In my experience a well written cover letter is far more important than a resume. Your resume is your ticket to a conversation and explains that you’re qualified to participate but your cover letter is a sales pitch convincing them to invest in the idea that your skills can take their business to the next level.
But I thought you just said to stop writing cover letters…
That’s right. Stop writing cover letters and start writing sales pitches.
A good sales pitch isn’t about the product. It’s about the customer. It’s about the problems the customer is experiencing and how solving those problems means smooth sailing.
In this case your customer is your future employer and you’re the product. Your cover letter needs about exactly what your future employer cares about. Them and their business.
Sprinkle in a mention of how you’ve solved problems like theirs in the past and you’ve got a cover letter that accomplishes the goal of making your reader feel like not inviting you in for an interview could be a costly mistake.
This means every time you send out a cover letter you’re spending time tailoring your introduction to their specific business needs. It takes time but it’s the difference between radio silence and a callback.
Cover Letter Do’s and Dont’s
Don’t apply for a job.
If you’re a hard worker with incredible attention to detail and have the ability to work independently or integrate seamlessly into teams then you’re just like everybody else.
Instead, let them know you’d like to start building a long term relationship that will make both of you stronger in the years to come.
Do be clear and direct.
Be confident. State who you are, why you’re contacting them, and what your intentions are. Be efficient and get to the point quickly but remember to be human.
Be excited about the company you want to work for. Mention that you heard they have a problem you have the solution for and you’re excited to talk about tackling it together.
Don’t forget to be human.
Letters that sound like they were written by an office drone don’t get set aside and talked about.
Include a few of your traits, interests, and hobbies. Companies hire interesting people that will be a positive addition to the team’s culture.
Do write about them, and how you can help them.
Nobody hires a new employee because they have a job to hand out. They hire a new employee because their business hit a wall and they need more resources to continue growing.
Be the guy offering his ladder to help them get over the wall. THAT stands out.
Don’t be needy, don’t be desperate.
I never thank potential employers for their consideration, I never make it sound like I would be in their debt if they called me back, I never explain how much I would appreciate it if we scheduled an interview.
Instead, leave the ball in their court. Explain you’re in a position to make their organization stronger and if they’re interested they can contact you.
Don’t thank them.
They haven’t done anything for you yet. Position yourself in a way that they should be thanking you.
Remember, they can’t continue to grow their business without you. They need you so much they’ll be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars many times over every year for your help.
You’re not asking for help - you’re offering the way forward.
If you’re not sure your cover letter is an effective sales pitch, or if you’re sure it isn’t have a look at my writing samples and do a quick comparison. Each of these cover letters resulted in interview invitations, and job offers shortly after.
Don’t forget I’m here to help! With over 7 years of experience in the marketing industry I understand consumer behaviour and the decision making process. Shoot an email to [email protected] with your cover letter and I’d love to send you a free critique.