Second to waiting to hear back from employers cover letters were just about the WORST part of the job hunt for me! Aghhh!!
(Here is a song to listen to if you’re in that situation)
1. It feels forced & unnatural — who actually talks like this?!
2. If you’re a perfectionist/grammar fanatic, you’re in for at LEAST an hour per cover letter since each has to be unique and tailored to each company.
3. Whoever reads it will probably only glance through it for 30 seconds.
So if you are frustrated that you have to write cover letters, you are not alone. But they are necessary, so I am here to walk you through the process, with an added bonus!!
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, all of my tips for writing interview-winning cover letters double as tips for finding that special someone! ;)
 GRAB THEIR ATTENTION, AND HOLD ON TO IT!:
You’re at a get together in a room choc full of people. Some of them are seemingly more attractive than you! How will you ever get that cutie to dig you?!
Likewise, your cover letter will be sitting in a stack or inbox with at least 100 more from other applicants, many of which may appear more qualified than you!
And the common question here is, “how do I get noticed??“
- The key in both cases is to start with a strong opening. What does this consist of? Content and Impact. And it starts with you.
Ask yourself this question:
“What are my attributes that I am most confident about?”
If you’re at that party, these may range from something as small as your haircut, to your ability to make others laugh or even an intriguing hobby. If you’re on the job hunt, this should range from your working style (detail-oriented, fast learner, results-oriented, etc.) to your skilled abilities (software expertise, clerical work, customer service, etc.)
After you answer this question, create a list, write it down and focus on it! Keep it on your mind and be ready to flaunt it!
When presenting yourself in a cover letter or in a social setting, your strong opening should consist of that Confident Content!
Here is the opening of my actual cover letter I wrote that landed me my current job:
I am writing to express my interest in supporting the ——————– as a ———— as listed on npworks.org.
“I am a dedicated, meticulous, and compassionate worker with three years of experience in customer service and organizational administration. I am very comfortable in communicating with diverse groups of people, empowering
individuals with the resources and knowledge to address their needs.”
As you can see, I don’t merely list off my past job experiences (that’s what your resume is for!), but I focus on the best of my working style and skills. The viewer can get an engaging snapshot of who I am in just two sentences and will be excited to continue reading.
If I were on the prowl (which, I’m not! Don’t worry, sweetheart if you actually read this! <3), this is a scenario I would create in a social situation:
Potential Romantic Interest: Hi, I’m _______, what’s your name? ;)”
Me: *strong handshake* “Hi! I’m Tiffany!” :D
PRI: So, what do you do?
Me: “I work in nonprofits. And I love cooking!! I may not look like it, but I LOVE to eat!”
As you can see, I stuck to that Confident Content! I am proud to be working in the nonprofit community, and I love food so much that I learned to cook it well. I also inserted a bit of humor.
Because these are your best attributes that you love and value about yourself, you won’t run out of things to talk about, you’ll be glowing with passion, and stand out from the crowd with your shining confidence!
NOTE: Just as I didn’t list all my specific work positions in the beginning of my resume, I didn’t talk outwardly about my hair or smile or any other physical attributes that I may have listed in my Confident Content. That would have be obnoxious.
Strong openings must be impressive, but also broad and general. Save the specific job positions to reference later in your cover letter, and keep your too-sexy-for-my-shirt celebrations in your head as an intrinsic source of confidence!
I really encourage you to focus on developing your strong openings with Confident Content and Impressive Impact. This post is very top-heavy because without GRABBING THEIR ATTENTION AND HOLDING ON, you’ve missed your chance on that job opportunity or to attract that special someone! You need that strong opening to be sure that they don’t move on to another candidate!
 KNOW WHAT THEY LIKE, BUT DON’T ACT DESPERATE
In my opinion, the best potential partners are friends of friends (proof: that’s how I found mine!)! If you share a mutual friend, it is not an accident. In fact, it happened for very specific reasons. You both value certain traits, are interested in certain topics/activities, and enjoy spending time with people of certain personality types!
So, after your confident and impressive introduction, a great topic to keep up the momentum of the conversation is mutual friends! Share stories about fun and interesting experiences you had with that common friend. It’s something you can bond over and could even lead to planning a future group outing — yet another opportunity to hang out and get to know each other!
Likewise, employers are more likely to continue reading through your cover letter if you name drop. In the body of your cover letter, be sure to mention any relevant organizations, concepts, projects, movements, academia, etc. that you connected with.For example, my current job has a lot to do with public health, so I included the following in my cover letter:
“I was particularly excited to see this position open as I am passionate about promoting public health for underserved communities. Through my coursework in Health Care – Social Issues and Sociocultural Anthropology, I studied about
the institutional and cultural barriers that lead to disheartening health disparities.”
You can also refer to related organizations at which you volunteered or interned and listed on your resume. (Note: it’s already on your resume, so only spend 2 sentences at most on “name dropping”).
But remember, don’t be a creeper. Do NOT Facebook stalk. ANYone! What’s your problem?!?!
No but really, get a general idea of the person/company you’re interested in. But don’t obsess over it! Even if you really like someone, do not quote any of their Facebook wall posts. Likewise, do not copy and paste anything from a company’s website. They will know. And think you’re a complete creep. So don’t.
 CHECK YOUR STYLE AND BE YOURSELF
In both situations, it’s important to appear well put-together but without appearing to be trying too hard.
For your cover letter, remember to spell check, proofread, and have others look over it (feel free to send yours to me for review at firstname.lastname@example.org!) to catch any grammar or typographical errors. Since you’re tailoring your cover letter to each company, it’s very easy to overlook places where you left the incorrect employer name, file name, etc. Also, getting a perspective from fresh eyes can help you see something you didn’t notice before. However, do not let someone else write your cover letter for you. They may create something wonderful, but if you get to the interview and speak nothing like the language cover letter, you will appear inconsistent and kind of shady!
Likewise, before you leave for a social event, do whatever getting-ready ritual it takes for you to feel at your best! And if you are planning to put yourself out there at a social event, don’t wear anything or style yourself in a way that requires maintenance throughout the night.
You should look great, but also not have to worry about looking in the mirror except for before you go out the door! That way, you can focus on your Confident Content, the person you’re talking to, and the connection you’re having. If you’re preoccupied about your tube top falling off or your gelled hair style falling down, people will notice a drop in your confidence level. What’s most important is being comfortable in your own style. Express your own personal style in a way that allows you to be yourself once you leave the house.
So remember, to GRAB THEIR ATTENTION & HOLD ON TO IT, KNOW WHAT THEY LIKE BUT DON’T ACT DESPERATE, & CHECK YOUR STYLE AND BE YOURSELF.
You have two weekends before Valentine’s Day, and many of you have a few months before entering the workforce. With these tips, you’ll be able to attract the employers and partners of your dreams!!
Dining at Tiffany’s