How to Write a Cover Letter That Stands Out
l love writing cover letters!
SAID NO ONE EVER!
Why don’t people want to write cover letters?
Because not everyone is strong in writing.
Because many people don’t like self-reflecting.
Because a lot is at stake.
Because you don’t know what to say.
CAN YOU RELATE?
This post will equip you with 10 actionable and helpful steps for writing your cover letters. And the best part … if you still need help … I have a workbook that will help you write your cover letter outlines and write your letters. THE COVER LETTER WORKBOOK & VIDEO TUTORIAL
10 Steps for a Strong Cover Letter
#1 Know the Purpose: Realize the Purpose of a Cover Letter
Before you can write something well you have to understand why you are writing. The purpose of a cover letter is to communicate HOW & WHY your experiences and skills exceed and serve their needs. Your resume is communicating the WHAT (what you have done). The cover letter is the connector between your resume and their job posting. It’s your opportunity to shine!
#2 Gather Your Thoughts: Create an Outline Before Writing
Writing a cover letter, research paper, book, or article can be daunting IF you don’t break them into manageable steps. Remember your elementary through high school days when you had to turn in an outline for your paper before you began writing? There was some reason for your teachers’ madness… they wanted you to formulate ideas and organize your thoughts. This helps you write with more clarity and makes it easier.
Here is the basic outline found in my Cover Letter Workbook.
Answer the following questions:
Why are you writing?
What are you doing? Or What have you been doing?
What are you pursuing? Or What do you want?
Why should we consider you?
2nd and 3rd Paragraph:
Pick Experience or Skills Themes so that you are telling a story
Pick a position or positions from your Resume and expand on them
Pick a set of skills they are looking for and expand on them
Do not write blanket sentences that anyone could write. Ex: “I have a great work ethic and I work well in a team setting.” Instead, provide detailed examples that support your experience and skills. Ex: “As a Sales Lead for XYZ I’ve helped motivate my team to exceed their monthly goals by implementing weekly one-on-one coaching sessions.”
Last Paragraph: Wrap it up
Express genuine interest in the position
Invite them to contact you
#3 Tell a Story
In paragraphs 2 and 3 from the outline above, you want to pick your most relevant and impressive experiences and skills from your resume and tell what you have done and how you can serve them. Do not talk about all of your experiences and don’t list all of your skills. Highlight 1-2 experiences that apply to the job you are applying for. For the skills, pick the ones that you have used in multiple experiences.
#4 Make the Connection
Don’t assume that the potential employer makes the connection between what you have done and what you can do for them. Tell them. Connect your experiences to the job posting responsibilities and their needs.
#5 Start Writing
Write your first draft in a new document and don’t worry about length. Just write. You will clean it up later. It is much easier to shorten a long letter, then create new thoughts.
#6 Clean It Up: Edit, Revise, & Condense
Walk away from your draft for at least 1 hour. Come back and read through it. Edit it, clean it up, make sure the sentences flow easily. If you have to read 1 sentence more than once, then you may need to revise it. I recommend you ask another professional to review it.
#7 Save Your Master
Congrats you have your master cover letter!
Save this and begin here each time you write a cover letter or cover letter email.
#8 Speak their Language
Take the master cover letter and customize it for each job. You may need to switch out 1 theme for another. You can refer back to your outline for this. Remember to use terms that the employer uses and address items that they find important.
#9 Brand It
You are a brand. Impress them with the quality of your documents. If you are consistent in font, color, and style, you will be more memorable. (You want that!) If you need help creating a strong personal brand, contact us! Look to the right, doesn't that look good?
#10 Save It: Keep Yourself Organized
Keep your files organized in folders and named clearly so you don’t mix up documents. You will need to save your documents as Word and PDF files. ALWAYS send PDF files. Do not send WORD files. Spacing often shifts on different computers and programs.
And there you have it… 10 HELPFUL and ACTIONABLE steps to writing your cover letters.
If you found this helpful, share it with a friend. QUESTIONS?
Email Eloise at firstname.lastname@example.org