Your cover letter is a gateway that the reviewer opens up before entering into your resume. It is an important piece of the application because it introduces YOU to potential employers. Therefore it must highlight a major accomplishment as well as experience and skills that came as a result of it. Think of a cover letter as a mini story and you as a story teller–you must capture the reader’s attention with a strong first sentence and hold them until they get to your name at the bottom of the page. You must showcase the best you, why you should be hired and set the reader up with your impressive resume!
You might be thinking: why should I bother with a coverletter? Well, think about it: you may be writing too much in your resume, however some accomplishments haven’t been highlighted. That’s where the cover letter comes in–it gives you an amazing opportunity to tell your story about a project or effort that will reflect positively on your skills, talent and experience. Essentially WHY you need to be hired.
Becoming a Story-teller
Have you ever read a great novel? Do you remember what made it so good? Perhaps the story was engrossing or the characters felt real and engaging! Now think about how those hallmarks of a good story can be applied to your cover letter.
It is about telling a story….
Think about writers like Stephen King or John Grisham–they aren’t simply novelists but very popular story tellers of our time and for good reason. They make us believe in their stories and characters. Your cover letter must engage the reader–in a few paragraphs it must weave a simple and detailed story about how you built value for a company or organization you have worked for (maybe an exceptional class project if you don’t have any work experience yet.)
Use keywords related to your industry/job description, as well as strong defining words that add another layer to your story–leadership, strength, value, achieved, created or managed. Formulate a cover letter that makes the hiring manager flip into your resume with a desire to learn more about you and how you can help them succeed on their team!
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