If we want our cover letter to be as effective as possible we need to make sure we avoid the mistakes that employers hate to see, yet most people still make. In order to be as accurate as possible, I went out and spoke to recruiters from Google, Microsoft, and a few Wall Street firms on top of my own research. Then I cross referenced that information with the several hundred cover letters that have come across my desk at Cultivated Culture.
After all was said and done, here are the 7 most common mistakes people make on cover letters that will cause recruiters to throw out their application:. This is the most obvious and most common issue. The ideal length for a cover letter is paragraphs. Changing the margins, font, and font size are all fair game — just keep things on one page, capisce? Your cover letter is a space for you to truly differentiate yourself. Remember, this is a tie breaker. Many of us feel unqualified for the jobs we want.
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As a result, we try to twist our experience to match the traditional qualifications for our target role. Am I saying you should forget about trying to spin your experience to position yourself well? Absolutely not. Instead, focus your time outside of work on building tangible results that you can showcase in your cover letter and resume. If you want to be a developer, take a few coding courses and build something cool. If you want to be in digital marketing, land a few clients and run their ads for them.
Telling a story about how you took proactive steps to build experience in a field will beat traditional credentials in most cases. Anyone who reads that is immediately going to mentally bucket it as impersonal. Here is my strategy. That search is going to bring up a slew of people that I could address directly in my cover letter:. On top of that, your cover letter might even make it into the hands of the person you addressed it to! As mentioned earlier, your cover letter is one of the few opportunities for you to truly differentiate yourself from the competition.
Instead of rehashing the experience on your resume, tell a story about how you got that experience. Make it unique and personable. I had the most success when I talked about how I transitioned from a job in medicine to the tech world by starting a side business generating leads for real estate agents. Use this space to tell your story. You want to keep things professional. They are far more likely to hurt than help. When I started Cultivated Culture, I began tracking how different factors influenced the success of my students.
One of the major keywords the look for is a matching or relevant job title. I recommend dropping it in right below your name. We want to make it as easy as possible for this person to learn more about us and get in contact if they want. I always recommend that you include the following right at the top of your cover letter:. You want the employer to be able to click and get in touch. Finally, a lot of people ask me about including a location.
- Introduction to No Particular Song?
- Bowling Avenue!
- Second Paragraph: Why You're The Perfect Fit;
While the book itself is fictitious, the artists, pieces, and much of the history behind them is accurate. In the first section of your cover letter, you want to briefly talk about why you are interested in the role and the company. Remember, we want to drive the message through a story. When I was applying at Google, I wanted to work there because they were a household name that was focused on cutting edge technology, but they also cared about impacting lives.
Here is the story I used to drive that point home:. I wanted to recount a story from my referral [Name]. When he was down in South Carolina, a teacher asked him about the possibility of getting wifi for the town and its students. He sent an email to Astro Teller who responded and they discussed the feasibility of implementing project Loon in the area. The best part? You can save each of these five sections, and mix and match them to create new cover letters.
The introduction is the real catch or release for the hiring manager. These few sentences will determine whether or not the hiring manager is going to take the time to read the rest of your cover letter.
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Therefore, this is the most important part of your cover letter. My name is Caileen Kehayas and this cover letter is intended to express my interest in the Digital Marketing position as listed on LinkedIn. I believe my background in digital marketing and social media renders me an ideal candidate for this role. Are you still awake? Your hiring manager is busy drooling on your cover letter, lost in a deep nap because that is one mighty boring intro. This introduction tells the hiring manager something she already knows; you are applying for a job.
As an admirer of [Company] and its bombastic debut in the [Industry] I was thrilled to see a Brand Strategist position open. Having spent the last three years focused on building and growing the messaging for [Current Company] through targeted SEO and social awareness, I would love the opportunity to communicate your compelling story with the masses.
This approach does a few things. First, it starts off with a compliment. Have you ever met someone who compliments your shoes right off the bat? From there, this approach explains where you were working and names a few of the tools you used. This is not only a good way to introduce your previous position, but also to offer a teaser of your skill sets. Lastly, this approach uses one sentence to communicate the plans you already have to move forward.
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The only time you can avoid a cover letter is if you have a senior professional advocate at the firm where you are applying. Even then, we encourage the value of focus derived from the process of personalizing a cover letter for each firm applied to. As machines become more prevalent throughout the hiring process, a personal touch, if done correctly, can become even more compelling.
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Today, I recommend a much shorter format. Give a strong one or two sentence intro, three bullet points highlighting your most compelling points and one sentence closer. By keeping your cover letter short more people will read it, and you will also show that you can communicate clearly, which is a major pro as more organizational communications go online. When writing a cover letter, there are two key objectives: make yourself compelling and show you understand the role and company:. A great way for candidates to have their cover letter stand out is to have it look uniform to their resume.
This way it will be aesthetically pleasing to look at, while also being an extension of their resume. Have a personality. A resume is a stiff, formal document. The cover letter provides an opportunity to show off your glowing personality. In most jobs these days, communication skills are critical. So demonstrate that you can provide information in a clear, concise and grammatically correct manner. And make sure that your letter is free of any typos or errors in punctuation and grammar. If your cover letter is full of mistakes, you're speaking volumes about your attention to detail.
I once received a cover letter in which the applicant mentioned that he'd graduated from a top-tier collage — and I was not impressed! Make your cover letter as personal as possible in every detail that you can. Expand all of your resources to find the name of the hiring manager. A cover letter addressed to a specific person will increase your chances of standing out amongst the other candidates.
Do I even need a cover letter?
Use the company name whenever it is relevant. Keep in mind when writing a personalized cover letter that it should still be professional. Use a professional email address on Gmail, rather than an address that reflects some personal trait or preference. Study the job application, research the company, and write a personalized cover letter that sells you as the best person for the job.
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How to write a cover letter that lands you an interview
I was inspired to take up a major in rocketry after watching an Acme rocket launch, so I was very excited to see a position open up at Acme! The role of Marketing Manager at [company] will have no doubt attracted a barrage of resumes. Thanks for taking the time to review my application. I look forward to hearing back soon and am excited to discuss how we can work together.
I look forward to any opportunity to discuss the position and what I can do for your company. Thank you for your time in reviewing my resume. Best, Handwritten signature Joe Bloggs. When writing a cover letter, there are two key objectives: make yourself compelling and show you understand the role and company: Show that this role is a great fit for your career — Hiring you needs to be a win-win situation. This can only happen if you know what you are seeking and the company can offer that. Make sure you understand both and they match up. Don't just tell your story, demonstrate it — Just claiming to be a great candidate doesn't mean much.
Instead, show that you are a great candidate based on facts from your past. Build a story — Facts alone don't compel somebody to be interested in you. Tell a story about who you are, what you are seeking and why this job connects the two in a way that is memorable and engaging. A, Associate Prof. Frank Grossman, Resume Expert.