Face it; if you’re falling asleep writing your cover letter, you’re going to put your reader to sleep as well. So have some fun with it! Here are four tips to help you with that.
1) Speak Directly to the Hiring Manager by Name.
A cover letter introduces you to the reader (hiring manager, HR, etc.) So write like you’re speaking directly to that reader—person to person—in a friendly, warm tone. (Reserve resume-speak for the resume.) When you truly engage with your reader, they won’t snore. I promise.
So, who ARE you writing to? Call the organization and ask for the name of the hiring manager, recruiter or HR Director.
2) Tell them how you found out about the opportunity.
This is a great place to name-drop—if you can. Do you know someone who works there? Call them and ask permission to use their name. What do they say about the company that makes you want to work there? Include this. Have you used their product? What has been your experience with them? Tell a story with an exciting hook! Have you researched the company? (Of course, you have!) What interesting tidbit did you learn? Why are you excited about that? Be positive, but succinct.
3) Show them what you can do for the organization.
Remember, it’s all about them; not you. What problem do they have that you could solve? What accomplishments have you achieved that show you can be an asset to them? Tell that story. Use numbers to demonstrate prior results. E.g. You didn’t just “grow sales” you “increased sales by 54% in core categories and 72% in overall markets.”
Don’t regurgitate the resume—if you write an exciting summary here—they are going to read your resume next. Just answer the question, “What are the top 3 reasons they should hire me?” Write that answer tight and lean—and with punch.
4) Close with a Call to Action.
Consider ending with something like, “I look forward to speaking with you about this opportunity, and will phone your office next Thursday afternoon to chat about it further. Should you need to contact me before then, you can reach me at 987.123.4567 or email@example.com. ” Then—and here’s the key part—you WILL follow-up on Thursday afternoon!
Otherwise, you will look like a person who doesn’t do what they say. It’s an assertive approach that can get you through the gate-keepers. When the admin asks, “What is this regarding?”you can respond that “Mary Manager is expecting my call!” (And this will be true since you told her you would be calling…) Even if you get Mary’s voice mail, you can leave the message that you called to be sure she received your resume and that you are eager (never “anxious”) to chat with her about the position. There. You’re professionally assertive—not too needy—but appropriately excited about the possibilities of what you can do for them!
Write with interest—and they will be interested!