Do you ever wonder if writing a cover letter is a complete waste of time?
Let's set one thing straight, writing a cover letter is completely necessary. It isn’t so much about formality or format. Instead, it’s about creating a great first impression with purpose and personality.
Essentially a cover letter is a little look into why you've come to send your resume. It's meant to be a little less formal and an opportunity for you to drop in a friendly hello.
These little babies will help you get that competitive edge and boost your chances of getting noticed amongst a plethora of other applicants. But here’s the thing, lean in a little closer and I’ll tell you a secret…
Cover letters these days come in many, many different disguises. Gone are the days where you are bound to the traditional sense of a cover letter, with rigid formatting and word limits. In fact, throw that entire notion out the door right here, right now. So, without further ado, let's dive into it!
THREE WAYS TO A NEW COVER LETTER
There’s no science in this peeps, I am 100% confident when I tell you this – the simpler the cover letter, the more human you will come across. Most times all you need to do is say a friendly hello with an email. That’s preeeeeetty much what a cover letter is aiming to do.
Most job ads will have an email address as a contact point. It's perfectly ok to use this as a chance to reach out to your future employers directly to help them get to know you a little better. Some of the best cover letters I’ve read (and I’ve read THOUSANDS) have been emailed.
Here’s an example of a fun and professional email cover note I received recently:
PERFECTION! Do you see how easy this is to read? It sounds friendly, inviting and a purposeful note full of personality. So go on, give it a try and I promise it'll make a fantastic impression.
Video your application
Lights, camera, action!
This isn’t one for the camera shy, but if you're not afraid to give it a go it is so much fun to make 😛 !
Video works really well if you’re not the best at writing formal stuff, but you engage well in person. Don’t get me wrong, you still need to be well written but it’s a great opportunity if your strengths are in stakeholder engagement and communicating verbally.
There are a few basic rules to follow before you begin:
- A video cover letter shouldn't be any longer than a minute to watch - keep it punchy and engaging (there's evidence to say you'll lose your audience after 60 seconds).
- Make sure you’re recording in great light and your sound is clear. No fancy equipment needed – just your trusty laptop or phone should do it.
- Plan out what you're going to say. I sound like a broken record, but you're aiming to convey your personality and purpose. To help you along, you can download a Cover Letter Worksheet I’ve prepared to help you on your way in creating an amazing video cover letter.
Use LinkedIn (the right way)
Get yourself a profile, and get using it! Regardless of your opinion, one thing is crystal clear- it is an extremely powerful platform to get you in front of the right people at your dream company. LinkedIn is a search engine full of employment information and leads. The last time I checked, LinkedIn had close to 268 MILLION users registered on their platform.
So, with all of this powerful data and information why aren't you using it better? By this, I don't mean spamming to every Google Employee with a video cover letter. I cannot stress enough how important it is to use LinkedIn the right way. My number one golden rule to create a deeper more effective network is to:
Craft a personalised message via InMail
This will send a direct message to an individual’s LinkedIn inbox. Most messages are also linked to an individual’s personal email account so it’s pretty safe to assume that your message will be getting noticed.
Whilst less formal than a traditional cover letter you want to make sure it’s still professional. Make sure you take extra time to write a note that sets a clear objective (purpose) but also gives your employers a sense of who you are (personality).
It’s a bold move to track down a particular person at your dream organisation but trust me, it’ll resonate really well with your future employers.
Here’s a recent InMail I received which just nailed it!
That’s a great note!
BTW, there’s absolutely no need to offer a coffee to everyone you connect with on LinkedIn, but if you’re genuinely interested to meet them in person just ask! Ending with a call to action is a powerful thing.
Now it’s your turn
I hope you have enjoyed reading about some fun + modern ways to mix it up a little when you’re applying for your dream job.
Before I leave you to complete the worksheet I’ve prepared, here are three final pointers to keep in mind...
- Don’t send out generic letters. Please peeps, if you’re going to take anything away from this article it’s this… PURPOSE + PERSONALITY = RESULTS
- Send a personalised message to direct connections on LinkedIn at your dream employer - be bold!
- Finally, my golden rule as always, check you speling and grammer! See what I did there?
In case you’ve missed it, here’s a little gift in a cover letter worksheet just for you (this is something I use to plan out cover letters I write for my clients).
So superstars, give it a go - be bold and own your messaging to be full of purpose and personality. Was this helpful? Let's stay in touch!
To keep reading - I'd suggest moving along to 'WRITE THE PERFECT RESUME'
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Author: Ruby Lee
Ruby Lee coaches and facilitates workshops for career minded individuals who want to go for their dream job. She leads an active social community on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. She's always up for a dirty coffee or two and will always, always take bribes when it's in units of almond croissants.