Emotionally, it’s tough looking for a job. It’s even tougher not knowing where you belong, but one thing is certain, it’s fulfilling when you finish an amazing cover letter and click that submit button to what could be your final destination. Clap if you agree.
Day Four (today) was a difficult day for me. I lost about 24 hours due to allergies, but somehow I managed to pull it off. It’s 2:16 in the morning now. I sit, finishing the last remnants of an Oliva Melanio, Maduro Churchill and sipping the dregs of 12 single-malt Scotch.
Crafting the Perfect Cover Letter
The applied craftsmanship in writing an A+ cover letter for your dream job isn’t easy. It takes persistence, and pure gut-wrenching strength. Selling yourself with three, poignant, and precise paragraphs is something that schools should spend more time teaching because by the time you make it to the real world, you’re fucked. No one teaches you how to grind in the middle out the night while everyone else is sleeping. Pay attention little grasshoppers.
Most candidates go for the black and white cover letter, with some headings along the top and basic margins along the left and right side. Wrong. Don’t do that. Check out the example above. It’s from a service-provider on Fiverr.com named palmerresumes. They do a decent job at adding some color-blocks and formatting tricks that help break up the monotony of a boring cover letter and/or résumé.
Side Note: My English 101 College Professor instilled in me the correct way to write résumé, so I highly recommend you do the same. It’s not “resume”, it’s “résumé”.
The Opening Paragraph
Start with a story. Don’t start with the stereotypical entry of, “I recently learned that the Community Manager position is now available and I’d like to submit my application.” Listen, they know that already. The company doesn’t need for you to inform them that they’ve got an opening. Begin my reliving something from your past that’s relevant. Are you applying for a Community Engagement Manager? If so, commence with, “One of my favorite classes in college was Team Building. I thrived in learning how to work well with others, and learned how to let others led, when the time was right. We all have our strengths, and mine is being able to determine and encourage those that have a passion for specific roles in a community organization. Not all are developers, not all are marketers. But collectively, we are better as a unit.”
This, my friends, is how you begin your cover letter.
Of course it’s not all going to be the same for every job you apply for, but the general idea is to open with something memorable. Something intriguing.
Paragraph Number Two in a Cover Letter
There are a few different ways you can lead into the second paragraph of your cover letter:
- Introduce yourself and lead into your personhood with something like, “Hello, I’m Flakey McFlakerson and I’ve worked with non-profits for over five years…”
- Continue to build your digital storytelling and begin turning paragraph one into how it relates to your audience (i.e. the person reading your cover letter).
Can you guess which one I prefer? Option two. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. A lot of the nuances in cover-letter-writing comes from the sheer volume of practice that you’ll endure over the course of your professional life; however, some things are more obvious when you see others do it.
If you’re unsure, get someone to review and edit your cover letters. There’s many resources online, you just have to look for them.
Cover Letter Paragraph Three
The third and final paragraph of your cover letter should tie together your passion for the position, and your reason for even applying. And for the love of God, don’t write, “I’m really passionate about this position.” Do you know how many other people say the same thing? Millions. Stand out from the crowd and don’t be afraid to power it home with something like,
“Anonymous Company’s vision to rid the Earth of plastics in our oceans can only be described as noble, and brave. I want to take that journey with you, and save our planet, one plastic bottle at a time.”
They know you’re passionate. Everyone is. Be different and say something that they’ve never heard before. It will eventually pay off.
Don’t forget, mind your manners.
Remember to thank them for taking the time to actually read your cover letter. Showing gratitude may not get you the job, but it will get you your future job. I’ve known individuals that, after being turned down for a desired position, are hired for a separate position, within the same company. It pays to be nice and be thankful for the opportunities awarded to you.
You didn’t think that I would forget to tell you what job I applied for, did you? Good. I’m glad to see some trust developing between us.
Remember that post on Medium a few days ago when I outlined and categorized the different types of jobs and positions that I’m going to be applying for? OK, great. Now that we’re on the same page, you must know that today I applied for a Corporate Remote position focused around building a community for a huge code deployment company.
They’re big. It would be a dream to work for them. The only downside to a position like this would that I get to work from home in my underwear.
Just kidding, that would rock. :-)