Before you even get that phone call, get a face-to-face interview, or have an opportunity to get verbal about where you’re headed in your career, you’ve got to present yourself on paper. And before a prospective employer even looks at your resume, you’ve got to wow them with a cover letter.

Cover letters have such potential for being bland. You write “Dear Mr. Recruiter” or “Dear Ms. HR Director” and go on to meticulously lay out what you did in your last job, stating that you’d be the perfect fit for their current opening.

This is such a lost opportunity for you, the job applicant. This is your shot to show who you are. Recruiters are no longer simply interested in the numbers. They want to know about you. They want to know how you’ll do with culture fit.

Wow Them With You!

While telling personal stories or intimate details about you previously has been a no-no, that’s no longer the case. Companies want to know who you are. Sure, you can do the job, but what kind of person are you? What fuels your passion? What’s your purpose? You don’t have to write a tell-all exposé, but open up about yourself as an individual and what makes you relevant to their open position.

Get Off the Paper

Your cover letter doesn’t have to be flat. Think about the position to which you’re applying. Is it something creative? Instead of typing “To Whom It May Concern,” edit together a video about your qualifications. Or, use a cover letter layout that highlights your graphic design abilities instead of a standard letter format. Be careful with being too over the top, though — there’s a difference in highlighting yourself and trying too hard to get noticed.

Use Your Network

Many people are hesitant to name-drop in a cover letter. Like anything else, done with tact and intention, letting a prospective employer know that you’re connected to someone important to the company or know resources who could be valuable to your position and the growth of the company’s initiatives is completely acceptable.

What have you found to be successful tactics for getting your cover letters noticed? Comment below or tweet us at @mscareergirl.

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