#AskJUGS: 5 Tips for a Stand Out Cover Letter
Writing and customizing resumes and cover letters can be a lot of work, but it’s often what’s necessary to stand out in a field of online applicants. If you’re excited about a potential opportunity, taking the time to craft a thoughtful cover letter can make a difference. If you are struggling to feel good about the cover letters you are producing, here are five ways to improve your cover letter game.
Write first, edit later
Sitting down and writing a perfect cover letter is hard to do in one sitting. (Take it from someone who does it for a living!) Giving yourself some time to write, reflect and journal first can provide some content that you can edit into a concise and compelling resumes.
Since customization is key to standing out, but also a lot of work, create some cover letter templates for different kinds of roles that make the customization process a lot faster.
Make it easy to scan
Just like your resume, people are spending only a few seconds looking at it before they make a decision. Keep your paragraphs short, your font a reasonable size and make sure you are using fairly standard margins.
Look out for too many “I” statements
Nearly every single cover letter I see includes dozens of sentences that begin with “I.” It’s not the worst issue in the world...but it’s not the most effective storytelling strategy either. Experiment with different sentence structures and consider leading with your results.
Demonstrate how you add value
Make sure you’re paying attention that job posting (and especially the qualifications!) and pick an example or two that demonstrate how you achieve your results or the impact of the work that you do.
Like most things, the more you practice the better your cover letters will get. They’ll also get faster to write over time. Getting started can be the hardest part - but I’m hopeful these tips have inspired you dust off that cover letter and give it (and your candidacy!) the time and attention they deserve!
Jenn Walker Wall writes a monthly career advice column called #AskJUGs for JustUsGalsBos.com and is the founder of Work Wonders Coaching + Consulting. You can follow her on Twitter: @JennWalkerWall and for more career tips and advice - or to ask questions about your cover letter, follow her on Instagram.