You’ve found a job listing for your dream job, crafted the perfect resume, spent hours agonizing over every bullet and painstakingly proofread every word. The only thing standing between you and the mailbox is a cover letter. Should you use a standard template or go off the beaten path? Nearly one-fifth of hiring managers say that a cover letter that shows creativity is valued by their organizations, so follow these guidelines to impress with ingenuity.
Know Your Audience
Consider the job for which you’re applying and the employees doing the hiring. Do some research to find out who the hiring manager is and whether there is a human resources department. Check out the company’s LinkedIn profile, or read the employee newsletter. These things give you some insight into what how formal the company is and what level of creativity is acceptable. If the job you want is chief operating officer at a bank, it’s best to stick with a more professional approach, while applying for a director of marketing position warrants a more creative approach to your cover letter.
Kick It Off With a Quote
Open your cover letter with a quote that ties into your past achievements, work experience or the position for which you’re applying. For example, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work” by Aristotle explains that being passionate about your work leads to increased dedication to the job. The key to using a quote in a creative cover letter is relating it to the rest of your content.
Tell a Story
Start your cover letter off with a short anecdote that describes why you feel so passionately about your chosen career path. This reveals a bit of your personality and makes you appear more genuine to the hiring manager. Explaining how you felt when you received the salesman of the year award at your previous company highlights an achievement and demonstrates the dedication you have for your job duties.
Say It With Numbers
Illustrate your work experience and accomplishments using numbers to grab the attention of the hiring manager while keeping things simple. Your opening paragraph may look something like this: “1,200 clients. 700 vendors. 150 shareholders. One chart of accounts. My experience as an accounting manager makes me perfect for your senior accountant position.”
When it comes to crafting a creative cover letter, it’s important to know where to draw the line. The goal is to show off your personality and differentiate yourself from other applicants without going overboard. Stay away from clichés, and don’t go too heavy on the humor. Keep the focus on selling yourself in your cover letter, but incorporate a bit of unconventionality to demonstrate your ability to be imaginative.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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