Creating a 5-star cover letter

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Now, I know what you’re thinking –“Oh look, more exciting cover letter tips.”

Believe me, I hate drafting cover letters just as much as the next person. Maybe more. I’ve been a prime culprit for sending out some pretty average job applications in my lifetime. But what I’ve discovered friends, is that reading these makeshift cover letters is even more painful than creating them.  

So you’ve found the perfect job. You’ve got all the skills and meet the minimum requirements. You know you’re the right fit. So what do you do? Unfortunately, more often than not we send out our generic cover letter and resume and in turn receive another generic response.

Thank you for your application for the position of Marketing Analyst. Unfortunately…

Sound familiar?

Your cover letter in many cases can be the most important part of your application.

Think about it, we’re in an age of information overload. Most hiring managers spend all of 5 seconds browsing each application. You need to dress your cover letter to impress. It’s hard to sell yourself on a piece of paper but it can be done.

Your days of sending out generic cover letters are over. It’s time to give hiring managers a break.

Let’s learn to craft a 5 Star Cover Letter!

Tip 1: Create an award-winning header.

Hiring managers browse through hundreds, maybe thousands of bland applications each day. Get their attention by showing your creativity!

I swear to you, Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the best tools available at your disposal. I use it for all sorts of things but specifically for creating awesome graphics. The example header below was created entirely in PowerPoint and copied into Microsoft Word. Just a few simple shapes, lines and fonts can be thrown together to create an eye-catching header.

 Tip 2: Draft an exciting tagline/ headline.

Your tagline or headline is generally a three to five word phrase that clearly states your professional experience and qualifications. Your tagline can also be used to give hiring managers an idea of your personality. Consider your tagline as your personal brand. They are most effective when they are catered to the position you’re applying for. Read the job description 5 times over and learn more about the company. Make sure your tagline is suited to the role and company culture.

For all you Facebook and twitter fans, you are used to coming up with a statement that is 140 characters or less. Use these skills to create a catchy job status update or “tagline!”

A tagline can be suited to any profession, not just creative fields. Oh you’re an accountant, are you? Check out a few example taglines for the accounting field.

·         “The accounting asset your company needs.”

·         “Your asset in a world of liabilities. “ or

·         “Beans. I’ll count ‘em, you eat ‘em.”

Tip 3: Tell them who you are. Give them a ‘description’ that doesn’t leave them guessing.

I like to think of myself as a bit of social media specialist and I looooove to throw together a few words and call it writing. I’ve come up with a description for myself that on a job application explains what I’m best at and what I’m looking to do for the company. The description I often include is “Social Media Strategist & Content Creator.” Find a description that fits you.

Tip 4: Personalize it

Never begin a cover letter with “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom it May Concern.” Generic salutations often signal to potential employers that you lack the initiative to locate the appropriate contact. If a job listing does not include the name of the hiring manager, call the company’s receptionist and explain the position you are applying for to see if he or she can help you fill in the blank.

Tip 5: Hit them with your qualifications right away and Research, research, research!

A good cover letter begins with a powerful opening paragraph. Tell them who you are and how you meet what they’re looking for within the first few sentences.

Hi, I’m Andy. I’m excited to have the opportunity to introduce myself. I’m an aspiring Graphic Designer. I have a diploma of Graphic Design from [insert institution] and I have recently completed a six month internship.

Show them your personality and make it sincere.

Also, before you begin writing, learn as much as you can about the potential employer. Visit their website. ‘Like’ them on Facebook. ‘Follow’ them on LinkedIn and Twitter. Plug their name into Google and search for recent news about the company. You have a ton of resources at your disposal. Make sure to use them. The more you know about an organization, the better you can tailor your cover letter to fit what they’re looking for. You can also better gauge whether or not you even want to be a part of the company. More than once I’ve found a job ad that seemed ‘right on’ but after some research discovered it was more of a miss. I’m a lover of a company that’s driven by humor. I usually reference their social media channels. If the personality isn’t there, neither am I.

There you have it- My tips on how to create a 5 Star Cover Letter.

Happy writing folks!

Published on by Nathalie Ferquel.