The trick is to personalize it.
I’m not talking about using the person’s name instead of “dear hiring manager”, I mean really personalize it.
If you really want to stand out, you need to do your homework, and find out exactly what the company you’re applying for is all about.
Once you understand the culture, the values, and what they might be looking for in a person, you can start crafting your cover letter.
First, a quick reminder to everyone that you must, no excuses, include a cover letter with your application. This seems so obvious that I shouldn’t need to write this, but I can’t tell you how many applications I receive with no cover letter.
Also, here’s a nice little talk between Jeff and I, discussing cover letters:
Here’s a personal rule I follow: If there’s no cover letter, I automatically delete the email, I don’t even care to see if you’re the most amazing candidate with the most amazing resume, if you were too lazy to write a cover letter, then I’m too lazy to read your resume.
What this means, is that you need to apply for less jobs, but really spend the time looking into the job you want. Now, having been a job seeker many times before, I know it’s so much easier to just click apply non-stop (especially since some job sites have a “quick apply” button), but trust me, that’s the wrong approach.
Or what I’ll say to that, is do that only for the jobs that you don’t care too much about. The jobs you actually want, spend some time on their website, look them up on Facebook, look them up on Twitter, Linkedin, as many sites like that as you can.
Google the company and go through the first 2 pages of results, and also search for terms like “companyname reviews” or “companyname scam” or something to see if they have a bad reputation. You might not want to work for them after finding out there’s a class-action lawsuit pending.
Let me give you some tips on writing a good cover letter, then I’ll show you an example of the cover letter I used to get this job.
1. Keep It Short
Remember, this is a cover letter, not an essay.
Hiring managers receive hundreds of these letters, they don’t have time to read your beautiful piece on why you’re so amazing.
Take the time to edit your cover letter, shorten each sentence, and cut out all the nonsense. Only include what’s actually important.
2. Keep It Casual
NO buzzwords! Seriously, this is a huge mistake people make.
Also, no need to speak like you’re in Game of Thrones. Write as if you were talking to a friend, keep it casual and friendly. It will make the letter seem more personalized.
For example, instead of writing something like “cordially yours” at the end, write something like “let me know your thoughts, thanks!” or “looking forward to hearing from you soon!”
3. List RELEVANT Skills
The key word there is relevant.
No need to say that you’re “ambitious”, or a “quick-learner”. These days, everyone says that, and it’s kind of played out. This goes back to doing research on the company before applying.
For example, our core values have a real emphasis on growth and passion. Officevibe is a company that wants to help employees be happier and healthier at work. If I was applying here, you can be sure that I would use both of those words in my cover letter.
Something along the lines of “I’m passionate about company culture, and I think every employee deserves to be happy and healthy at work. I’ve been taking classes online about how to be happier, and I could help spread what I’m learning to all of the Officevibe users”.
If I read that, I’d hire that person on the spot.
4. Don’t Hide
The truth is, if they’re going to even consider bringing you in for an interview, they’re going to check you out on Facebook, Linkedin, etc…at least they’ll Google you, and see if you have any red flags.
Why don’t you show initiative, and give them links to your profiles, and offer them to check them out.
That’s what I did.
Here’s the actual cover letter that I used when I applied to Officevibe. Feel free to copy it and use it as a template to create your own:
Hello Dan,Thanks for giving me your email address.
Out of the 3 skills you’ve mentioned I’d say I’m most comfortable with content generation. I love the idea of growth hacking, but if I’m being honest with myself, I have no experience in that so I’m sure you could find someone better for that role.
Either way, let me tell you a bit more about myself, and attach my CV, just in case anything comes up in the future or you think you might find a good place for me.
I’m very passionate about culture, and team building. I really believe in working smarter, not harder, and my favorite book is ReWork by Jason Fried (founder of 37Signals).
My favourite company is Hubspot. I love what they do, what they stand for, and what their culture seems to be like.
I’m very into reading about technology and startups, and read Techcrunch, Business Insider, and Hacker News daily.
I have solid experience in online marketing, and have my certification from Google Adwords.
I also am familiar with using Salesforce, Basecamp, Zendesk, and JIRA.
Attached you’ll find my resume, and below you’ll see links to some of my online profiles
My website http://www.jacobshriar.com