Why Cover Letter? What to write in it?

If your resume is a fact sheet with your skills, experience and education, your cover letter is the salesman that’s going to sell your profile to your employer.

Many-a-times your cover letter could be the deciding factor of whether you would be called for an interview or not if you hold relevant skills for the position.

But how do we write a cover letter? Let’s start with how not to!

Most times people try to have a default cover letter re-summarizing their resume in their cover letter talking again about their experience and education.

Few others try to add personality traits describing how honest and hard-working they are.

Now technically both of the above formats are not the best way to sell your profile because former just repeats your resume and latter talks about personality traits that cannot be validated.

The goal of the cover letter is to sell your profile as the best profile in the context of the job you’re applying.

So the best strategy of how to write a cover letter should be thought like a sales strategy. Ideal cover letter should:

1) Somehow connect with the hiring manager

2) Show you are skilled

3) Prove your interest

Lets look at how you can do that.

1) Connecting with the Hiring Manager — by empathizing the importance of the role

One of the best ways to connect with the Hiring Manager is to empathize with the recruitment and position. So, express your understanding of how critical the position is for the company and how important this recruitment is for the hiring manager.

For example, if you’re applying for a sales position, you can say something like:

“this is an extremely interesting product you’ve developed and the market potential is promising. So I totally understand how critical and important the “sales” role would be at this point.”

Note: Try to address the hiring manager/ recruiter by name if you could find the name. The more personalized you make your cover letter look, better results it would fetch.

2) Demonstrate your skill — By listing priorities of the position

Demonstrating skills in your cover letter is tricky but can be a great differentiator if you could do it. Now this is where we think repeating our experiences or education from resume could be helpful but NO, there’s a better way to do it and here’s how.

Try to explain the priorities of the position that only “experts”/ “skilled” people can say.

For example, if you’re applying for a “head of sales” position in a startup and if you say in your cover letter,

I believe the first priorities for us in this role are:

(i) Setting up the sales funnel from leads to closing

(ii) Find the right CRM tool that help us track the sales growth

(iii) etc…

This validates your skills and experience more than anything. Because only skilled people would be able to express priorities of the role.

3) Prove your interest — not just for the position but for the whole company and vision

Every role is a gateway to join a team, to join a company, participate in its grand vision. So your understanding of the whole perspective is a great differentiator for your cover letter. Read a bit more about their team, product and vision and try to express your understanding of the whole picture.

So ideal template for cover letter can be something like this:

[ Open by talking about the role, its criticality and importance for the hiring manager]

Please note: Its always interesting to start talking about the company than to start with talking about you.

[Express your skills by drafting the priorities or first course of actions that you would do if you were given the chance]

[Express your understanding about the whole vision of the company and how you foresee where you fit]

[Finally call for action — Request the hiring manger for a 15 minute phone call and give your email and phone number and say, the hiring manager can call between 09 00H and 17 00H or whatever time of the day you’re available for the call]

Please note: the goal of the cover letter is not to get a job but to book an interview. So always be focused on getting a phone call or face-to-face meeting.

That is it! Keep it short, simple and focused on the company and the value you’re about to add for it.

Finally, if you want to talk more about working with some of the coolest tech startups of Stockholm reach out to us.

Raman Ramalingam, Head of Talent at Sting, raman.ramalingam@sting.co or
 Andreas Wennberg, Talent Manager at Sting, andreas.wennberg@sting.co

Like what you read? Give Sting a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.