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Write a cover letter

Deep in the mountains, you encounter a seemingly impassable obstacle. As you consider turning back, the stones begin to rumble and a massive golem rises before you. “Tell me traveler, why have you come here?”

Deep in the mountains, you encounter a seemingly impassable rock formation. As you consider turning back, the stones begin to rumble and a massive golem rises before you.

“Tell me traveler, why have you come here?”

Write a Cover Letter

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough.”

– Melody Beattie

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a short body of text that accompanies your resume and provides additional context and information to a potential employer. Although it can manifest in any number of ways, a cover letter typically includes an introduction, a summary of skills and qualifications, and a compelling call-to-action. The best cover letters are friendly, informative, and customized for every application.

Why is a cover letter important?

Your cover letter is an opportunity to add depth and character to your resume. You may be the biggest, baddest, most detail-oriented applicant in town, but these days organizations are looking for individuals who resonate with their company culture, mission, and core values. When competing in a global arena against highly skilled applicants from all walks of life, technical qualifications are great, but they may not be enough. To this end, a genuine, personable introduction can help establish you as “one of the team”.

Tips for writing an excellent cover letter:

  • Keep it short. Many applicants confuse the reader with too much information, too fast. Instead of writing your life story, share just enough detail to pique the reader’s interest before guiding them to your resume or suggesting an interview.
  • Don’t be afraid to let your hair down. Showing a bit of character can provide a welcome relief from an otherwise dry bit of literature.
  • Imply specific interest by addressing the company and position directly. If your cover letter sounds like you copy/pasted it for a hundred other positions, you may come across as a disinterested applicant.
  • Maintain a clear and consistent message. The sharper your focus, the more impact your letter will have. Ideally, try to identify the employer’s primary need and use that insight to guide your cover letter.
  • Remember to proofread. Small grammar and spelling mistakes can have a huge impact on the way you’re perceived. “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
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Many of life’s obstacles are an illusion. The difficulties we imagine are often far greater than the real obstacles we face by taking action. You can do this!

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“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

– C.S. Lewis

How to format a cover letter

Much like an essay, a cover letter typically follows a 3-part structure: introduction, body, and conclusion. Depending on the specifics of your application, your letter can be anywhere from a few sentences to a few paragraphs long. Regardless of the final length, be sure to include some version of the following elements.

Introduction

A cover letter introduction communicates 2 essential details: who you are and why you contacted the reader. It’s good practice to dispel any uncertainty early on and establish context before bringing up further details. If you can make the hiring manager feel like they know you, and more importantly, like you understand their needs, you’ll go a long way in terms of softening the skepticism response and inspiring openness, trust, and curiosity.

Body

The body of a cover letter should explain why you, of all people, are the right candidate for the job. To make a strong case, start by analyzing the job description and identify any potential problems the employer may need to solve. Once you get a sense of what the company is looking for, find specific examples of how you were able to meet those needs in the past and share any experiences that would be particularly useful in the context of the job you’re applying for.

Conclusion

The purpose of a conclusion is to invite the hiring manager to take further action. You can reiterate your desire to work for the company and remind the reader why you are the perfect fit for the position. Depending on the context, you may want to bring up the idea of an interview or invite the hiring manager to follow up with additional questions. Be sure to sign off with an enthusiastic ‘ready when you are’ attitude, and make your contact information readily available after your closing/salutation.

“Your personality determines whether people are attracted to you, or shy away from you. It is the show-wind in which you display your character to the world, and it is the one thing which distinguishes you from all other human beings.” — Napoleon Hill
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If  you know the kind of life you’d like to create, there’s no reason not to take action. The smallest step taken right now, is worth more than a thousand brilliant ideas left undone. 

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“Don’t lose hope. When the sun goes down, the stars come out.”

– Unknown

How to start a cover letter?

Introducing yourself to strangers can be one of the most nerve-racking experiences. The fear may not be as prevalent when we’re communicating through a digital platform, but applicants still have a tendency to overthink their cover letters. At the risk of speaking in platitudes: be yourself, don’t overthink it, and speak from the heart. You can be serious, quirky, or downright weird (within reason of course) if that’s who you are. Let’s take a look at why it may be a good strategy to stay true to yourself…

From a very young age, we’re taught that one of the most important things in life is to earn the approval of others. Rather than living in line with our own character and impulses, we spend countless hours refining strategies to gain the approval of people we often don’t even like. By rejecting yourself in this way and adopting a false persona, we quickly develop a deep-seated resentment towards anyone and anything that “makes you act that way”. With time, we start to project the pain of our own self-inflicted rejection onto others, further reinforcing the need to play the part and setting up a vicious cycle that can be incredibly difficult to break out of.

The best philosophy in life is one that feels natural to you. Use the best parts of your personality to build a powerful, self-inspired communication strategy that relies on your innate gifts.

So how do you actually start writing a cover letter? You just do! As the Chinese philosopher Laozi once said – “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” If you’re at a loss for words, just start typing for 15 minutes and see what comes out naturally. Use this as a base to further clarify your message. You can always use a cover letter template, but chances are it won’t be as impactful or natural as one that comes from your direct experience. If you do decide to use a template, be sure to add a bit of personal flair.

Sample cover letter introductions

  • Playful and confident – Hello. My name is Ellen Broadway (aka Banana Republic’s worst nightmare). I also happen to be a rock-star fashion designer with 7+ years of experience working in the NY Rockabilly scene.
  • Personal and direct – Hi Jack, I’m Jill, a software developer with 11+ years of green tech experience. I’m applying to be a data analyst for Tesla because I love innovation and want to be a part of something larger than life!
  • Serious and formal – Greetings, My name is Hugh Lori and over the past two decades, I’ve managed client-side operations for some of the world’s largest corporations. I’m writing in regards to the account manager position currently listed at Groupon.

How to end a cover letter?

Ending a cover letter may not be as difficult as getting one started, but there are a few essential details to consider if you want to leave a memorable impression. Remember that life is a process – every ending is a new beginning. Therefore, you should never conclude your letter with an air of finality. Rather than saying “thank you for your time” and leaving it at that, make sure to guide the reader towards a logical next action.

It may be tempting to assume a passive role throughout your application, but studies show that our psychology is wired to pay attention to confident, assertive individuals who know what’s next. Instead of waiting to see if you get a response, actively invite the reader to pursue the relationship further. You can mention that you’re available for an interview or simply ask if the hiring manager has any more questions about your experience or qualifications. This opens the door for further conversation and increases your chances of getting a response.

Sample cover letter conclusions:

  • Simple and welcoming – Thank you for taking the time to read my cover letter! If you think we might be a good fit, I’d love to schedule an interview at your earliest convenience.
  • Quick and direct – If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
  • Curious and enthusiastic – I would be thrilled to discuss your organization’s current challenges, opportunities, and requirements in person or over the phone.
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Before the universe can bring you what you want, you must cultivate the certainty that it can be yours. Drop the limiting beliefs and watch your life flower into something beautiful.

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