What’s the secret to writing a kick-butt resume cover letter?
Today’s cover letter demonstrates how your experience and talents BENEFIT the hiring manager and the company. It’s about showing – using facts, figures, and anecdotes – how you help solve a problem.
It’s a subtle mind-shift that yields a compelling, kick-butt resume cover letter.
Today’s cover letter is a sales letter. It’s designed to hook the reader’s attention, quickly list the key benefits of talking to you, and then ends with an ASK: the request to talk more in person.
This kind of letter is not any harder to write. But it does take a new way of thinking – about you, and how your skills and experience benefit the company.
No more do you:
- Re-state your resume.
- Talk about how your skills fit the job description.
- Use stodgy, overly polite, ho-hum language to say, “Look at my resume.”
That’s the old way of writing a letter. It’s not compelling. It’s not memorable. And it likely won’t yield a get-to-know-you phone call, let alone a face-to-face interview.
Why should you use my approach?
I take your job search very seriously. As a writer-for-hire, I am always looking for my next job. I know how tight the job market is, how alarming it is to ride the economic edge, and how the constant strain of looking for work drains the spirit.
My process – writing a cover letter like a sales letter – works for me. That’s why I decided to share it with you. But I am a marketing expert, not an HR pro or a career coach. So I asked those professionals to evaluate my ideas. Their response? Mine is an effective technique that will snag the reader’s attention and deliver your maximum impact.
Here’s what you’ll learn in the following sections:
How to organize your thoughts and pick a key message: We’ll talk about how to match the job description to your experience, and how to organize the letter so that it showcases your top skills, plus demonstrates how you benefit the company.
Next, I’ll go over the 5 Must-Have’s every letter should have. We’ll talk about why you need a headline, how to write a good one, and how powerful word choice will set you apart from other job seekers.
After that, you’ll learn how to resonate with a recruiter: Follow my tips and tricks and your words will connect you with someone you’ve never met before.
Finally, you’ll see examples: Real-life, real-world, really-sent cover letters that my clients wrote after following my process. My before, during, and after examples clearly show how a letter moves from ho-hum to kick-butt.
The battle of parity
If you’re so one-of-a-kind, how come there are dozens of qualified applicants
for every job?
Think of it from HR’s perspective: Naturally they want top talent, so they write a job description that targets a particular demographic group. In effect they are saying:
If you have this
- Many years of experience
- Kind of practical knowledge…then you are invited to apply for this job.
During an economic boom, the pool of desirable applicants might be relatively small. But with a down economy, massive layoffs, delayed retirements, new college graduates, and people striving for jobs above or below their skill-set, the pool of applicants becomes bloated.
That’s good news for HR, bad news for you.
Think of it this way: If you and 50 others apply for a job, you are all at parity. Your basic skills and experience match the job description. On the surface, you’re all the same. You’re not regarded as an individual, because you haven’t had the opportunity to distinguish yourself as one.
You need to get noticed – you need to demonstrate how your intellect, ingenuity, and passion help solve a problem…in a way that no one else can. Even if you are at parity with 25, 50, or 75 other people, you are still unique. How you approach a challenge, solve a problem, how you explore options, make decisions, invest your creative energy, are all part of being Brand YOU.
Whether you are a CPA or an engineer, a program manager or an IT professional, your cover letter is how you shift HR’s perception of you from ordinary to extraordinary. It’s how you bust out of the parity bucket and present your must-hire-me credentials.