Job seekers and LinkedIn users love to ask, “does HR even read cover letters anymore?” The answer is that it depends. Some HR or hiring people say they always read the cover letter. Other HR and hiring people say they never do. 

It doesn’t actually matter if they read it or not. You’ll write it as if you think they’ll read it, but you don’t write the cover letter for the hiring person. You write it to get clarity on why you’re applying for the job. 

The first things you need to know when writing a cover letter are:

  • why you want the job
  • what qualifies you for the job
  • what you’ll do for the company if you get the job

This is exactly what you need to know when they call you for the interview screening call. Take the time to write the cover letter properly now, so you can figure out if it’s even a job you want. If you can’t give a more compelling reason than “I need a job”, it isn’t the right job to apply for.

Look at the company you’re applying to. Write out 10 compelling reasons why you want to work for this particular company and in this particular role. Once you have 10 reasons, choose one or two to add in your cover letter, ideally the first paragraph.

 

 

Written strategically, you’re prepped for the job interview too

If you write your cover letter this way, you’ll have the answers for the first screening interview call.  They usually ask:

  • why do you want this job?
  • what qualifies you for this role?
  • what will you do for us if you were hired?

Writing a cover letter shouldn’t feel like torture. It should feel easy and take you less than 30 minutes.

The 8-step method of writing cover letters

When I work with clients, I teach an 8-step method to write an authentic cover letter. Authentic means the letter sounds like them and is interesting to read. They end up saying, “that was easy, it just flowed.” The difference between their old cover letter that had zero personality and their new one is huge. The old ones usually have cliche sayings, generalities, and include stuff like:

“I am an ambitious project manager with 10 years of experience”

“I know by reading the job ad and listed qualifications, I would be a great match.”

“We both value honesty, innovation and thinking outside of the box” (the most inside the box statement ever)

The new cover letter sounds fresh, inviting and like a real person wrote it.

Which would you rather read?

The most impressive cover letter I ever wrote

This may sound like folklore, but I once wrote a cover letter that was photocopied by a VP (with 35 years of HR experience). She circulated the cover letter around the entire office as “the best cover letter she ever saw.”  When I read that cover letter now, I groan. Technically, it’s not perfect. But, I understand why she was impressed by it. 

The cover letter was specific

The cover letter was authentic.

The cover letter addressed a possible barrier.

The cover letter made it seem like a would be a great fit for them and that I understood their work.

I share this infamous cover letter, plus the 8-step guide in the Writing Authentic Cover Letters course: https://lnkd.in/ed9MjrS

 

 

The course is worth taking if you find writing cover letters uninspiring. They can be a delight to write & read. Cover letters are one of the most helpful documents for a job seeker, whether they get read or not. They’re a gift for you and your search. 


Kerri Twigg

Career Coach | Job Search Strategist

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