For the past month and a half, I’ve been writing cover letters for job applications. While talking with my brother yesterday, I realized a different approach I could use for putting them together. Now I realize it may take more time but your cover letter is actually the only chance you have to craft your elevator pitch in a professional written format. So here are some new tips on how to approach writing cover letters:
1) The history of writing started with actually using your hand, not a computer or a typewriter. Print the job description, close your computer and take a pen and a notebook. Physically write out your cover letter. I guarantee 100% you will write a cover letter ten times better than using your computer. Your eyes will also thank you for taking a break from looking at a computer screen.
2) Aim to parallel your experience with the job requirements. What specific communication skills did you develop that meet the requirements of the position? What about leadership activities that helps you develop public speaking or presentation skills? Draw the parallel between the two.
3) Treat your cover letter like your elevator pitch with the exception that it has to read as a professional business letter. Think of what you dream of saying about yourself and use that to inspire your cover letter. Every position is different therefore will require a different cover letter.
4) When you type out your hand-written cover letter use business letter format for your letter. Do not use your resume header for your letter. For salutation, instead of “Dear Hiring Manager,” write, “Dear KPMG,” or “Dear NBC.” I’m sure you get the idea. End your letter with “Sincerely,” and don’t use “Best Regards,” to end your letter.
5) Lastly, keep a good notebook for writing out your cover letters for future review. Notice your patterns, where you can improve and where it is appropriate to brag. Although cover letters are a pain to write, it is a learning process. I am way better at looking at another cover letter than writing my own cover letter.
So that’s it – and a special thank you to my brother for inspiring me to write this blog post. Goodness knows how much majority of us don’t like writing cover letters and still have no choice but to write them! Happy writing!