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How To Make A Cover Letter: 3 Golden Rules
When it comes to landing a first-round interview, your resume might be more important than a cover letter in all ways but one. A good cover letter evokes emotion in the reader, something that even the best resume is not capable of doing.
In this blog, I am going to show you the three key things that are to be done (Hook, Purpose, Format) in a cover letter that can ultimately land you multiple job offers in management consulting firms and investment banks. Make sure to read till the end for a unique cover letter formatting tip that you have never heard of before.
In order to understand how to make a cover letter for a job application, you might first be wondering whether or not this is even necessary. The answer is always going to be the same:
A good one won’t guarantee you the job,
But a bad one will ensure you don’t even get the first-round interview.
Rule #1: The Hook
The first step is to hook the reader by mentioning a connection. If you do this right, you will get them to keep reading past the first paragraph and choose why you should have this position over the other applicants.
Let us consider the following application. Here, in this sentence, there are three things that are being done. First, the reader is hooked by mentioning a common perception followed by a contradiction.
Then, this is immediately followed by a contradiction. Lastly, it is shown very proactively that the application has been actively attending career fairs. The application makes it clear that there is something about EY that stands out to her. Does this not make you a tiny bit curious as to what that is?
In order for you to replicate what has been done here, with the cover letter hook, there is no way around doing some actual research.
Tip 1: Network and Ask Targeted Questions
Speak to a minimum of three industry professionals and ask them targeted questions designed to provide you with specific insight into that role and industry. You prompt the professional to tell you concrete examples that you can then use in your cover letter.
Tip 2: Use G2 & Capterra
If you are planning to apply for roles where a software product is involved, such as Google ads, Facebook ads, office 365, AWS, or Salesforce, you will want to go to a website such as g2 to get a first-hand look at customer testimonials and reviews since this will help you get a better understanding of the product in a very short amount of time.
Tip 3: Mention Something Relatable
It is worth remembering that the content you mention needs to be relatable to the recruiter/hiring manager. For example, if you are applying at Apple, it is probably a good idea not to pitch them the next iPhone. Instead, bring up their emphasis on privacy and how that is impacting the advertising industry.
The less qualified you are for a position, the more important is the opening paragraph. You need to convince the hiring manager that your motivation, energy, and willingness to learn will make you a stronger candidate that someone more experienced who fails to be more interesting in their cover letter.
There has been so much emphasis on this part because if you do not get this right, then none of the rest really matters. They are not going to keep reading.
Rule #2: Be purposeful about what you include
Another important step in how to make a cover letter is being purposeful about the information you include. Each paragraph, or rather each sentence, should have a reason for being there. In this cover letter (PICTURE) there are no wasted words. The first paragraph hooks the reader, and the second paragraph expands on that.
Often, candidates start their cover letters along the lines of ‘Hi, my name is Moez, I work at XYZ company and I’m applying for this position. This portion should be skipped because the online application already tells the recruit this. So the focus of the cover letter lay on why the applicant should be considered for the first round interview.
In the third and fourth, the applicant highlights the relevant achievements that tie into the responsibilities of that role. For example,
The applicant could have brought up leadership skills, how amazing they are at PowerPoint, or how strong their background in data analytics is. But they know to focus on the most important factors that the recruiter for this role.:
- Deal size
- Project Management Skills
The last paragraph can be a bit more generic. While normally you end the cover letter by thanking the reader for his/her time and reinforce the strong desire for reinforcing your interest in the role.
Rule #3: Use A Single Template
The third step in how to make a cover letter is to essentially use a simple template and pay attention to white space. Take a look at the following two cover letters. Which one of the two looks better?
The second one does, especially if the person has managed to put together the information in a structured and concise way.
If you take a look at the name and address section, you will notice that they are in a separate column, meaning that you do not have too much white space. Colored accents add a fair bit of personality to the cover letter as well while retaining the overall professional look and feel.
Another point to note is that by including a relevant job title below your name, you put yourself in a favorable position since your cover letter is usually scanned by robots when you upload it, and then they can look for these keywords.
Finally, we have reached the point in this blog where I share with you the BIGGEST power tip on how to make a cover letter. You might notice that the first letter in the top header is a size or two larger than the rest. This is by design.
Just select the letters after the first one and take it down a size or two. This will produce a custom, yet completely professional-looking outlook to your result. In order to download this exact template, click here.
After reading this , the recruiter will come to the realization that you are witty, driven, and have the relevant skillset. All of this means that a first-round interview is warranted.
Maximizing Your Job Search Success with a Standout Cover Letter
By following these three golden rules, you can craft a compelling and effective cover letter that showcases your skills and qualifications. Tailor your cover letter to your application and keep it concise and professional.
By putting in the effort to create a strong cover letter, you can increase your chances of standing out from other applicants and landing the job of your dreams.