Cover Letters are the Worst: Tips to Make it Better
By: Morgan Kloby
Cover letters- no one likes them, but everyone has to do them.
For me, it’s the thing I dread the most when applying for jobs. You have to write it and then continuously rewrite and edit it for each job. When I’m applying for jobs, I have a “go big or go home” motto. I apply anywhere and everywhere. Which means, I’m rewriting my cover letter repeatedly while running it through every version of spell and grammar check I can find. If you’re like me, I didn’t have a clue where to start. Which made it even more difficult to write one. I was left staring at a blank word document asking myself how I’m supposed to bear who I am and appeal to emotion but not too much. Then I’m expected to master the “humblebrag” - shameless self-promotion without being too proud with a big ego.
Hopefully, these tips make it a little less dreadful writing covers letters for you as it did for me.
Get Creative. Part of the reason writing a cover letter is awful is because it’s boring. If you’re bored writing it than why wouldn’t someone be bored reading it? Make sure to put your personality behind the words. If you’re going for a more local artsy job instead of corporate one, show just how unique and artsy you are.
Writing too Much. Keep your cover letters to a single page. Yes, I know you have accomplished a lot from your first step steps walking to now. It’s expected. Only pull out the life events and challenges, job responsibilities, and/or sports background that are relevant. Think about how you experiencing those things have made you a better asset to their company than someone else.
Resume Duplicate. Don’t create a cover letter where all you did was take your resume and put it into full-length sentences. Use your cover letter to show what your resume can’t. Resumes don’t pick up on human aspects and the real-world things you learned from previous work experience. Resumes don’t always show how skills transfer but cover letters can.
Be an Asset. What sets you apart that makes you the better choice? Your past skills are great to highlight, but what do they mean to this company? I can’t say it enough. Connect your skills to the company. For example, “based on my hands-on experience running email campaigns, I am able to jump in and immediately start making contributions to your marketing team.” Highlight how you will improve and grow the company by joining the team.
The Essentials Rundown. Every cover letter needs a few things. Make sure to put your contact information (with a professional email) at the top along with your name. Find out who you’re sending it to rather than a “to whom it may concern” or “to the hiring manager.” Next, introduce yourself. Mention what job you are applying for, and then match your skills and experience to it. Discuss why you’re the right fit. Finish with a call to action- requesting an interview or meet and greet. Finally, proofread, proofread, proofread.