Let’s be honest: cover letters aren’t always read. That’s the reality. The hiring manager likely scoots right to your CV and checks out a few headlining points. If that whets their appetite, they may well come back to the cover letter in due course. However, that doesn’t mean that your cover letter is pointless. In fact, your cover letter is an opportunity to secure the hiring manager’s interest and ensure you stand out from the crowd.
The trick is to make your cover letter incredible. It needs to be disruptive, shaking up the hiring manager’s attention. It needs to offer an edge. So, how do you write a disruptive cover letter?
1. Tell a story
Stories are powerful. As humans, we love them and find them enticing. We live our lives by the stories we tell ourselves and those around us. Your first paragraph should launch right into a story about how you are connected to working for this company. Do you love their product? Have you had your eye on them in the media? Has their service impacted your life? What shows them that you’re connected to their mission?
By telling this story, you already give yourself the edge. You show the hiring manager that you’re passionate about working for them and that you’re already committed to the goals and values of the organisation. That’s incredibly powerful for a hiring manager who sifts through hundreds of generic and impersonal applications every day.
2. Trigger their excitement
Your second paragraph needs to spur them on to excitement. The way to do this is to pick something unique about yourself that demonstrates that you bring something different to the table. Don’t just pepper the cover letter with career highlights that they can find in the CV but instead show how you’re uniquely qualified.
If you’re feeling particularly clever, then you should blend this with information that you’ve garnered from the advert or job description. Blend your experience or unique skill set with what you already know they need.
3. Now showcase your best side
Having set the scene, your third paragraph is your opportunity to draw attention to the highlights that you really want the hiring manager to notice. Pick just a couple of examples from your CV that are unreservedly impressive. Don’t just copy and paste them but reword them and frame them in a direct way that shows their relevance for this employer and this role.
It’s really important to include numbers here. They have a power over words. So, use quantifiable examples to show your value more concretely.
4. Round it all up
Lastly, your final and goodbye paragraph should thank the hiring manager and redirect them to why you are the ideal candidate for the role. Leave them in no doubt that they will be missing out on an opportunity if they don’t find out more about you because you’ve created a personal connection that is too good to resist.
You only get one chance to make an excellent first impression. If you want yours to count, then take care to craft a cover letter that is disruptive and impactful and truly makes you stand in a class of your own.
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