A cover letter can make or break an employment opportunity, especially for a highly sought-after management role. A great cover letter can make a particular candidate stand out from the pile of applicants, and a bad cover letter can cause an otherwise great candidate to get cut from the shortlist. It’s unfortunate when a great candidate with a great resume applies for a job with an unoriginal, copy-and-pasted cover letter that clearly demonstrates laziness and a lack of passion for the role. It causes the employer to second-guess whether or not you’re truly the ideal candidate after all, even if your resume is golden. A candidate who is truly passionate about the role will re-write their cover letter, tailoring it for that specific employer. Here are five cover letter secrets for landing an upper-management role at a prestigious company:
1. Explain Why You’re Uniquely Qualified for the Position
Your cover letter allows you to tell the story of why you’re uniquely qualified for this particular position, and why you’re the ideal candidate. You can provide specific examples of your experience, skills, and talents that align with the ideal traits this particular employer would look for. You should showcase your writing skills, too. Keep in mind, while writing a cover letter, what this company needs. Is there a problem they need to have solved by whoever takes on this role? Explain why and how you can solve their problems and why you’re what they need.
2. Repeat Key Words from the Job Posting in The Cover Letter
You may have noticed while reading the job posting, that certain keywords were apparent. The important keywords are the ones used to describe the ideal candidate. For example, the job posting may have stated that the idea candidate would need to be an “SEO expert” or have experience with “Google AdWords”. If your experience and skills align with the job posting, it’s crucial that you repeat these key words while writing your cover letter. Ensure the cover letter as a whole is well-worded, with great sentence structure and perfect grammar. Show that you’re a professional by writing professionally.
3. Don't Just Repeat Your Resume
Your cover letter needs to offer the employer additional information about you, clues about your personality type, and insight into who you are as an individual. Your cover letter needs to have information that your resume doesn’t have. A lot of applicants make the classic, boring mistake of simply writing a paragraph-form of their resume as their cover letter. You can use your cover letter to showcase your expertise in the field, point out recent projects you’ve worked on that pertain to the role and explain how passionate of an individual you are.
4. Don’t Be Too Formal or Too Dry
Many cover letters are dull to read because they’re too formal and too dry. Show some personality in your cover letter by telling a unique story or anecdote, writing with passion, and adding in some specific details about who you are. The tone of your cover letter should match the company. If it’s a modern tech company, they are probably more laid back, fun and casual compared to a prestigious law firm. The tone of your cover letter should match the personality of both the company and the person who will be reading your cover letter.
5. Everything Should Be Related to Either the Company or the Job Description
Everything written in your cover letter should align with and relate to the job description and the role you’re applying for. Anything in your cover letter that does not pertain to those things should at least pertain to the company itself. Nothing irrelevant to this specific job should ever be in your cover letter. Some of your work experience will not pertain to the particular job you’re applying for. This is yet another reason why you should never copy-and-paste a cover letter, and why a cover letter should be re-drafter for every individual employer. It’s ok to have a template, but everything else must be re-written to align with the unique role you’re applying for. The only exception to this rule is if you recently accomplished something very impressive in your professional or entrepreneurial endeavors. If it’s a truly impressive accomplishment, it’s ok to add it in – even if it’s irrelevant. Simply keep anecdotes short and punchy and break up paragraphs so that your cover letter is easy to read.
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