Sometimes you just have to kick it old school. We talk a lot about networking and landing a job but not enough emphasis goes into cover letters.
Thanks to our friends at the Harvard Business Review, there are a few pointers to keep in mind. For starters, yes you need to send a cover letter. Do they all get read? Not exactly but you still need to send one. Should you send a long one? Considering we used to work in recruiting the answer is no but it’s like sending a tweet. Every word counts, every sentiment is important.
1. Do your research. Per the piece, it’s important to of course learn more about the company and the job you want to land. Check out the executives’ Twitter feeds and employee profiles on LinkedIn. The piece asks you to find out what challenges the company is facing and how you can address their issues.
2. Match the company tone. If it’s a conservative media house then your letter should be conservative. However, if it’s a funky design shop you have a little more freedom to be creative.
3. Open strong. Think of it like a tweet with only 140 characters even though it really should only be about two paragraphs long. Don’t waste words by saying, “I’m applying for this job that I saw on your site.” This is a given. Instead, jump right in and lead with a strong opener. Why is this job exciting to you? Why are you right for it? Also, in the beginning you should mention any personal connections you have to someone who is currently in-house.
4. Convey enthusiasm. If your resume is in a stack with countless others with similar backgrounds, what will stand you out? Aside from personal connections, it’s your enthusiasm. Your passion. Your joie de vivre! Make it shine.
The piece suggests stating something like, “I’d love to work for your company. Who wouldn’t? You’re the industry leader, setting standards that others only follow.”