I find myself in too many debates with clients over the need for a cover letter. But checking with hiring managers and recruiters, they are welcomed and valued. So let’s discuss it again.

1. A cover letter is a valuable and persuasive tool in your job search.

2. Essentially, your job is to communicate your value within your cover letter without replicating the content in your resume.

It can be difficult to do for even the best of writers. So, how do you show the value you offer a potential employer without repeating yourself? Here are a few tips.

1. Keep It Concise

Avoid the tendency to get overly wordy. In fact, if you can keep your cover letter to 150 words or less, you’re doing GREAT. Write everything you’d like to say within the cover letter, check your word count, then go back and start deleting superfluous words.

2. Know What They Want

Know what they want and address it. Start your cover letter by hitting a vital pain point the employer has. Here’s a good model to follow:

Are you looking for a (insert: job title here) who can (insert: deliver something you know they really need here)

So for me, if I were writing this to my prospective clients, it would sound like this:

Dear Executive Job Seeker, (title of person I’m addressing)

Are you looking for a $100,000 – $1M+ executive-level position? (What my clients need)

3. Focus On What You Accomplish

Here’s the most critical part of showing how you add value; you must focus on what you accomplish, not on what you do. Write three short bullets; and by short I mean one line, no more. Additionally, the bullet points must contain financial or result statistics.  Here’s what this would look like if I were writing it to my target audience.

  • 99.6% interview-winning success rate in less than 60 days.
  • Job searches shortened from 9+ months to 3 months or less.
  • 50% secure interviews in less than two weeks.

These three bullets include numbers, percentages and time frames. These all communicate how I offer value to my clients. Model your cover letter the same way. Keep your bullets brief and focused on what you’ve accomplished for your prior employers. The key is to not get caught in the trap of writing about what you do every day.

Oh, and don’t forget to add a P.S. to your cover letter that tells the reader where they can find more information out about you! ( like your LinkedIn address or your website)

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