We all know how important it is to stand out amongst a sea of job applicants for your dream position. But make no mistake.
There must be a balance of professionalism and originality, all while structured correctly to prove yourself worthy of your desired position.
Use these essential tips to compose a winning cover letter!
1. Keep it standard with the format
Before diving into creative ways to stand out to an employer, let’s review the basics that, if not followed, will likely cause an employer to throw away your application before they get to the good stuff. Although it might seem like a fun way to stand out, you will likely do yourself a disservice to stray far from a standard business letter format.
Direct the letter accordingly and choose a simple font to keep it as professionally structured as possible. Keep strict guidelines on formally addressing your letter, and save the creativity for later.
2. Do not restate your resume
One of the biggest mistakes an applicant will commit when drafting their cover letter is typing out their entire resume in a paragraph by paragraph form. Your resume and cover letter are two various aspects of an application for a reason. An employer doesn’t want to waste time rereading the same information. In fact, this will likely get your application to the back of the pile.
You may be asking yourself, how do I write an entire page of why I should get the job if I cannot restate my resume? Don’t worry. There is a significant difference between repeating what’s in your CV and painting a picture of why you are the best fit for the job. Pull facts from your resume to narrate to the hiring manager how your work experience uniquely fits within the job description.
For example, if your CV reads, “fundraised $100,000 through grant writing and ran six volunteer organising drives in the U.S and Britain,” you could pull from that experience to paint a picture of why it has shaped you for a particular role.
For instance, you could write, “From a rural southern American town to deep in South London, my diverse experience in fundraising led me to discover the confidence and adaptability to do my best work in high-stress environments.”
3. Be yourself
Applying for jobs creates a tremendous amount of pressure on anyone. Such pressure may lead you to steer clear of what makes you unique in the effort to perfect your cover letter. Be careful not to do this.
The only way you can stand out amongst numerous applicants is to embrace what makes you different and not create a flawless character you think the employer wants to meet.
4. Be yourself, but not like that
Though you must stay true to who you are, don’t forget to be your professional self, not your weekend self. A casual tone, a sense of humour, riddles and rhymes, are all fun ways that you may stand out, but unless it is explicitly clear from a hiring manager to indicate something unconventional, do not risk it. It is true that not all employers will be turned off by a funny joke. In fact, it indeed could be what makes you stand out.
But the point here is that it is a big risk. You don’t know who exactly will read the cover letter, and also, how many people it will go through before it finds its way to the one person who loves the joke. You’ve been warned.
5. Always specialise your cover letter
It can be remarkably dull for a hiring manager to sift through generic cover letter after generic cover letter. This is absolutely no way to be seen for your talent. If you end up searching for a generic template for a structure to make your own, that’s more than okay.
But if you end up using the same cover letter for multiple job postings and employers, it will show. An employer wants to know that you are a committed and motivated candidate. Someone who keeps it too generic will show they don’t care enough about the position, whether it is true or not. Specialise the cover letter, or else you will likely not be receiving a call for an interview.
6. Research the company’s mission, vision, and values
One way to specialise your cover letter is to find out what the company you want to work for stands for. Employers want to know you’ve done your research, plus that you are committed enough to align with their goals for the future. It will indicate that you are a good fit for the company’s culture, a place where no matter which technical skillsets you have, you may not reflect in your CV.
Connect your work and life experiences to those values. This is your chance to make the closest thing to a personable impression without actually being in person.
7. Read it out loud
Finally, please don’t let all your hard work go to waste by leaving in small mistakes that will immediately make you stand out in a negative light.
Show you are detail-oriented right away by catching all your errors through reading out loud. Do it at a minimum twice. You will be surprised at how many details you missed.
Keep these tips close as you compose your letter. They will undoubtedly help you get where you aspire to be!
About The Author
Gabrielle Cicourel Hanley is an up-and-coming freelance writer with a passion for the sociology of work in the modern age. After working various odd jobs in different industries, she became fascinated with the components of work, bureaucracies, and other types of organisational structures. She received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology at the University of Oregon. With an additional background in communications and multimedia design, she brings creativity and precision to all her projects. Gabrielle resides in Tacoma, Washington in the United States. For more information, email email@example.com.