Cover letters are starting to become a thing of the past, but it's still smart to include one to help stand out. Get tips for writing a compelling cover letter—everything from why you want to avoid using “I” statements to how you can use bits of company press to show you've done your homework.
- Cover letters are starting to become a thing of the past which I think is great because they're often skipped over or tossed aside, but they take candidates a long time to do well. A lot of applicant tracking systems don't even allow you to upload one or they make it optional. It's good to include a cover if you're willing to put in effort to customize it for the job. You have to know how to write a cover letter well for those jobs that look closely at these as a way to differentiate candidates. It's really tempting to write a cover letter full of I statements.
I did this, I can do that, I am amazing, I, I, I. So my first piece of advice is to introduce yourself in a friendly way that shows you read the job description and know the company, and then talk about the company. Of course it's fine to have I as your subject here and there but also talk about the company and the work. Show you know what the company's up to and that you know what problems this job will solve. Talk about how you're the best person on the planet to help them do that, not I know how to scale a team, but two sentence on how you scaled a team at your current job and why it mattered.
Show them you can take them from today to the tomorrow they're looking for. Pop in snippets of your homework, the name of the person you expect to read it, and a note about the latest press release or big product launch, or the trade show they're going to in a few weeks. You should be an expert on the company and you need them to know that. If you're not willing to do the research now, why should they trust you with key details later? Let's take a look at this example cover letter that I might right to accompany some of the resumes we reviewed.
You see, this is friendly, approachable, researched, and insistent on illustrating where I can add value. It shows that I've done my homework on knowing the role and where my experience can plug in. It comes across as focused on helping the company, not just talking about myself. Now, go give it a try for yourself.
- Setting job hunting objectives
- Writing a compelling resume and cover letter
- Tailoring your approach
- Finding the right jobs
- Reentering the workforce
- Identifying which of your skills are transferable
- Excelling in a phone or video interview
- Negotiating a job offer