Wouldn’t it be nice if cover letters were simply fill-in-the-blank forms? Unfortunately, templates and cover letter builders lack originality and are not captivating and serve as a filtering tool for hiring managers. The best cover letters are purposely crafted, engaging, and enticing. Your goal as a candidate is to prove that you are what the employer is looking for. Lucky for you, hiring managers have leveled the playing field for every candidate by providing a cheat sheet, the job description. Using the job description as a formula to create your cover letter can reduce your anxiety and help you express why you’re the best candidate for the job.
A cover letter should be:
- Between three to four paragraphs
- Short and concise
- Show personal interest in the position and company
- Answer the question, “Why should I select you?”
Step 1: Create a Requirements Column
Job descriptions can be complex. The requirement column breaks down what the employer is looking for. The goal here is to take a complex and convoluted job description and make it simple and concise. You’ll turn the job description into a bulleted outline.
A. Break paragraphs into sentences
B. Break sentences into unique ideas
Step 2: Create a Response Column
The Response column is an illustration of your ability to do the job. Your Response Outline is going to respond to each item in your Requirements column. Respond to each Requirement using (1) Skills (2) Experience (3) Accomplishments. Make sure you answer each item confidently and include only relevant items. If you are lacking the skills needed to secure a job, but truly believe your strengths could easily fit a company’s needs, then take the opportunity to explain that.
Your break down of the cover letter should now look something like this:
- Get feedback
- Show that you understand the needs of their organization and that you offer a solution
- Your opening statement should be strong, attention-getting. If you’re struggling with how to create one, check out Dana Leavy-Detrick’s 3 Ways to Start Off Your Cover Letter and Careerealism’s 7 Examples of Fresh New Ways to Start Your Cover Letter