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You’re Doing Cover Letters Wrong – Here’s Why

You’re Doing Cover Letters Wrong – Here’s Why

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Cover letters. You hate writing them. But why?

Related: 3 Easy Steps To A Quick Cover Letter Makeover

Because you don’t think anyone will even look at your cover letter?

Because they take too much time to write?

Because you hate bragging about yourself?

I bet the REAL reason you hate writing cover letter is because you really have no idea HOW to write one. In fact, you’re probably just straight up doing them wrong.

Here are some tips for writing a great cover letter that gets the attention of employers:

1. Give your cover letter the ‘Glaze Test’

If you start reading your cover letter and your eyes start to glaze over, scrap it and rewrite it. The average attention span of a human being these days is eight seconds – that’s an even shorter attention span than a goldfish! If you don’t grab them from the beginning, you can kiss your cover letter goodbye since it’ll be on its way to the Recycle Bin.

Don’t start your cover letter with the boring, generic opener, “I’m writing to apply for the position of XX.” No no no no. You can talk about that later. Your first sentence is suppose to grab the reader and get them interested in what you’re selling: You. Here are some great tips for crafting a great cover letter introduction.

2. Do NOT reiterate your resume – enhance it.

Your cover letter is the “voice” of your resume. It explains what your resume can’t. It’s another opportunity to sell yourself to employers. Why throw that chance away by repeating what you’ve already said in your resume?

Instead, use your cover letter to share a little bit more about your unique experience, expertise, and skills and how they would be an asset to the company for which you’re applying. This is also your chance to convey your passion for the industry and work, two things you can’t really showcase in a resume.

In my experience, the easiest way to do this is to find a company or position that REALLY excites you – so much that you could talk about it for days. Then, it’s easy to convey your enthusiasm and passion, and determine how you can use your skills to help the company.

3. Get specific.

Identify a specific goal the company wants to achieve and figure out how your unique experiences, skills, and expertise can help achieve that goal. Ask yourself, “How exactly can my unique qualifications help me solve this company’s problem?”

A great way to learn about some of the challenges and goals of a company is to set up an informational interview with someone who works there. Chat them up, ask them what they need, and figure out why they need it.

4. For the love of chocolate, quantify!

Sure, you’re a hard worker, you’re a team player, and your attention to detail is second to none. While that’s all fine and dandy, it’s not going to set you apart from all of the other candidates who claim they have the same qualities. These subjective statements aren’t proving anything about your previous accomplishments. Anyone can say them, and everyone does.

Employers want to see results. Numbers = results. Think about your biggest accomplishments. What made them a big deal? Why are they so impressive? Did you increase your previous company’s sales leads by 50,000 email subscribers within 30 days? Great – you could say something like:

My in-depth knowledge of inbound marketing strategies helped me increase XYZ Company’s sales leads by 50,000 email subscribers within 30 days. As the Digital Marketing Strategist at ABC Company, I plan to use a similar strategy to collect targeted sales leads.

5. Leave them begging for more.

By this time, the reader has read pretty much your entire cover letter (heck ya!). Now, it’s time to close the deal and leave them wanting to learn more about you. You could say something like this:

I’m excited to meet your team and share more in-depth examples of how my experience can help XXX Company achieve XXX Goal.

I can be reached at [email protected] or at (555) 555-5555. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Hope those tips help! Spice up that boring cover letter!

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Ariella Coombs Ariella is the Content Strategist and Career Coach for Work It Daily. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Follow her @AriellaCoombs or find her on Google+.