes a focal point and convinces them that you’re the person they have to meet.
When writing your cover letter, organize your information so that it’s easy to read. Like a puzzle, you can’t just force pieces together, you need to connect them in a harmonious way.
The human brain, including that of the recruiter, hiring manager, human resources manager and your boss to be, likes simplicity, structure and order. It helps to structure the information in your cover letter with bulleted points. This makes it readable, draws attention to relevant points and gives it a natural flow on effect.
Presenting your information in bite-sized chunks also makes it easier to process. You wouldn’t try to force feed an entire meal in one mouthful, would you? The same applies to how you organize your information.
Smaller pieces of information are easier to digest and absorb and will help you stand out. It also makes a statement about you, it shows that you are concise, to the point, structured and well organized. A well-presented and organized cover letter speaks volumes of the kind of person you are.
Want to pack a punch of bite-sized information? Try using shorter sentences around 15 to 16 words in length. Having sentences 30 words or more in length is the equivalent of someone rambling on about him or her and not getting to the point.
If this is you, you’re giving the impression that you’re more focused on what you have, rather than what they need. Focus on what THEY need, and you will start matching your skillset to meet their requirements.
For example, if you’re applying for an IT position and it specifically states that they need someone with software life-cycle development experience, and you have 20 years of IT experience, but not so much on the software development side, figure out a way to bridge the gap, and make it easier for them to see you as a potential candidate.
Avoid long paragraphs, they tend to confuse and strain the eyes of the reader. Instead, use bullet points with plenty of white space to convey the message.
Have you ever noticed marketing materials, at least the good ones, they use this well-known tactic to help the reader focus on the things that matter the most. They leave plenty of white space on either side of the text so that the reader can focus on the sales pitch.
What are your thoughts regarding these tips? Do you often feel that fire in your belly when you sit down to craft your cover letter? If you don’t, why do you do to stay focused and write a good cover letter?
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