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  • Writer's pictureMatt Chung

3 Must-Know Tips To Write A Killer Cover Letter Today!

Updated: Nov 6, 2023



A cover letter is a powerful tool at your disposal that can significantly increase your chances of getting the first interview. It can serve as your own introduction where you can highlight your strongest and most pertinent details right off the bat. Most research agrees that the majority of hiring managers (up to about 70%) read cover letters, and it does make a tangible difference in their decision-making.

In this article, I'll share with you what I consider to be the three most useful tips you should follow if you want to write a cover letter that stands out and helps you get more first-round interviews. I'm also going to give you a few sample cover letters at the end that you can reference or copy so make sure to watch until the end.

  1. BE CONCISE:

The first tip is to be concise. In today's fast-paced world, where attention spans are ever-decreasing, most people simply do not have time to read long emails or messages they don't have to read. It can overwhelm the reader and make him/her not even want to start. In the same way, hiring managers do not like to read long and wordy letters, especially when they already have a resume that they need to take a look at.

The more you can distill your content to contain only the most crucial and convincing points, the more effective it will become.

A good rule of thumb is to keep it to three to four paragraphs max.

  1. Start with a brief opening statement that briefly introduces yourself

  2. Followed by 1-2 main paragraphs highlighting your relevant qualifications, experience, and how you can add tangible value to the employer in the position you're applying to. Use specific examples to showcase your skills and accomplishments at a high level. Remember, the goal is to entice the employer to read your resume and invite you for an interview.

  3. Finally, close your cover letter with a short statement thanking the employer for their time and clearly asking for a meeting or a discussion.

You do NOT want your cover letter to be longer than a page. I would aim for about half or two-thirds of the page. Again, most of the time, the employer will have your resume, too so do not feel like you have to include every detail on your cover letter. Instead, focus on the details that matter most.

  1. IT NEEDS TO SELL!

And the next tip is that your cover letter has to sell. Everything about your cover letter must convince the employer that you're the person they should interview. This means you need to be intentional about everything you write.

Before you decide what to include, ask yourself, "Why do I want to say what I am about to say in the letter, and how will it sell my profile to the employer?" This will help you be strategic and ensure your letter is always focused and compelling.

In essence, your cover letter should answer two critical questions: 1) "Why are you interested in the firm?" and 2) "Why should we hire/interview you?"

These questions are at the heart of what the employer wants to know, and the better you can answer them, the more likely you will be called for the interview.

When answering the first question (why are you interested in the firm?), the key is providing unique reasons specific to the company as to why you want to join them. Stay away from generic reasons that can apply to pretty much any firm you apply to. Instead, you may want to highlight the company's values, major initiatives, performance, or culture and then communicate how they align with your own career goals and values. This will demonstrate that you know about them through research and that you're genuinely interested in the company.

For example, suppose you're applying to a financial firm (it doesn't really matter the industry, actually). Instead of saying that your motivation is building your career in finance (which would apply to any company in the same industry), try to give them reasons specific to the employer, such as their focus in a particular market, their market share in the region – maybe they are #1 in the business you're interested in. Or you may want to talk about their high retention rate and collaborative culture – which are unique to the company in question.

The best way to answer the 2nd question (why should we interview you?) is focusing on what you can offer the employer instead of what you want from them. You must clearly communicate how your experience and knowledge will add value and help the employer. After all, the employer is looking for someone who can bring value to their team and help them achieve their goals. So, you want to make it clear that you're the person who can do that by highlighting your most significant achievements or experiences that are most relevant to the job.

This leads to my next and last point.

  1. Tailor your Cover letter to the JD. (Tailor it to the JD)

I just mentioned that the best way to answer "Why should we interview you" is by convincing the employer you're the person who can bring value to them and help them achieve their goals. In order to truly demonstrate this, you must first understand the employer's needs and what they are looking for.

Well, one of the best sources of information for this is the Job description.

You want to ensure you know the JD inside out - the specific responsibilities and the required qualifications. And then, choose your experience, achievements, and/or skills that are directly relevant to what it says (the JD says).

You see, that is how you stand out. By emphasizing your qualifications and achievements that are so relevant that after reading the cover letter, the hiring manager will go, "Wow, that's EXACTLY what I'm looking for!" And that is what we are trying to achieve here.

Here are a few concrete sample cover letters.

 

Sample Letter #1:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm excited to apply for the Digital Transformation Manager role at XYZ. With 5+ years of experience spearheading digital transformation initiatives in the retail industry, I'm confident that I can contribute and produce results immediately.

In my current role at ABC, I've been responsible for customer journey transformation, implementing data-driven marketing, and partnering with start-ups for innovation. Additionally, I was instrumental in successful agile adoption for over eight countries in Asia which, from my understanding, is what you're looking to achieve too.

I appreciate XYZ's dedication to being the number one retail sporting brand in the Southeast Asia market. I genuinely believe there is so much untapped potential in this region, and I would love to contribute to the success and growth of XYZ.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to further discuss my qualifications with you.

Sincerely,

 

Sample Letter #2:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to apply for the Junior Marketing Analyst position at ABC . I have hands-on experience and training in online marketing, especially in social media, and I am confident I can hit the ground running immediately.

Throughout my four years as a marketing major at university, I helped several non-profit organizations with their marketing initiatives, including Facebook ads, lead generation, and Google Analytics, achieving a 20-40% increase in website traffic and up to 100% growth in mailing lists. I am also currently working toward the Google Analytics certification.

What excites me about ABC is the company's long-term dedication to providing sustainable alternative energy, specifically to developing nations which aligns with my passion, and I would love to contribute to the success of ABC.

Thank you for considering my application. Would love to discuss further how I can add value to your team.

Regards,

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