At the executive-level, a cover letter is considered an essential element of your job search portfolio and at all levels, a good cover letter can make the difference between you and another candidate getting noticed and called in for an interview.
Cover letters are meant to complement your resume and provide the reader with more insight into your value + qualifications by taking a deeper dive into how your skills and competencies are directly aligned with the role you are pursuing.
In a competitive marketplace, it is critical you set yourself apart by writing a compelling cover letter that links the brand story in your resume with where you are headed in your career! Here are 4 writing hacks that will help you craft a cover letter that will make a potential employer want to get to know more about you.
When it comes to your cover letter, skip the fluff and the old-school opening –‘It is with great interest that I submit my resume in response to your recent post for (title).’
Think brevity and open with a hook. The reader is scanning for the big picture…what it is you do, what your offer is, what it is you are asking them to do. Begin your letter with who you are and the value you bring to the table. For example, your opening sentence could be, “As a business development leader, I’ve driven sales to $1B and am known for breaking down barriers and maintaining a high-level of product visibility within a global marketplace.”
Or, open with a question. “Are you searching for a business development leader who can break down barriers, maintain a high-level of product visibility, and drive sales into the billions?”
In each of these openings, the reader is given an overview of who the candidate is (business development leader) and what they offer (ability to breakthrough barriers and elevate sales into the billions).
Focus on Your Value
No matter the level of employment being pursued, employers are searching for people who can help them solve their problems. Leaders who can help them take their business to the next level. Rainmakers who can help them increase their revenue / profitability.
Your opening line set the stage, now follow up with a sentence or two that connects your value with the organization’s specific needs. Your next sentence or two needs to prove you are familiar with what the company does, the current challenges it is facing, and how your skills and experience add value.
For example, you can follow your opening line with, “There’s no denying COVID-19 has disrupted the marketplace and slowed entry into new arenas, leaving companies to review and revise existing strategies. For the past two decades, I’ve provided cutting-edge strategies that have fueled progress and delivered the roadmaps needed to sustain a competitive advantage in the B2B market space. I would welcome the opportunity to do the same for you.”
In the follow-up paragraph, you’ve briefly demonstrated an understanding of their current situation (marketplace disruption due to the global pandemic) and stated how your background can help them overcome market challenges.
Provide Scannable Proof
Now that you’ve introduced the reader to your value, writing hack #3 is providing them with scannable proof that you have the skills and experience they need. Craft three to five compelling bullet points that highlights past successes.
• Delivered $800K in new sales revenue, providing the strategic direction needed to overcome market uncertainty and build trust with new clients.
Be succinct in your writing. Remember, this section should be easily scannable facts and data that will ignite interest in your candidacy and not a repeat of bullet points from your resume.
Include a Call-to-Action in Your Closing
Close out your letter with a summary of the value you bring to the table, outline next steps, and thank the reader.
I specialize in solving problems related to market growth and have a reputation for penetrating untapped markets and optimizing revenue streams. I would enjoy hearing more about your current sales challenges and discussing how I may be of service. You can reach me at (xxx)xxx-xxxx.
Thank you for your time, interest, and consideration of my sales qualifications. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Even though your cover letter is less formal than your resume, every entry should still exude professionalism. Replace non-essential information and copied/pasted entries from your resume with fresh information that shines a bright light on the value you bring to the role you are pursuing.