Many jobseekers have an informative and condensed summary of their work and accomplishments contained within their resumes. While that is a great start, almost all job openings will also require a cover letter as a (hugely important) part of the application process.
While looking for a job, it is difficult but necessary to pen a unique cover letter for each individual job description you encounter. After all, this is the first time a hiring manager is going to hear “your voice”. It is important to stand out and make it count.
Every job post gives cues for you to follow when crafting your unique cover letter. The following are four such examples, which will help you hack a better cover letter in your next job search.
Cover Letter Tone
The tone of the job description will be the first indication of how to reply. Many job descriptions will indicate their tone in the title of the post itself. Here is one we came across recently that doesn’t stop at simply stating “Account Manager Needed.”
Instead, they infused the title with character and a little bit of excitement. There’s even an exclamation point in the title!
Bring Your Customer Service and Strong Admin Skills to Our Office!
That is just the beginning. With a few sentences, this writer demonstrates company culture, priorities and standards.
“We're not just another business on the block and a storefront for walk-ins: we know really know our customers, and pride ourselves for having been there for them for years and years. We're reliable, trustworthy, dependable, and always have our customers first and foremost in our minds.”
The tone of this particular job post paints a picture of a specific company culture. This is a company that truly regards itself as part of a real community.
In this case, a smart candidate will respond specifically to the importance of customer service and community.
Always read these company descriptions thoroughly and respond thoughtfully.
This is a surefire way to show your creativity, flexibility, and your cultural fit within the company.
Pay attention to the relevant experience they require. A good hack is to address each bulletpoint listed with an example of your relevant experience.
Again, let’s go back to the job post:
Our Ideal Candidate:
- Has 3+ years experience providing customer service or account management to insurance clients
- Has a current P&C license and experience in personal lines insurance
- Has a track record of solid organizational and management skills
- Sees account management as building relationships over time
Bonus Points For:
- Previous experience working with the company
- Substantial experience working in personal lines
- Tech savvy including experience/interest utilizing social media
- Bilingual proficiency
Consider using your own bullet points to correspond with theirs; a giant block of text is no fun for anyone to read.
The inclusion of bonus points is also a great thing to address. Having these “bonus features” will help a candidate to stand out from other applicants.
PRO TIP: In the subject of your reply email, consider titling it “Bilingual Account Manager Looking To Join Your Awesome Team!”
This is also a good place to hack out any extraneous information. Sure, the backpacking trip across Europe may have built your character, but if it has nothing to do with the description at hand, cut it out. You can always save these extras for the interview later on.
Hone in on Keywords
In a job hunt, it is sometimes good to take a page out of a marketer’s book. After all, you are marketing yourself to prospective hiring managers.
Decide what keywords align closely with the job you seek.
For example, a designer might want to highlight proficiencies within certain design software like Photoshop and Illustrator. These keywords should be very easy to pinpoint if you are searching for a specific position.
Unsure of the right keywords to target? Check out the same job at other companies. Note the similarities between the job descriptions and go from there.
Just as resumes are sometimes boring, cover letters can be super draining to read, too.
However, if you put these four tips into action, a hiring manager is sure to notice that you not only read the job description, but that you paid close attention and addressed it thoroughly and creatively.
“Attention to detail” is listed as a job requirement at many companies for a specific reason. Let your cover letter be the first place to showcase that skill.