You know that next job? That one you are dying to have? Yes, that’s right, the really wonderful one with the bright co-workers, cool boss, and huge bonuses? That one.
You are wondering how you are going to nail it right?
By quickly showing your future employer that:
a) You’re going to perform incredibly well in this job.
b) You’re insanely likable.
c) You’re really going to fit in around there.
See also: Communication Blunders Job Seekers Make
Primarily, these three factors top the list when it comes to the selection process. The person who gets to keep that great job will be the one who shows the recruiters, quickly, that he or she has the capacity to be all three of those things.
But sadly, most people miss out on the number one opportunity they have to showcase their ‘awesomeness’ when they fail to plant positive seeds right from the introduction, à la your cover letter. Most people squander the opportunity; instead of using their cover to their advantage, they toss out bland, cliché-filled, or completely unnecessary resume lines. Or worse, they go on and on about all the things that they want out of the deal, without realizing that the company cares ‘more’ about what it’s going to get from you.
So, the big question is, how do you pull off a killer cover letter, one that conveys passion and talent and that makes the recruiter or hiring manager’s day?
Follow these steps:
1. Tell Them Why, Specifically, You’re Interested in the Company
Hiring managers don’t like reading those cliché lines in cover letters. They want to know that you have taken out time to research the company; that you are approaching the organization for very specific reasons, not for the same reasons that everyone else is giving.
Example: Try a high-personality lead in like this: “Having grown up with the John Doe Restaurant (literally) in my backyard, I understand firsthand how you’ve earned your reputation as one of the most family friendly restaurants in Lagos State. For 17 years, I have been impressed as your customer; now I want to impress visitors in the same way your team has so graciously done for me.”
2. Outline What You Can Deliver
Hold up! This is not the typical “Hey, I’m great. I swear” proclamation. You need to analyze the job description and use any other relevant information you’ve gathered about the opening, determine the key requirements and priorities for this job, and make it instantly clear to the reviewer that you can deliver the goods on these key things.
Example: Consider having a section within the letter that begins with, “Here’s what, specifically, I can deliver in this role.” And then expound upon your strengths in a few of the priority requirements for that role (they’re typically listed first on the job description or mentioned more than once).
3. Tell a Story, One That’s Not on Your CV
Quick fact, humans love stories far more than we love data sheets. (OK, this is me speaking for most humans). So, what’s your story? What brings you to this company? Were you good at mimicking TV commercials as a kid? Did the product make some incredible difference in your life? Do you sometimes pull into the parking lot and daydream about what it would feel like to work there? Tell your story. Just make sure you have a great twist.
Example: Say you’re applying for a sales representative position with a baked goods company known for its exquisite cookies and pies. You may want to weave a sentence or two into your cover letter about how you took part in a cake eating contest when you were 10, and that you’ve been a cake fanatic ever since. (Yes, this was me, but I actually came in second place. Sigh.)
4. Address the Letter to an Actual Person Within the Company
There is not one employee at your future new company who is named “To Whom it May Concern,” so please ditch that line. You’ve got to find a real person to whom you can direct this thing.
See also: Types Of CV: Chronological CV
This might seem so hard or overwhelming, but it’s often easier than you may think. Just take a stroll to LinkedIn and do a ‘People’ search using the company’s name as your search term. Scroll through the people working at said company till you find someone who appear to be the hiring manager. If you can’t find an actual manager, try locating an internal recruiter, the head of staffing or, in smaller companies, the head of HR. Address your masterpiece to that person. Your effort will be noted and appreciated.
And a last, critical factor when it comes to delivering a great cover letter: Be you! Nothing beats being honest. Genuine writing always goes much, much further than sticking to every rule you’ve ever read. Rules can be bent. In fact, if you truly want that amazing job with the brilliant co-workers, cool boss, and mouth-watering bonuses? Then by all means, bend those rules!
Check out amazing jobs on Ngcareers todayWriting Cover Letters That Make Recruiters Smile (Then Call You) by Stellamaris Obomanu