If you’re in the hiring arena, you have undoubtedly read hundreds or even thousands of cover letters and resumes. It’s no wonder that when another cover letter comes along you bite your tongue and power through it, hoping for a truly fresh, concise and eloquent letter. Ultimately, as employers, we really want to have a proper introduction from the applicant and how they would fit a company’s culture.
So, here’s what we hope not to see:
1. A repeat of your resume in a narrative format
2. Paragraph after paragraph of boasting and verbalizing your awesomeness
3. Too much fluff that unveils your ability to Google search buzz words about the company
4. Anything that inches its way towards two pages
Consider the fact that the hiring team, or manager has probably read dozens of letters and reviewed countless resumes. So how do you stand out, and how do you make an impression on paper? Captivate your audience by pointing out something unique within the first paragraph. Make it a point to include something unique about the company that isn’t obviously plastered all over Google. Do your research and show your devotion of wanting to work for that specific company.
Employers, your job is to give the cover letter a chance. It’s easy to read the first paragraph and say ‘no thank you’, or ‘maybe,’ but ultimately with any introduction there is always a warm-up period. Consider the potential hours the applicant has spent crafting an honest impression of who they are and trying to successfully do it in one page. This includes the truly motivated and qualified applicant who has been waiting for your company to open a position and is eager to get in front of your team. Try to read the excitement in their voice rather than thinking the applicant is nosing their way into your company.
The responsibility is on both parties – the applicant and the hiring team to commit to an exchange that is done well before ever meeting each other in person. As the applicant, give yourself the opportunity to be authentic, professional and unique. As the employer, give yourself the ability to open-mindedly read and experience the cover letter from the applicant’s perspective.