Writing cover letters can be incredibly draining and daunting for busy job seekers. People who read them are often bored by the stack of letters that start and end the same way, without much variance in the middle. Here are five tips for you to avoid boring the HR department while increasing your chances of being called in for an interview:
1. Check your tone and dig out your thesaurus
Starting off strong is one of the most essential parts of having a killer cover letter. Using a tone that will hook the reader, while remaining professional, is critical in all forms of writing. Choose powerful verbs and adjectives by looking up alternatives to overused buzzwords and keeping your vocabulary action-oriented. Not only is it important to draw the reader in with your tone and word-choice, but you also need to keep them until the end.
2. Ghost yourself
Hate writing about yourself? You are not alone! It is a shared struggle, but also an essential skill. If you struggle to find the balance between self-promotion and pretentious bragging, try a new approach when writing cover letters. Pretend you are a ghostwriter that is paid to write your own cover letter. Writing from the perspective of a third party can be very helpful in striking that sweet balance.
3. Drop names
When possible, it’s a great idea to mention the name of a mutual contact or of a well-known person in your industry, if you have a relationship with them. Names resonate strongly with people and if hiring teams are able to check up on your name drop and get a strong, positive reference, your cover letter will stand out. Before using this strategy, make sure that you have let your contacts know that you are using them as a reference.
4. Tell a story
Add in anecdotal stories of accomplishments in your work that highlight your skills and expand upon your resume or CV. You can elaborate on what you’ve done in the past that benefited your company to showcase how you will be an excellent fit for the position you are applying for. Do keep it short and limit these excerpts and mini stories to no more than three sentences.
5. Sneak in some smarts
Do some research on the history or current events pertaining to your industry and weave them into your letter. For example, if you are a tech-savvy millennial applying for a job in healthcare, talk about how much technology has changed healthcare in the past five years. Be specific and connect it with your skills and the job description. This shows your interest and passion for your industry and can be an excellent way to hook the reader.
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