Tuesday, April 3, 2012

You: The Brand | Part Five - Cover Letters

Gentle readers, no one likes to write a cover letter. No one.

And here's why: It's hard. It's hard to get all that awesome about you squished into a couple of short paragraphs, all the while also saying how amazing the company you're reaching out to is.

As part of this series on branding yourself (you can read the first post here), your MatchGirl wants to take you back to basics. Sure it's great to have yourself up-to-date on every social network and it's amazing if you work in a creative industry and can make a website or resume that gets you some press or attention. But all that means little if you can't do the work and if you don't cover the basics.

Just like when you are re-building your resume (though, really, you should have done that by now), you need to be very specific in your cover letter. A one size fits all approach does not work here.

Some tips to get you going:

  1. Pull the key words out of the job description. These key words will become the basis for your letter.
  2. What are the main areas of expertise the job posting lists? How do these fit with what you've accomplished. Use the top ones to form the meat of your letter.
  3. What is the company up to? If the company name is on the posting, do a little legwork and find out what's great about the company - what you are interested in and think about how that applies to the job for which you're applying. 
  4. Keep it short. You're not writing a novel , or even an essay, here. Three or four short paragraphs will do it. You need to whet their appetite for finding out more about you.

Writing a killer cover takes time. And the time is worth it. The more you write, the more you tweak them to fit each different application, the easier they will come. And, as always, like anything in your job hunt, there is no shame in asking a pal in the industry to take a look at it for you. That's what friends are for!

What are some of your best cover letter tips?

1 comment:

  1. A cover letter is fundamental in applying for a job. It'll give the company an idea of what to expect from you and if you're worth hiring or not.