You’ve probably heard the statistic that most cover letters get an average of about seven seconds of viewing by HR. So if you want to make the most of that tiny amount of time, you need a cover letter that truly catches the eye and encourages the reader to slow down and really look. These seven new cover letter suggestions may well get you there.
Accommodate the short attention span.
In today’s world, if something doesn’t immediately catch the eye, it moves on to the next shiny object. Our brains have changed how we process information, so the old method of the three-paragraph cover letter needs to move over: Put in only the most critical information.
You’re not the only one using a mobile device to job search. Your cover letter, essentially an e-note attached to a resume, should fit on one screen without scrolling. Work through multiple drafts to pare down the essential information to no more than 150 words.
Allow for white space.
Multiple words crammed together in a small space doesn’t acknowledge that short attention span/need to read cover letters quickly. Leave plenty of space around your e-note (aka cover letter) so it’s easily digestible by the reader. Think Twitter — how can you coherently convey your message with the fewest words possible?
Hook them with the first sentence.
Consider this a value proposition letter and engage the reader immediately. You know from the job description what they need; say it immediately in your opening by directly addressing your target audience. Ask a question or write a statement that pulls them in by focusing on what they need most.
Show that you meet their need.
After you’ve discussed their need, point out that you’re the solution. They have a problem – they need an employee with a certain background and set of skills, you’re the answer. As a suggestion, you may want to write up three bullet points with quantifiable results and finish up with a sentence that names the problem and how you’re the solution into what you can offer them. Customize this part as needed.
Use a formula.
This doesn’t mean you write the same e-note; you just put it together in the same basic way. Keep your points short and sweet:
- Start with a question or engaging statement.
- Target the biggest need they have.
- State how you’re the solution.
- Prove it! Give them three bullets that prove you’re the solution.
- Don’t forget the money. Employers want to know how you made it, saved it, or contributed to it.
- How does this fit into your brand?
- Call to action close.
- Edit – Remember…150 words or fewer.
End with a Call to Action.
This is where you invite them to contact you – whether by email, phone, LinkedIn profile, or website is up to you. In the most literal sense, you’re urging them to take action by contacting you because they’re so compelled by what you’ve offered in your cover letter. It can be as informal as, “Interested in learning more? Call me at 555-834-1295” as long as you invite them to take that next step with you.
The cover letter, when written to catch the eye, can set you apart from the competition. For help with yours, visit PrideStaff.