10 rules for a modern cover letter

What is the problem with cover letters? Most of them resemble crude job applications, full of pleonasms and worthless information. How to breathe life into it?

1. Correct formatting

At a time when cover letters were written by hand, formatting was limited to paragraphs only. There are many more possibilities nowadays. It is worth using them to make the letter more readable, capture the reader’s eyes and lead it wherever you want.

2. Use of colors / logos

Do you want to stand out? You can do it with just a few clicks. Add a color to the cover letter (without exaggeration, however), complete the company data with its logo. Show a little inventiveness (but using good taste). All you have to do is use the company’s colors (e.g. you make a border of the letter in the colors of the logotype) to make the document you send look like it matches the company.

3. Lack of pleonasms

In other words, you must remove from the letter everything that is “butter”. It should be short and to the point. Therefore, do not explain that you are sending a letter in response to a recruitment advertisement (this is the reference number or e-mail title), do not explain that you want to get a job (otherwise you would not send a CV or a letter).

4. The right length

Right or what? Many people try to fill the entire one page. For this purpose they use various tricks – complex sentences, large font, huge line spacing. Others create an epic that closes in three pages. Both forms are bad. The cover letter should take no more than a page (no one will read any more), besides, a longer letter testifies to your ego’s overgrowth and the difficulty of creating consistent and short statements. It should not be created in a hurry or consist of 2-3 sentences (this is something you can include in the e-mail). Therefore, if you already decide to write a letter, include it in 3-5 paragraphs, each of which has 4-5 lines. The first is the so-called a game in which you introduce yourself. The next 2-3 are your experience and potential that you can bring to the company and professional plans. The last one is a short summary answering the question why you should be invited to a meeting.

5. Reading the letter cannot take more than 10 seconds

The principle is strongly related to the length of the letter and its formatting. The time spent by the recruiter on reading the cover letter should not take more than 10 seconds.

6. Correct sender’s details

There is no need to enter the exact postal address (which still happens) or landline phone number. The cell number, email address and internet address are more important.

7. No truisms

Do you want to find a good job, develop yourself, use knowledge practically? These are truisms that are so obvious that you can forgive them. They do not give you any advantage over competitors, and their use shows that you can not find yourself in modern business correspondence.

8. Use of links

Use modern technologies. Do you want to boast of a project in which you participated and which is described on the Internet? Throw a link to it. Do you have your own online portfolio? Also link them. Do you want to show how well you can use the presentation tool? Insert a link to the example you did. Are you interested in photography? Post a link to a folder with your work. Take advantage of the opportunities offered by being online.

9. Cover letter as sales offer

When creating a cover letter, think that this is your sales offer. You sell yourself and want to convince the buyer (employer) to buy what is hidden in you. Model yourself after what companies do by creating sales offers. Focus on benefits for the employer, not benefits for yourself.

10. Place the letter online

Do you want to be sure that your letter will be read? Put a link to it in your CV and place the letter on the web (even through a Google document). For example, you can place a link in your CV where you write about your skills (fluent ability to create documents online – check here) or describe tasks in a given position.

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