The art of the sale: How to sell yourself in your cover letter

Cover letters often have a bad reputation. Some people think they are an unnecessary repetition of your resume, while others dread how much research and time it can take to make a strong one.

However, cover letters help you make your best first impression and can help you stand out as an individual, rather than just another candidate.

Let us save you some time as we share six ways to create a cover letter that will get you interviews.

 

  1. Focus on the “why” not the “what”

Consider these two descriptions,

  • “I answered phone calls and directed them to right departments.”
  • “I maintained a strong and positive reputation of my company through immaculate customer service both in person and over the phone. Through positive interactions, I ensured customer retention and assisted in increasing customer referrals.”

Both descriptions break down to the same basic concept. Yet, the second one shares many more essential skills that you could bring as an employee.

Always ensure that you are considering why your reader should care.

 

  1. Avoid being vague

Why say that you managed a “large” team when you can say you managed a team of “more than fifty people”? When writing to a company, you are speaking with someone who has no idea who you are. Make sure that you are using tangible and factual numbers and descriptions, otherwise you risk the reader underestimating your achievements.

 

  1. The finer details matter

Sometimes missing out on the right role can be about what you don’t do or say. Make sure you take the time to ensure that your grammar and spelling are correct. If you don’t feel confident in doing this, ask someone else to help you.

 

  1. Is it really necessary?

These days, attention spans are short. Make sure you don’t risk losing your reader’s attention over qualities and attributes that aren’t essential. Unless you’re a recent graduate, chances are that finer details about school or university activities aren’t going to gain you much ground. Keep most of your details on your most recent role and the direct skills that you can transfer over.

 

  1. Focus on the unique

If you’re applying for a job where they require a certain degree, chances are that every other person applying for the job can also say that they have the same tertiary qualifications as you. Consider what you bring to the table that is unlikely to be shared with other applicants. What unusual circumstances have you worked under where you excelled? Mention these box-ticking qualities, but don’t waste your precious word count on something that won’t make you stand out.

 

  1. Finish strong

Most cover letters end with a sentence similar to “I look forward to hearing from you soon.” This is a passive statement and doesn’t leave any long-standing effect on your reader. Consider posing a question or a call to action in your final line.

A good example would be to say,

“The position of administration officer at 123 offices is a role that I know I will excel in. I would greatly appreciate the chance to discuss how my qualifications, experience, and accomplishments will help your company achieve its goals. Please call me on 555-555-555 at your earliest convenience to schedule a suitable interview time.”

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