Although cover letters aren’t always necessary, some companies still ask for them. If you’re applying to a job that asks for a cover letter or you just want to set your resume apart with an extra added flare, here are four things you need to do to write the most effective and engaging cover letter.
1. Create a Story Using Your Bullet Points: A cover letter is a great opportunity to make some of the key bullet points from your resume really pop and come to life. You’ve probably kept things extremely short and sweet on your resume but, if there are a few accomplishments or skills you want emphasize, use them to create the story you’re telling in your cover letter.
2. Focus on Your Skills: While it can be nice to mention how excited you are for the opportunity to work at this specific company and why, your cover letter should mostly focus on you. More to the point, your cover letter should focus on your skills and accomplishments. While you don’t want to parrot your resume—as that makes your cover letter fairly redundant—you should avoid the temptation to focus the meat of your cover letter on your excitement for the opportunity.
3. Add an Anecdote: Anecdotes are a great way to show and not tell, which is the key to effective storytelling and writing a compelling, fun to read cover letter. If you have an anecdote that relates to your experience, skills, lessons you’ve learned, or your specific accomplishments this can really help drive home how great of a candidate you are for this position while engaging your reader and showing a bit more personality than you can on a traditional resume.
4. Brevity is Best: Going into great detail about all of your skills might seem like a great idea for you, but lengthy cover letters are often ignored. Write a version of your cover letter that contains all of the key points you want to emphasize plus a bit of your personal flare and an anecdote or two. Then, take the time to edit it down! Have others read it to see where you might have been repetitive or what they think can be cut. Going beyond a page or writing dense paragraphs may discourage employers from actually reading your cover letter. Get your points and personality across but remember that brevity is best!
Want to write the most effective and engaging cover letter anyone has ever seen? It’s not impossible! Just follow the aforementioned 4 steps and you’ll have an exciting, effective, engaging, and excellent cover letter.