Everyone is looking for shortcuts, tips, and tricks to make life easier including in job searching. Here are top four hacks for creating a cover letter that will help you stand out:
Lead with a question
What is the employer looking for, and how are you a fit for them? You can tell the employer what you bring to the table by asking them a question about what they need — but by phrasing it in a way that shows them YOU are the answer! An example would be:
Do you need a sales director who can generate $1M in new business by the end of the 3rd quarter of 2016?
The question itself implies that you’re the answer. And you can do this for any industry or position; all you need to know is what the employer needs and how you can solve the problem(s) they currently face.
Keep it short
Employers are short on time, and so simply hoping they’ll open a Word document cover letter isn’t ideal—and it probably won’t be read. Instead, when you e-mail your resume include your cover letter in the body of the e-mail and write it for a “mobile” audience. More and more employers are reviewing e-mails on mobile devices, so make sure your cover letter is short and doesn’t require a lot of scrolling to be read. Cap your cover letter at 150 words. Keeping it short will ensure you keep the employer’s attention.
Give the employer three short bullets that are metric-driven. It serves to validate your experience and accomplishments and gives them a picture of what you can offer. Make sure the three you choose are most relevant to the position and the employer’s needs—and also speak to how you’re a great FIT for the role.
An example could be:
Compel them (in your close) to connect
When you are ready to close your cover letter there are several ways you can keep the lines of communication open between yourself and the employer. Invite them to call you to schedule an interview (and provide your phone number); another option is to use a PS at the end of the cover letter with a great one-line statement that will entice them to pick up the phone to chat.
You could also include a link to your LinkedIn profile (which I strongly urge you to do!), inviting them to connect with you on LinkedIn or review your profile for more information about what you do and how you’re a great fit for the role.
You could also choose to direct them to your professional website or blog, professional video, or any number of other alternatives. The point is to keep them engaged by having them learn more about you!
These are just four quick tips to help you stand out; it’s by no means an all-inclusive list, but it will help you get started creating a cover letter that will get and keep the employer’s attention.
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