How to create persuasive targeted and eye-catching cover letters

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

 

Cover letters have the potential to play a key role during job search. Unfortunately, many job seekers cut corners, ending up with bland cover letters. Here are some simple tips to help you create persuasive, targeted and eye-catching cover letters.

Grab the attention: Insert a strong marketing headline above the opening paragraph. Use bold underlined font to make it stand out. Your headline can highlight a key achievement or how you’ll add value. This will create an immediate impact and grab the readers’ attention.

Targeted content: Many job seekers cut corners when writing a cover letter, often sending the same bland letter to multiple job applications. You MUST tailor your cover letter for each new job application. It’s very obvious when you haven’t made the effort to do this. A targeted cover letter will deliver better results. 

Short and sweet: Recruiters don’t have time to read lengthy cover letters, so resist the temptation to rewrite your CV in wordy paragraphs. Your cover letter should consist of three short paragraphs.

Paragraphs: Personalise the first paragraph, telling the reader why you’re interested in their role/company. In the second paragraph, tell the reader why they should interview you. Pick three key points relevant to the role you’re targeting. Tell the reader how you meet these key requirements, ensuring to back it up with evidence. 

Use bullet points: Bullet points are not the norm when writing cover letters. You should use bullet points in the second paragraph, highlighting the reasons why the employer should interview you. Bullet points will help draw the reader to this key information. 

Inject humour: Many cover letters are cold documents, lacking any real personality. Your cover letter provides the opportunity to inject heart and soul into a job application. A bit of humour can help your cover letter stand out. Some will tell you that humour is a risky strategy, but I think there’s greater risk in writing bland cover letters. 

Paul Mullan is founder of Measurability, a leading career and outplacement consultancy. Visit www.measurability.ie for more info about our outplacement, CV and interview coaching services.