Thinking Of Your Cover Letter As A Sales Letter
Most people write boring cover letters. Which is unfortunate, considering cover letters make for one of the most important ways to make a good first impression on a potential employer.
Want to write better cover letters? First, stop thinking of it as “cover letter.” That makes it sound so inconsequential , like its only job is to serve as a dressing for the main course inside.
Instead, start thinking of your cover letter as a persuasive “sales letter.” Rather than selling a product or service, though, you’re selling your value to a potential employer, convincing them that you’re the right fit for the position.
A few tips to improve your cover letters:
- Use your opening line to grab attention. While feature writers will have a whole host of options for this, the best default for cover letters is going the question route, as it’s neither loud nor controversial. A simple question like, “Are you looking to hire someone with both the technical skills and the intangibles needed for this job?” should do the trick?
- Personalize it. Tailor the letter so that you refer to the company’s concerns in them, rather than sticking to generic all-encompassing information.
- Don’t tell them who you are, tell them what you’ve done. Cover letters work best when they’re short and impactful. Detailing your qualifications won’t achieve that. Instead, give them one or two of your best accomplishments, such as “I implemented a system that improved project turnaround rate by 20%” or “My actions saved the company an estimated $20,000 in lost revenue.”
- Tease them with your closing line. All sales marketers do this, throwing in a “P.S.” at the end with an attractive come-on line. You can do that for your cover letter, too, just don’t make it sound shady. A line like, “If you do book me for a meeting, I have an idea for improving your current marketing materials that could reach you an additional 200,000 people without any extra cost” can pique curiosity and guarantee a call back.