When you’re approaching a company for employment, your cover letter is your opportunity to make a great first impression. These tips will guarantee that you get the attention you deserve.
Provide concrete examples of your qualifications for the job. By “concrete,” I mean “specific,” unless the job involves actual concrete, in which case I mean “concrete.”
Be brief and to the point. Cover letters longer than one page are suitable only for direct mail solicitation positions. For those, cover letters should be no shorter than five pages, with multiple inserts, sent to the hiring manager several times a week in differently colored envelopes to test open rates.
Specify the position for which you are applying. “Whatever you’ve got” is not specific enough.
Mention where you learned about the position. This is especially important for companies with many openings. It would be awfully embarrassing to be interviewed for a position with slightly different requirements!
Use LinkedIn and other websites to research the hiring manager and personalize your greeting. For example, “What up, Joe! How’s that hawt wife of yours?” would be suitable only if you can verify that his wife is indeed “hawt.”
If you have been referred by someone known to the hiring manager, mention his or her name. Be careful, though, because you don’t want to seen as a name-dropper.
Here’s an example of name-dropping:
Last night, at LeBron’s house, Kim Kardashian said I would be perfect for this job. Philip Roth and that little girl from Beasts of the Southern Wild agreed.
Here’s an example of using references well:
Dear Dad, Mom said you need to give me a job.
Don’t go into details about why you’re looking for work or how long you have been looking. That’s what your blog is for.
If you include URLs to online portfolios or resumes, make sure you have created a custom, personalized URL. Instead of a random string of letters and numbers, use something like “LinkedIn.com/FunkyChunkyMonkey.”
Cast yourself in the best possible light. Use words like “awesome,” “rocking,” and “superstar” multiple times in your letter.
Consider hand delivering your cover letter. Almost no one does that, mainly because it’s creepy. If you go this route, consider taping your cover letter to a rocking box of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Consider sending me a box, too, as thanks for this awesome advice. Then you’ll be a superstar.
Use a professional-looking font. Comic Sans is not professional, unless you’re applying to every freaking business in my town. What is up with these people?
A little dab of perfume never hurts.