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Karen Lombardo

Clear and compelling messaging makes the difference when communicating who you are and what you offer. Words on paper, on a website, or on the vows you speak on your wedding day represent your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Your message comes alive and delivers with intent.

It is more than just words on paper and images on the internet. It is personal. I hope you enjoy the blog posts and learn more about the written word and how it can best speak for you and your business.

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Cover Letter / putanotherwayllc / Resumes / Writing about yourself.

Why You Need to Write Your Own Cover Letter

May 7, 2024

After putting your time and energy into compiling a solid résumé and tweaking your LinkedIn page, it can be tempting to skip the cover letter and get on with submitting your application. After all, most people don’t even look at cover letters anymore, right? Wrong.

According to LinkedIn, 83 percent of hiring decision-makers consider cover letters to be important in choosing who to hire. And 49 percent say that they’ve offered an interview to a candidate based on a compelling cover letter—even when the résumé was not as strong. So, the numbers are clear: failing to write a personalized cover letter could send your application straight to the bottom of the pile.

Even if a job listing doesn’t specifically ask for a cover letter, it’s still a good idea to write one because most employers will expect to see one anyway. In fact, an employer might reject your application outright if a cover letter is not included.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a one-page business letter you submit when applying for a job, along with your resume. As a piece of persuasive writing, your cover letter will aim to convey to the employer why you’re a great candidate for the role. Your cover letter complements your resume by making it easy for the employer to see how your experience and interest connect to the position. Your goal is to convince the employer to interview you. (Columbia.edu)

8 ways to stand out by writing your own cover letter

You know you’re the perfect person for the job—and writing your own cover letter is your chance to make sure your prospective employer knows it, too. Let’s review eight ways to stand out by writing this important piece of your introduction yourself.

  1. Express your unique voice.

The cover letter is often your first impression before an employer looks at your résumé. Just like you would enter a job interview with a handshake and a smile, you can set a positive tone in your cover letter by infusing some of your personality. While it’s not wise to go into a lot of personal details, a good rule of thumb is to balance a professional approach with your own personal touch.

  1. Highlight your professional connections.

If you’ve been in the industry for some time and you bring with you a roster of valuable contacts, you can bring attention to this asset in your cover letter. While you don’t need to drop specific names, it can be helpful to reference your expansive network and how you would put that to use for your new employer. Similarly, if you have a mutual connection or a personal reference at the company, this may also work in your favor because you’ll have a built-in positive referral they can contact.

  1. Expand on your accomplishments.

While your résumé offers a technical list of details such as your education, work history, and skill sets, your cover letter offers more real estate where you can elaborate on that information by giving specific examples of roles, responsibilities, and results listed in your résumé. For example, if you contributed to a particularly successful project for a previous employer you’ve listed in your résumé, go deeper in your cover letter by describing what you did as a member of the team and what particular skills you demonstrated. (Look at the job listing’s description for key skills you’ll want to highlight.)

  1. Elaborate on your work history.

A résumé can’t possibly paint the whole picture of a person’s career and lived experiences. This is where a cover letter can be a beneficial supplement to the abbreviated details listed in your résumé. If there are gaps in your work history, briefly explain those in your cover letter, making sure to point out any ways that those gaps helped to make you a stronger candidate for the job. Or, if you’re breaking into a new career or industry, use your cover letter to talk about what drove you to that new path and how your past experiences are relevant to the job.  

  1. Demonstrate your work ethic.

According to Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 56 percent of employers expect to see a cover letter. Admittedly, it does take some time to write the letter, edit it to perfection, and then adjust it to appeal to each company you’re applying to. But that extra effort is well worth it because applicants who submit cover letters have the chance to show their prospective employer that they’re willing to put in the work to do a stellar job.

  1. Showcase your attention to detail.

One way to grab a recruiter’s eye is by speaking directly to them in your cover letter and showing them that you know just what they’re looking for. Don’t make the mistake of using the same template letter for every job listing. Instead, do some digging into each company’s history, mission statement, values, and priorities—and then use your cover letter to talk about why your personality, work style, and interests would be a perfect match.

  1. Display your communication skills.

It’s not an easy task to write persuasively and concisely, which is why strong communication skills are often in high demand, especially for jobs in marketing, communications, and human resources, as well as executive-level positions. A good cover letter should only be about 250 to 400 words long, so this is a great way to exemplify your ability to craft compelling, results-driven content.

  1. Make the most of search terms.

If you’re applying for a job online, your application will most likely go through an applicant tracking system, or ATS, which is a type of software that reviews applications to determine the best matches for the position. As part of this process, your cover letter will be scanned along with your résumé, so this is a valuable opportunity to incorporate relevant keywords that pop up frequently in the job description.

Writing your own cover letter is your first best step toward landing the interview and getting that job you’ve been hoping for. And, while no one knows more about your history and experiences than you, it can be tricky to know where to start or how best to express what you want to say. To help you craft an impressive cover letter, get in touch with the experts at The Virtual Copywriter who can guide you through the process and edit your letter to perfection.

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Sources LinkedIn, Forbes, Coursera, Yahoo Finance, Forbes.com, Columbia.edu

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