So…you have decided to apply for the job. You see that they are asking for the usual stuff, name, work history, references, (why do I have to type all this info in to those tiny little boxes when it is all in my resume I have uploaded***stares blankly). But, something like a new applicant curve ball has been thrown from the pitching mound of the employer. They want a cover letter! Who? What? Before you scramble to Google and become overwhelmed- keep calm and keep reading- cause I got you!
What is a cover letter?
Think of your resume as the bones and structure. If this is so, then your cover letter is the heart and soul. Simply put, cover letters can be what exactly what you need to stick out from the pile of applicants on the hiring managers desk. It’s like the little box you check sometimes when buying something on line to make sure you “aren’t a robot”. A cover letter consists of 2-3 paragraphs highlighting, talents, skills, strength, experiences, basically anything related to the job you are applying for and how all these wonderful things about yourself makes you the only possible candidate for the position. (If you don’t think you the one boo, then who will? ***statement applicable to more than just jobs)
Okay, now we know what a cover letter is and how it helps us land the job. Keep reading so I can teach you how to sell yourself better than your favorite IG model on IG. (Booking info included of course!)
First things first. Always remember to head your cover letter with your name, email, phone number, and address. I feel that I shouldn’t use one whole step to state the obvious so Imma double up on Step 1. CAREFULLY READ the job description and spend time to think a) what does the job entail b) what do I do at my job now or what have I done in the past that fits this job description. Remember, it doesn’t only have had to happen in a job setting for you to use it in your cover letter or resume. Maybe you interned, maybe you do the things in the job description at church or on the weekends for a family member, if you have done it or do it at anytime or anyplace- put it in the letter! Just remember to “re-package” or word your experience in such a way that makes sense for the job. Most importantly, use the words and phrases in the job description as an outline for what you want to say about yourself. In fact, use the exact words or phrases that the employer uses in the job description in your actual letter. BONUS TIP: Use a thesaurus to help you say the same thing in a different way. If using Microsoft Word, just hold down the Shift+F7 keys.
So, Step 1 is to use the most updated contact info and to use the job description as an outline for what you will say about yourself.
Step 2. Whatever highlights you use to make yourself shine…show your receipts! Back up what you say about yourself with evidence and be specific. This can be in the form of a story, if you have won awards (employee of the month, MVP in sales,, etc.), or received any certificates. And don’t trip if you don’t have any of these things. Maybe people always tell you how they can always count on you, that you are dependable and reliable. These are traits that make you who you are, but can be hard to get across in an application, which is the magic of a cover letter. Because you can dead a** say that. For example, “Due to my consistency and reliability, I am often times the go-to person at my current job because my supervisor and colleagues know I will get the task done.” Or, maybe you are super optimistic and a great encourager at your workplace. Saying something like, “Because I am such a team player and have a positive attitude my co-workers call me the cheerleader of our department.” BONUS TIP*** use words like obtain, possess, acquire, recipient, organize, and execute to make yourself sound like a real boss!
Quick recap of Step 2, highlight traits/skills/talents that you did not use in your resume and that may need a little explanation. Also, make sure you provide examples and specifics to support why you would be the perfect fit for the job.
Step 3. Keep it short and sweet. Your cover letter should be one page with 2-3 paragraphs. This is not a biopic boo…this is the 30-sec preview we catch in a commercial break. Quickly cover what you have done in the past that is related to the job you are applying for, who you are today, and how you will bring these strengths and skill sets to this new company for your future. Whoever is reading your letter should easily see how your skills, gifts, etc. transfer to the job position. Remember quality over quantity.
Step 4. Proofread. Make sure at least 2 people you trust and who are good at proofreading lay eyes on your cover letter to make sure words and grammar are correct. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression so make sure you present yourself in the best light, so you can land the job and live your best life. (Then proofread your letter again!)
Need help with cover letter templates? Click the links below to help you out. (Didn’t I say I got you?)