A cover letter is an important piece of marketing collateral for an executive job search. Here are seven ways to craft an effective document that will advance your career and increase your chances of an interview.
- Be original and enticing. Don’t use a boring or generic template, but utilize the same font and format from your resume. That’s all part of your personal brand. What will a reader think if you have two distinct formats and two distinct fonts?
- Display your personal brand statement at the top of the page, right under your contact information. This is another important way to carry your personal brand through from your resume.
- Uncover and utilize the name of the hiring authority. How insincere and negative is it to read, “Dear Sir or Madam”? This is a pet peeve of mine, as well as many of the HR professionals and executive recruiters I know. How much more engaging is it to read something that was personally addressed?
- Be confident and specific. A cover letter takes you from today forwards, and is customized to a target position, employer or reader. It summarizes, in powerful and resonating copy, why you should be considered for the position. Write in the first person (“I” statements). What makes you so special to execute this job mandate? Support this with research and due diligence, by Googling the company and reviewing their social media presence.
- Focus on your ability to problem solve, clearly portraying your unique value, supported by quantifiable achievements. Do not repeat these verbatim from your resume; reword them.
- Express your personality. Cultural fit is a crucial element today in matching talent to the job. Touch upon your leadership style, as well as elements of your collaboration and communication skills.
- Be succinct. A cover letter should be longer than a tweet, but shorter than a full resume (not exceeding one page). Close with a striking call to action.
A flawless and sophisticated cover letter delivers a compelling and authoritative message that makes the hiring authority want to place you in the interview pile and not the recycle bin.