Create A Quality Cover Letter That Gets A Response.
So this master-class is gonna come at you in three parts.
If you can't be bothered to wait around for part 2 and 3, 'Creating a CV/Resume that Sticks Out From The Rest' and 'Being Interview and Job-Ready', just head over to my Fiverr, where I can help you out with a resume AND a cover letter one-on-one for only $5!!!
Alternatively, join the email list and you will receive notice when these posts are live.
I might even send ya some bonus stuff like a printable cover letter checklist or PDF for your future reference, because I am nice and spontaneous that way...
I am writing this from the perspective of a traveller working in a travellers job market. But this advice could be useful to anyone seeking assistance in getting to that all-important interview.
So, you've seen an ad online for a job you like the sound of. You jump at the chance to reply to the email address. You fall over yourself in a rush to type out something quickly because you reallllly like the sound of this job and you just know that you are perfect for it.
Well, you might just be, but the employer doesn't know this.
Stop, read the ad again, and consider might it be worth a little more thinking time before you hammer out your cover letter or inquiry email. You might have zero clue where to begin in crafting an email that sticks out amidst the 100's of others clogging up the employers inbox.
This master-class suggests a simple method to use when you face this clueless yet exciting mess of enthusiasm, and need to channel it carefully to secure a result.
I know a well-thought-out cover letter, can get results, because using this layout and formula helped me secure a job, literally within a day. I had tried numerous cover letter styles previously and all were either too long or irrelevant, and thus failed to get my message across quickly and clearly. This cover letter got a phone call a few hours later, an interview the next day, and then a job. I'm not saying it was simply the cover letter that did it, but being the thing that the employer reads first, the impression it gives sets off the rest of events that can result eventually, in a job.
Some employers will focus mostly on the resume, ensuring the person matches the skills or at least displays potential. But still, it can be a pretty solid life-skill to be able to compile a cover letter that will set you apart from the competition, to make you a triple cover letter/resume/interview threat.
The Cover Letter Email That Got Me An Interview:
Why Did This Work?
- Its short, succinct yet detailed. I introduce myself quickly in the opening sentence, and describe my work experience right away.
It also suggests that in my previous job I surpassed the basics of the job role by training my colleagues.
Showing that you might be even over-skilled for the role, infers you will meet the basic requirements but also have high standards and take a lot of pride in your work. This is what might set you apart even further.
It rounds off with some food for thought; this individual can back up their skills with referees, so they're resume will be worth a look.
I attached my resume to the email which contained all the evidence to back-up my claims and provided the reference contact details. It also contained my phone number but I evidently forgot to include this in the email sign-off, which I do recommend doing.
So a Cover Letter is important because...
You need to tick boxes to even have your resume read these days. Your cover letter should deliver the important info up-front, making the employers life a helluva lot easier. The resume will expand on all the boring other info, the cover letter sells you much faster.
So, you want to know how to craft a perfect cover letter/email that gets a reply? No worries, I can show you how.
1. READ THE AD AND NOTE THE 4 W'S:
Who is the employer/business/ contact name, What skills does the suitable candidate need and what responsibilities will they have ,When is the role due to start, and Where is the job located.
2. BEGIN YOUR EMAIL/LETTER WITH A SHORT INTRO:
Address to the Who, introduce yourself by your full name, age and location (where are you based currently or where are you moving to, dependant on whether the job is far away or local).
3. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THE TERMS THE AD USED:
With this opening sentence include a line about how you are well-suited to the role based on recent/previous experience.
For example, if the ad title was 'Hospitality Professional' then you'd say 'I am an experienced hospitality professional', providing that you are applying for a job you do have experience in.
If you can't describe yourself exactly in the terms of the job title, describe yourself using other terms found in the ad.
If the employer emphasizes that they want people with certain skill-sets, and you can truthfully describe yourself as containing related skills or experience, then do so.
4. OUTLINE HOW YOU MEET THE WHAT:
What have you actually done that makes you well-suited to the role. If you haven't yet done that said role, draw on your related experience and transferable skills. For example, someone who may worked in a certain setting, e.g. a hotel or a restaurant, and is applying for a front-of-house host, but previously worked as a waiter, is still going to be familiar with the inner-workings of such a business.
Don't make mildly tenuous links e.g. if you worked at McDonalds you might not quite be ready for the role of cook in a major restaurant. But then again, being familiar with how certain environments run, is still going to help you appear somewhat suited if not totally suited.
Be realistic in how your transferable skills translate over to the job role. If you try to stretch the definitions that the ad put forward for what it needs, you may get discounted right off-the-bat because you will simply seem in-experienced.
Focus on your most relevant skills, not the random or most interesting ones. Demonstrating relevant and inter-linked skills makes the employers job easier; he can size you up quickly and assess how much training you might or might not need.
5. DON'T JUST MEET THEIR NEEDS, STATE HOW THE JOB MEETS YOURS:
A short sentence, with not too much exaggerated language, outlining why you want the job so much, can help your case and differentiate you from the rest.
When people send out cover emails or letters every day, not really caring which job they get because they are just spamming every ad they see, they can become a bit re-miss in this aspect.
Ask yourself what appeals about the job role, the business or the type of responsibilities.
Does your personality mesh well with the type of environment, e.g. an energetic person who thrives in a loud and busy workplace. Can you thus represent yourself as even more suited to the role by outlining, briefly, just why this particular job role appeals to your other strengths and interests.
A satisfied worker who chooses a job based on how well it suits them naturally, will be a harder worker. A harder worker will be a respected worker. A respected worker will stick around awhile and make the employers life a lot easier.
Examples on how to use these ideas:
So, let's put this into practice. We are going to do a little exercise.
I have looked online for a few job-ads and I am going to create what I believe would be a memorable cover letter than will get the resume read, the phone call made and the interview secured.
The cover letter will alter slightly in style based on each ad. I have chosen 2 ad's for their differences to prepare you for the different ad styles you might encounter.
I used gumtree.au, a popular site in Australia where people can find everything from sofa's to boats to, you guessed it, jobs. I also used another popular Australian job-site, Seek.com.au.
Bear in mind that often the right move may be to telephone the number provided in the ad right away. Some ads will even advise to call and email, others will say only contact via email. If the case is that they want you to call and email, or just call, sometimes its good to send a cover email and resume through just before making a phone call. That way you can tell the person over the phone that in your keenness you already whizzed them off all the info they need to read.
So this is the typically short ad you will often find on gumtree. Its usually because the job is simple, self-explanatory, and the job is expected to go quickly due to this. Still, a decent covering email can help with what appears a simple job application.
THE COVERING EMAIL:
Afternoon [insert name],
My names [name], I am 25, and I am a locally-based experienced waitress and barista.
I have previously worked in a commercial kitchen, taking orders, then delivering them to the kitchen, then taking the meals out when ready. I also took coffee orders, and successfully used a full coffee-machine to make a full range of normal coffee's and iced drinks, single-handedly.
I thrive in a fast-paced environment, having worked at a busy cafe on the most popular family resort on Fraser Island, and will bring an energetic and friendly mentality to the team.
I look forward to speaking further regarding this role, and can be contacted on [number] to chat.
I attach my resume for your reading.
So I have kept this covering email relatively short seeing as the ad was short, however I got a lot of relevant info into the email. In this scenario I would have then telephoned the person, informed them of the sent email and had a conversation about the role.
So this Ad is a little bit more meaty, and gives you much more material to be creative with in your covering letter. This ad was on Seek which requires you to attach a covering letter by uploading a word document, or you can write one out in the box provided for each job when you apply.
THE COVERING LETTER:
Yes, I am fluent in Dothraki and my sense of humour is renowned across the seven kingdoms.
But am I king material? Well, I am considered a bit of a sales superstar by my previous employers, [employer name/business], delivering consistent sales meeting daily set targets often [outline any figures of sales met]. I worked within the sports industry also, and being personally incredibly fitness-oriented, I thrive in an environment where I can talk about it passionately with potential clients.
I love being part of the sales environment, where personality and outlook is key, with a presentable appearance and a fun yet professional approach also important. I get to be my usual enthusiastic self, but translate that into a rewarding career also.
I love to travel, being a traveller from the UK, it's important for me to not just experience Australia but also learn from the best in its marketing industry, build on my sales skills and take my knowledge to the next level.
I am available for interview immediately, and can't wait to get started.
This was personally, a challenge, because the ad makes references to Game of Thrones, which I know NOTHING about, other than that its super popular and that I can't be bothered to watch it and hide from spoilers my whole life (I already do that with Walking Dead). Anyway, I thought this was a good example for where you have to demonstrate that you have read the ad thoroughly and responded accordingly. I didn't introduce myself by name or age, because they will see this in the application and the attached resume, but I did sign off with my name.
In this letter you are demonstrating the sense of humour they require, not simply saying that you have one. You are also showing previous experience in a similar role, where you excelled, which makes you job-ready but also suggests that you are self-confident and good at dealing with customers face-to-face. But in this scenario, if you didn't have sales experience, your best bet would be to think of the ways all your current experience lends itself to the skills listed under 'What our clients are looking for'.
You essentially pepper the covering letter with some references to Game of Thrones, just like the ad did, but you don't over-do it. You get to the heart of the matter, show your experience, and show your ambition as well as your personality.
So there we go, two very different examples, but also the common types of job ad's you might come across as a working traveller.
KEY THINGS TO TAKEAWAY:
- Your covering letter whilst heavily built on the language in the ad, shouldn't look like a copy and paste job. You need to contextualize their language by relating it to your own experience and skills.
- Match the length of your cover letter to the ad, and then add a few lines. If the letters too short it might not grab the interest strongly enough (bearing in mind all your competitors) but if its too long they may lose interest. As long as you cover the key ideas they talk about in the ad, with a bit of explanation, you can't go too wrong on length decision.
- A great covering letter should only suggest things that the resume or interview can back-up. Your resume will be a jumble of information only really useful for the few keywords that jump out at the employer, so the covering letter might be the main thing they read thoroughly and thus remember, so its important to be honest and truthful.
MORE GREAT READS FOR TRAVELLERS:
Thanks for reading!
Hannah here, one half of NomaderHowFar. I love reading, the beach, proper fish and chips, and a good cup of tea. But I mostly like to chat about minimalism, simplifying your life, the beauty of travel and sometimes I get a bit deep. Get to know us here!
Be social and come follow us across the virtual world!