“Focus,” said the master, “and the world will be yours…”
How To Write A Hot Cover Letter
In today’s fast-paced working environment, focus has become a four-letter word. In a world where “multitask,” “app,” and 140 character tweets are creating a sensation nation that lives on caffeine, energy drinks, and coconut water, most HR professionals and employers destroyed their ability to focus years ago.
“I can always be interrupted,” and “I regularly juggle 15 projects with no problem,” are the new words of wisdom. There isn’t any time to think and meditate deeply, and there probably isn’t time to read your cover letter. All marketing begins with audience and unless you are applying to be a yoga instructor, the likelihood is that your audience isn’t patient.
Would Your Cover Letter Retweet?
In this new ADD world, your cover letter must be able to get someone’s attention in tweet-like speed. The letter’s first few sentences needs to grab your reader. This is done predictably well using three different strategies:
- Combining unexpected metaphors (used above)
- Conveying an amazing new or original idea
For example, that first sentence might say, “I don’t want this job, I want yours.” Or “Six Sigma isn’t for sissies, it’s for singing scientists. I sing Opera in my spare time to keep my mind limber.” Or “Cracking Google Panda and Penguin was tons of fun; I simply applied the following algorithm…”
Bullet Points Are Better Than Butter
Once you have the reader’s attention, follow with a few filler sentences and then move on to bullet points succinctly describing why they should hire you, what you have done and what you want to do in the future. These might read something like:
- Team player, basketball, baseball, and especially soccer.
- Quick, agile thinker always willing to take on new tasks.
- Increased monthly ROI in my division by 20%.
- Developed 5 best-selling iPad apps over the last year.
- Looking to learn server-side maintenance while also bringing valuable new products to your company.
Cover Letter Format: Move It, Move It, More
So far the cover letter is brief and filled with verbs. Even the most overworked, stressed out HR professional has probably made it this far. From here the rest is smooth sailing. Take the five bullet points and expand each one into detailed amazing paragraphs. Attach a resume with all the pertinent details for reference. If your reader wants more information they should be able to find it somewhere in these short few pages.
The format above is very different from the introduction, middle, and final paragraph format of the traditional cover letter. Make sure to review the traditional format and even prepare a traditional cover as backup. The person in HR will ask for this if he/she believes the bosses will not appreciate a divergence from the norm. The goal is to get the letter read and secure the phone interview. A world of little time and attention demands a new approach that is short, succinct, and vibrant.
Fit The Cover Letter To You And The Audience
The above example is very relaxed. This is a tech cover letter written for an industry that specializes in couch naps and campuses. As an industry they are receptive to this type of approach especially if it is attached to a resume showing work experience at Apple computer and a degree from MIT.
Every industry is different. Whenever a tailored cover letter fails to land a phone interview make a follow up call to find out why. Use the information gathered from rejection to write a better letter for the next position.
Enjoy this article? You’ve got time for another! Check out these related articles:
- Quick Tip: Cover Letter Effectiveness Test
- 7 Cover Letter Mistakes You Make When Applying Via E-mail
- 5 Cover Letter Techniques = Spellbound Hiring Managers
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