3 tips to make your cover letter stand out

Writing a catchy cover letter is an art in itself.

At school I received training on writing letters. At the time, I am sure my teacher could not have imagined that Facebook updates, Linkedin job discussions and Twitter messaging would nearly take over letter writing….

Well almost…. becuase the letter still plays a vital part in the application process. In a lot of job adverts, employers ask you for an elaborate motivation piece which you must add in addition to your online application or email. How do you write a convincing application letter?

Start by researching the sector, the company and the role you are applying for. Just browsing the company website is not enough. Make sure you know the market and that you have found relevant professionals via LinkedIn. Can you ask someone in your network to introduce you to such a person? You demonstrate a genuine interest when you have actively researched your market! Besides that you’ll gather some good information that you can incorporate in the 1st paragraph of your letter.

Write from the needs of the reader, the HR manager or line manager, in other words your ‘buyer’. What is the reader looking for? Instead of ‘I am looking for a dynamic role as an account manager’ you can say something along the lines of  ‘within your organisation fit account managers that are dynamic…’ In the 2nd and 3rd paragraph you emphasise your skills and knowledge that are relevant for the company and the function. This way you’ll illustrate that you can well meet the demands of the role.

Close with a catchy paragraph that summarises the main message of the letter and has a call to action! This shows motivation and professionalism that you are not simply going to wait next to the phone, but you are ready for the next step – a personal meeting. Such an action orientated sentence can be something along the lines of: ‘I’ll call you next week Tuesday to ensure this letter has received you well’ or ‘I look forward to elaborate on my motivation in a personal meeting.’

This article has been written by Via Career Coaching in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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