The best cover letter I ever heard of was a clean sheet of paper that literally only said,
“I can do that job.”
The resume beneath it was thoroughly read. The candidate was carefully considered. A cover letter can have no greater success.
I always read the first sentence or two of a cover letter. Unless I am intrigued, I never read more. I don’t have time to read that you work hard, like people, are a team player and deserve a chance. Everyone says that. It just proves you are average.
I thoroughly read cover letters that have useful gems in the first sentence. I keep reading sentence after sentence until it gets boring. A cover letter masterpiece has me convinced to do an interview before I see the resume. It extracts 2 or 3 gems from the person’s background and displays them briefly. I want those gems. I make a decision based on those gems of information.
If you explore beneath shyness or party chit-chat, you can sometimes turn a dull exchange into an intriguing one. I’ve found this particularly to be true in the case of professors or intellectuals, who are full of fascinating information, but need encouragement before they’ll divulge it. (Joyce Oates)
To discover gems in your background, ask yourself:
- Why haven’t they filled this job already?
- What are the most critical job skills?
- Which of those skills is hardest to find in the job market?
- What have I done that proves I am way better than average?
Now craft a single short sentence that shows you are exceptional.
Create 3 more on different subjects.
Now write several short cover letters based on those sentences. Make sure each sentence in the letter proves you are extraordinary.
I would be intrigued by your gem filled letter. I would decide to interview you before I even looked at the resume.
I know 4 people who have gotten jobs without a cover letter, and whose resume only said, “I can do that job.” The only thing else on the resume was their contact info. Do you say too much?
Something To Do Today
Hand your cover letter to a friend who is somewhat distracted. See how long it takes them to look like they are slogging through the letter. That’s where the boring stuff starts.