Every day, job recruiters read cover letters that sound exactly alike. One after another, they see job applicants who proclaim that they are motivated, proactive team players who are good communicators and strategic thinkers — and their eyes start to glaze over. Here are a couple of ways to make a job recruiter's day by writing a unique letter that makes her smile and pick up the phone to call you.
Tell a Story
People respond to stories far more than to data points, and they remember them far better, so tell a story in your cover letter. Find a personal connection to the company you are applying to, or to its industry. If you are applying to a film production company, tell about how you persuaded your 12th-grade history teacher to let you make a film instead of writing an essay for your final project. If it's a baking goods company, talk about the time you won a prize for your blueberry pie. If you grew up visiting the theme park you now want to work for, tell a story about your experiences there. Make your job recruiter smile when she reads your cover letter.
Don't spend all your time on the story, of course. Use it as an introduction to yourself and who you are, showing a side of yourself that would never appear on your resume. Then let the cover letter take a slightly more conventional turn as you express your interest in the specific position you are applying for, still making sure to let your true personality shine through. Don't be surprised if the first thing the job recruiter brings up at the interview is the personal story you told in your cover letter.
Use Modern Technology
Rather than just talking about yourself in your cover letter, show the recruiter who you are and what you have to offer by adding hyperlinks to your letter. Link to your own website to show off your work and give the recruiter a taste of what you can offer beyond anything that can fit within the confines of a letter or resume. If you have published articles, link to them so that the recruiter can take a look. When applying to creative jobs, add a link to send your interviewer to your online portfolio. Make sure, of course, that the sites you are linking to look professional.
When you write a unique letter by telling stories that grab an interviewer's attention or adding links to provide visual or aural evidence of your skills, that job recruiter is going to sit up and pay attention. Let your cover letter be the most interesting and unique one that crosses your interviewer's desk or screen, and get ready for the phone to ring.
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