Let’s face it, cover letters are the awkward middle child of the job application world. They’re not quite a resume, but they’re not an interview either. They’re a limbo of self-promotion and professionalism, a balancing act between bragging and begging. In short, they can be daunting.
But fear not, fellow job seekers! I’m here to guide you through the treacherous terrain of cover letter writing. I’ve spent years stumbling through my own fair share of awkward self-introductions, and let me tell you, I’ve learned a thing or two (mostly by failing spectacularly). So, buckle up and prepare for a journey through cover letter hell and back.
Chapter 1: The Art of the Awkward Introduction
My first attempt at a cover letter was a masterpiece of cringe. It began with a generic “Dear Hiring Manager,” and quickly devolved into a rambling list of my skills and experiences. It was about as personal as a robot reciting the ingredients in a can of soup.
Then there was the time I tried to be creative. I wrote the entire letter as a poem, full of flowery language and metaphors that even Shakespeare would have found excessive. Needless to say, it didn’t land. I’m pretty sure it ended up in the “circular file.”
Chapter 2: Discovering the Power of the Personal Touch
It wasn’t until I started treating cover letters like a conversation with a real person that things started to click. I ditched the generic salutations and addressed my letters to the specific person hiring for the role. I replaced the bland descriptions of my skills with stories of how I used those skills to achieve tangible results. And most importantly, I injected my own personality.
Imagine you’re having coffee with someone you admire. What would you tell them about yourself? What are you passionate about? What are you good at? What are you curious about? This is the energy you want to capture in your cover letter.
Chapter 3: The Tools of the Trade
Of course, there are some technical aspects to consider as well. Here are a few handy tips to keep in mind:
- Keep it concise and to the point. Hiring managers don’t have time for novels. Aim for one page, maximum.
- Proofread, edit, then proofread again. Typos and grammatical errors scream “unprofessional.”
- Use keywords from the job description. This will help your letter get past the applicant tracking system (ATS).
- Highlight your achievements, not just your responsibilities. Don’t just tell them you were a “social media manager.” Tell them how you increased engagement by 20% through your engaging content strategy.
- Close with a strong call to action. Let the hiring manager know what you want them to do next, whether it’s scheduling an interview or visiting your portfolio.
Chapter 4: The Journey Continues
Remember, writing a resonant cover letter is a journey, not a destination. There will be bumps along the road, moments of self-doubt, and perhaps even the occasional face-plant into the “reject” pile. But with each attempt, you’ll learn and grow. You’ll discover what works and what doesn’t. You’ll refine your voice and develop your self-awareness.
So, go forth and conquer the cover letter beast! Embrace the awkwardness, inject your personality, and let your true potential shine through. And who knows, maybe someday you’ll be writing a blog post about your own cover letter journey, helping others avoid the pitfalls you overcame.
P.S. As a bonus, I’m including a template and some sample cover letter prompts to get you started. Happy writing!