The biggest mistake you can make writing your cover letter.

imagesDating profiles, LinkedIn profiles, About Us pages and even cover letters are all about marketing yourself.

The environments in which they’re posted are competitive ones. Other people are vying for the same attention you are.

It’s the first impression you make.

It’s also your only chance at making a lasting impression.

That’s imperative especially when it comes to cover letters.

Imagine the job of a potential employer or recruiter in the midst of a search. They could be reading dozens, if not hundreds, of cover letters in a short period of time.

Let’s pretend that they’re searching for a Marketing Manager. Can you imagine how many times they read variations of this opening line:

Please consider the following application for the position of Marketing Manager.

I’d want to poke my eye out (actually I wouldn’t – I watched an episode of Gotham the other day where a character did exactly that and I’ve been traumatized since!).

Point being, it’s boring. It’s not the way to leave an impression.

So how do you start a cover letter?

You begin with empathy. You truly consider your audience. It’s the first step to every single successful marketing initiative.

Chances are your target (that is, the potential employer or recruiter) will have to comb through countless cover letters, many of which are redundant. In addition, they’re objective is to find someone who meets pre-determined qualifications.

So give them the qualifications right up front in the opener and do it in a way that’s refreshing.

For instance:

I’ve lead product launches for three of the world’s largest brands. I grew key accounts by 80% in my first year of work. I’ve won Best National Sales Consultant for six consecutive years.

Still, joining your firm would be my greatest accomplishment.

Though I’m making all this up, hopefully my points have been made:

3 points to remember

1) I took a refreshing approach to the opener so that I wouldn’t contribute yet another redundancy. In doing so, I’ve increased the likelihood of being memorable.

2) I gave the target exactly what they’re looking for and, as such, would make them interested enough to read more.

3) I followed my “bragging” with a humble approach that also has ego-appeal to the reader.

That entire strategy began by first understanding the audience and, in doing so, the challenges they – and you – would be up against.

You don’t need to use stats as an opener either. Here’s one I did for a candidate going after a position with a fine chocolate company that also gives a percentage of profits to various charities.

A lot of good goes into your chocolate. But it’s the good that comes out of it that makes me want to be your next Community Engagement Coordinator. 

Again, though the opener establishes the position that‘s being applied for, it does so in a fresh and memorable way.

For help with your cover letter, be sure to hire me for a 15-minute consultation.

You can also find insight on how to improve your marketing efforts by having a look at my professional profile samples and by signing up for my monthly newsletter.


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