The Art of The Cover Letter

Jessica N. Todmann
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A cover letter is your opportunity to shine. This is the place where you can control the narrative on where you’ve been, where you are now and where you’d like to end up. There’s an art to being able to successfully sell yourself, and there are several ways in which to do so. You can use a focus on personal goals and how they relate to the company, tangible results derived from hard skills, or an intimate understanding of the industry.

It doesn’t matter how you choose to sell yourself, but you must do it well if you want the recruiter or hiring manager to want to move on to read your resume.

  • The most important thing you need to do is keep the recipient interested and engaged. Nobody wants to read something that’s boring, off topic or running on a tangent. Catch their eye with clean copy that’s to the point, but not overly involved. The hiring manager reading your cover letter should have just enough information to read that entices them to call you in for an interview. Your cover letter should make a strong case for why you are the right candidate for the position, without giving them a full dissertation of who you are and what you can bring to the table. Once you’ve got your foot in the door, use the points you made in your cover letter as a roadmap for your in-person conversation.
  • Perhaps the strongest case you can build is your drive, your contacts, your knowledge, and your skillsets- these are all the things you uniquely possess that can positively impact their business. Clarity in relaying how your strengths will manifest themselves within the role you’re applying for and best serve the organization overall will pique the recruiter’s interest.  Carefully read through the job description and match all the requirements they’ve outlined with what you’ve already done and can do. If you’re applying for a job in an industry you have experience in, highlight the wide net of contacts you already have to gain traction. If you are applying to a new industry, focus on your best and strongest transferable skills, such as retention rates, close rates, or annual review numbers. A company looking to grow can’t help but take notice of that.
  • It’s also important to display your enthusiasm and passions with a concrete link between them and the reason you’re applying to this company. Linking who you are as a person to the role you’ve got your heart set on may give the hiring manager more room to figure you in as the right candidate. Show your excitement and skill at the same time is by studying the company’s mission statement and then echoing those core values in your professional skills and motivations.

Cover letters will always need adjustment based on all the variables: experience level, type of job, and the industry. One simple piece of advice: your cover letter should convince the hiring manager they want to get to know you as soon as possible.




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