How to Write a Kick-Ass Cover Letter
We know you’re a real go-getter. You know you’re a real go-getter. But when it comes to applying for your dream job, how do you show your potential new boss they’d have to be crazy not to hire you? Before you can get in the door and dazzle them with your eloquence and wit, you’ve got to secure an interview—and that starts with showing them a seriously kick-ass cover letter.
We spoke with some of our favorite bad-ass boss lady friends to get their best advice for creating a cover letter that really stands out. With your natural talent and our quick tips below, you’re well on your way to your next big career move!
Tailor Your Letter to the Exact Company and Job Where You're Applying
The process of writing and re-writing can be tedious, we know. But a potential employer can sniff out a cookie cutter application from a mile away. Going the extra mile to include specific details and skill sets that directly apply to the job listing and requirements will show that you want this exact role, not just any job.
Megan Collins, the founder and editor of Style Girlfriend, notes that making the hiring manager’s job easier can also push you ahead of the pack. “Unless explicitly told not to for some reason, just send the cover letter in the body of the email. Nobody has time to open your resume and your cover letter from Google Drive.”
Show 'Em You Want the Job by Showing The Company Some Love
Hailey Tully, the Communications and PR manager at Vita Coco, recommends including a personal anecdote or reasoning as to why you love this brand or company. Mention how you discovered the company, the first time you tried one of their products, and what makes them so incredible to you. “Truth be told,” she says. “ You won't make it past the first round if they don't think you really want it.”
Stand out by Making it Highly Personal
“Employers see hundreds of cover letters every day. You need to find a way to stand out amongst the rest.” This insight comes from Amanda Boyce, Social Media Director at L’Oreal. “Inserting a bit (but not a lot) of personality helps. I always make a note of things that I'm passionate about that fuel my professional life because it helps to paint a clearer picture of what I have to offer. However, keep it professional and related to your job. If you are applying for a job in beauty, mention your passion for photography or art, for example.”
Meghan Donovan, a freelance public relations consultant and successful fashion blogger, notes that formatting and writing style can help move the needle as well. “I wanted a job in PR when I graduated college, so I wrote my cover letter as a press release about myself,” she says. Needless to say, she got the job.
Be as Specific as You can and Quantify Your Successes
A cover letter is your chance to brag about just how good you are at what you do, but vague proclamations about growth, sales, or management won’t illustrate your most impressive qualities. “Potential employers want to know what you've done, but they often have a hard time understanding what success means,” says Boyce. How many people do you manage? What percentage of growth in followers or impressions can you attribute to your own efforts? Get as specific as you can and use quantifiable facts and figures to provide the proof positive that you’re perfect for this role.
Have Your Letter Proofread by a Variety of People
A second set of eyes to look over your letter is always helpful for catching grammar and spelling mistakes, but a third and fourth set can help you find weak parts to remove as well as strengths you should be highlighting.
Your mom might suggest playing up the fact that you basically raised your two younger siblings. Your best friend might remember the college internship where you first became obsessed with the world of marketing. People from different areas of your life will provide unique and helpful insights that can help you craft a truly memorable cover letter. You got this!