Do you feel like you’re wasting your time writing your cover letter? You’re probably doing it wrong. You’re not alone in your struggle, though. A while back, I had a client who was really struggling writing her cover letter for a company. No matter what she tried, she just couldn’t get something out on paper (sound familiar?). The funny thing is, both of us are writers, so you’d think it would be an easy thing to create. However, it was like pulling teeth trying to get this thing written. She was racking her brain for what to write, but she was completely uninspired. Related: Top 3 Ways To Waste Time On Your Job Search After about a half hour of back and forth, I had an idea. I think I figured out what was wrong. “Okay, let’s forget about this company for a second,” I told her. “If you could work for ANY company, whether it was hiring or not, which one would it be?” Literally three seconds later, she lit up and started raving about this one publishing company that she absolutely adored. She told me what it did, why it was a great fit for her, and why she would excel there. “You realize you just told me what your cover letter is going to say, right?” I said to her. After that, she was able to bust out a rockin’ cover letter. But the problem she had with her first cover letter was clear: she was trying to write about a company she didn’t love.
So, we’re agreed that it’s worth your time to write a cover letter to accompany your resume (see Why Cover Letters Count). Now you’re facing the daunting task of making your cover letter worth reading. Related: 3 Easy Steps To A Quick Cover Letter Makeover Considering that a 2005 Society for Human Resource Management survey revealed that more than 8 out of 10 human resource professionals spend less than one minute reading a cover letter—and that was before the recession flooded the market with applicants, putting even more demands on hiring managers—how can you hope to catch a hiring manager’s attention, let alone convince them to invite you in for an interview? It might feel scary. Somewhat intimidating, maybe. Almost like asking for a date!
We’re all looking for shortcuts, tips, and tricks to make life easier—and why not job searching too? Here are my top four hacks for creating a cover letter that will help you stand out: Related: 5 Key Steps To A Cover Letter That Opens Doors
In my experience as an Executive Resume Writer, cover letters only get read about a third of the time they are sent. That being said, when one is required, or you are hoping for that added edge to get a hiring manager's attention, there is no doubt a great cover letter can make all the difference. Related: The Basics Of A Disruptive Job Search To accomplish this, your cover letter must be disruptive and draw them in. Here are some things to keep in mind when you're writing one.