“Spell out very quickly and succinctly what you can walk through that company’s doors and deliver, with the deliverables of the job directly in mind,” said Foss. She pointed out that the job description will give you “some very solid hints” about what they’re looking for.Kermes suggested using three to four bullet points within the letter.“All of us know when we get an email that was written for the masses, and it doesn’t motivate us to take action.” So, whatever you do, don’t write a single cover letter and swap out the names of the companies as you go.
No one wants to fall asleep while reading your cover letter, so Foss said you shouldn’t be afraid to use a conversational tone and a bit of personality.
“We all get so hung up on the ‘what it ought to be’ or the rules for cover letters that we end up with the world’s most boring, say-nothing end products,” she said.
To get the 411 on how to write a good cover letter, I chatted with Kevin Kermes, the founder of Career Attraction, and Jenny Foss, the recruiter and job search strategist behind Job Although it sometimes seems like writing anything longer than a tweet is going the way of the dodo, cover letters still matter — especially if you don’t have a recruiter or a direct introduction to the hiring manager.
Here are seven tips from these experts that will help you write an amazing cover letter.
“Draw the reader into the story by sharing what about that organization most impresses or captivates you and why — specifically — you want to work for them.” Foss recommended something that’s “memorable and thoughtful.” Be creative.
If, for example, you’re applying to be an event planner at a resort you visited growing up, she offered the following suggestion: “My passion for Timberwoods Lodge dates back to 1985, which was the year I first rode my bike (a Schwinn Lil’ Chick, complete with banana seat) in your Fourth of July Jamboree.” Once you’ve hooked your reader, the next few paragraphs should explain what you can do for them and the company.
This is one of Foss’ top three tips for writing a cover letter because it’s the “best way to ensure it gets read,” she said.
Rather than emailing the general “[email protected],” try to find out who the hiring manager is — and email them instead.
Take your time, let your personality shine — and then get ready for the interviews.
Using a cinema analogy, if your CV is a big-budget blockbuster then your covering letter should be the short and enticing movie trailer. For example, after you've introduced yourself in your letter you could include lines similar to these: "You will see from my enclosed CV that I match your requirements precisely.