Cover letters (a.k.a. letters of motivation) are seen by some as a nuisance that take up huge amounts of time during the job application process. For others, it’s seen as a way to stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of getting hired. So, deciding on whether or not you want to use a cover letter is completely up to you, but keep in mind, that aside from having strong customizable resume, the next best tactic to boost your chances of getting a job (according to livecareer.com) is to have a strong cover letter.
Now, we know crafting a strong cover letter can be quite time-consuming, even more so if you’re mass-applying to dozens of different job positions. However, many employers still require a cover letter to be considered for a job role. And if you are applying for the job of your dreams, writing a strong cover letter is something that should never be skipped.
Crafting a Strong Cover Letter
So, to make this task easier and allow you to craft strong custom cover letters for each of the companies that you’re applying to, we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide for fast cover letter creation.
This guide will enable you to:
- increase your chances of landing your dream job
- save you time during the job application process
- allow you to apply for multiple positions in a shorter period of time
- wow your potential employer with a tailor-made cover letter
Template Your Personal Info and Contact Details
One of the first things you can do to streamline your custom cover letter creation process is to template your personal information and contact details. For example, your personal info at the top of the cover letter should be something you never type in manually more than once.
So, what you’ll want to do is create a ready-made template and simply paste it into every cover letter you start writing.
You should include:
- your name
- your phone number
- your email address
It’s also good to include:
- your address
- a link to your LinkedIn/Facebook profile
- chat messenger usernames (Skype and others)
- a link to your portfolio (if you have one)
It may seem that typing these details manually every time will not be so time-consuming, but when you start, you will see that it can actually takes up to 5 minutes to even start – while a simple CTRL + C combined with CTRL + V actions steps only takes a second or two.
Warp-Speed Research About The Company
If you’re applying to several companies, doing thorough research about each one of them can take ages. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t research the company you’re applying to, but it’s more time-effective to do it in more detail after you’re invited for an interview.
In a cover letter, most employers want to know more about you, but showing that you’ve done some research about the company will show motivation and ambition. On the other hand, including a 500-word avalanche of company research will not impress many employers.
To speed up your research process, simply go to the company website and look at their general value proposition, or go to their “Mission and Vision” statement if they have one. Then, use the company accomplishments they’re most proud of and include it in your cover letter, like this:
“I read that XYZ Inc. is the number #1 company in the XYZ industry with over X employees, which is why I’m motivated to join your team and…”
Cut Back on CV Information
Some job applicants believe that a cover letter is just a resume that’s more verbose and that doesn’t use bullet points. In other words, applicants think that it’s their task to include all of the information about their professional history in their cover letter.
Well, that’s precisely what the resume is for. The cover letter’s task is to show why you’re motivated for that company, that industry, that position (hence the synonym letter of motivation).
To save time both for you and the HR expert who will be reviewing your cover letter, don’t reiterate the info that you have already made clear on your resume.
You can also add a sentence such as:
“For more details about my career, professional history and achievements, you can refer to the resume I’ve attached.“
Show That You Understand What The Position is About
Unlike research about the company itself, employers actually expect that you have a thorough understanding of what the job role you’re applying to is all about.
To cover all their requirements and show that you’re skilled for the job, while saving a lot of time doing it, you can simply refer to the “Requirements” section in their job ad.
This is usually presented in bullet points, so you can simply take those requirements from their ad and explain, with real-life examples, how and why you fulfill them.
Here’s an example from a recent Amazon job ad looking for a Communications Program Manager:
- Bachelor’s degree in Communications or a related field (Journalism, Marketing Communication, Public Relations or related field and / or related work experience in the area of Communications and Change Management).
- 6+ years of communications experience including internal communications-focused experience.
- Experience in providing counsel to, and working with senior executives.
- Experience working with virtual teams.
- Ability to use quantitative and qualitative data to make decisions and recommendations.
- Experience leading communications programs in a multinational business.
- Experience leading social media employee engagement programs/campaigns.
Now, if you want to get down to brass tacks and show you have all these qualifications without spending a lot of time, simply include this text in your cover letter. After every bullet, exemplify how you fulfill that particular requirement. If you don’t, you can include plans for professional improvement in the near future that will show the employer you’re ready to go the extra mile to fit into the job position.
This will show the employer that you know how to differentiate between the important and the irrelevant and that you know how to cut to the chase without cliché phrases and ambiguous corporate humble-brags. But most importantly, it will help you deliver a strong cover letter, vs. a weak one.
Make Realistic and Straightforward Promises
Many job applicants make the mistake of talking too much about themselves as someone with a professional past completely unrelated to the company or even industry.
When you’re writing a cover letter, your task is, among others, to explain why you should get hired for that exact role and what you plan on doing when you do get hired.
However, beware of making false promises. For example, don’t include “willingness to travel” if it’s going to turn out you don’t actually want to travel for work due to your family. Don’t say that you’re “not afraid to take responsibility” if you don’t want to be in charge of a team.
If creating a strong cover letter is important to you, then you’ll want to be sure you show the employer exactly what you plan to achieve within your first week, month and year on the position.
Lastly, you’ll want to be sure you end your cover letter strong. You don’t have to spend too much time on this aspect of your cover letter; however, it’s important to keep in the back of your mind that having a proper and powerful end to your cover letter is critical.
So, aim to make a lasting impression with a powerful ending to your cover letter. Here are a few powerful ways to end a cover letter:
- Summarize Your Strengths. You don’t need to rehash everything you’ve covered about yourself in the body of the cover letter, but you’ll want to make sure you include one or two of your standout strengths in the closing of your cover letter to make it pop.
- Exude Confidence. Hiring managers can sense how confident you are by the words you use and how you use them. So, be sure you aren’t using passive language in your closing, and strive to sound assertive and sure of yourself to wrap up your cover letter.
- Show Gratitude. Lastly, be polite and say thank you. By showing gratitude you’ll come across as someone who the hiring managers will be excited to speak with and potentially work with. Gratitude shows awareness and that you’ll likely make for a good team player.
In short, finish strong by summarizing your strengths, writing with confidence, and conveying gratitude, and you’ll have a powerful end to what has become a really strong cover letter.
Final Thoughts on How to Write a Strong Custom Cover Letter
Considering the current state of the economy, there are no shortages of people looking for employment. As such, it is more important than ever to be able to create a lasting impression with your future employer and stand out from the crowd.
Our hope, is that the suggestions in this post will help you increase the speed at which you can create your custom cover letters without sacrificing quality.
So, with that being said, we wish you luck in your quest for landing your dream job. Use these cover letter tips to build the strong cover letters that get people hired, and you’ll be that much more ahead of your competition.
Till next time,
PS – If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll probably love these article on How to Get Rich With a Normal Job