Cover letters are considered the trickiest part of a resume – the part where you have to sell yourself and your skills. The trend of ‘disruptive’ cover letters has taken off recently as a new way to guarantee your cover letter and resume are considered by prospective employers, and it’s not as hard as you might think. Now, you may be asking; what is a disruptive cover letter?
Simply speaking, it’s a way of grabbing the attention of the reader and making your cover letter stand out from what is bland and unassuming. In writing, disrupting a reader with a shocking statement makes them focus in on what’s happening. Apply that to your CV, and you now have the attention of your maybe new boss. So, what’s the best way to go about it?
Your cover letter should always start with an introduction. Depending on what kind of job it is, you could work with a casual ‘Hello John’ or a more formal ‘Dear Jane.’ It shows that you not only paid attention to the job listing, but that you also intend to make a connection and communicate with the employer in an engaging fashion. Thanks to the internet and recruitment agencies, it’s much easier these days to find out who exactly is hiring.
However, sometimes an advertiser might be private, or simply not listed. In this case, starting off your cover letter with a ‘to whom it may concern’ is still a bad idea. It’s far too rigid, too distant. Another option would be to say ‘To [insert company name] Recruitment Team’ or ‘Dear [insert company name] HR Department.’ It shows that you are trying to connect with the individuals or the team involved in filling that position.
2. Format and Length
When writing your cover letter, you should not write it on a blank document. There’s nothing disruptive about black text on white paper; nothing to grab the attention of your employer.
Thankfully, a lot of templates exist out there that can make your cover letter stand out – some can even match it to your resume format. Your cover letter format should be simple and sweet; 11-12 font size, a clean typeface such as Garamond, Calibri, or Times New Roman, and paragraph breaks. Always remember to indent the first line of each paragraph; it breaks up the text and makes it easier to read.
And remember, don’t ramble! If you do, a recruiter is going to move onto the next resume. Keep your cover letter concise – you don’t want to be submitting a novella. One page is more than enough to introduce yourself, highlight your skills, and thank them for considering your application.
3. Highlight your experience
Your cover letter is not an overview of your resume, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the opportunity to sell yourself. In your cover letter, you should highlight your experience and frame it in ways that benefit the business. Recruiters aren’t used to seeing the forward-thinking of job seekers putting themselves in the mind-frame of already being an employee, and it will ensure they look closely at your resume to see if you make the cut.
4. Personalise yourself
Hard to believe, but recruiters are not looking for mindless drones to fill a position. They want to see engaged and driven future employees, willing to take the initiative. The best way to do this is to personalise your cover letter and emphasise your skills and what you can do for the business. The more you reinforce your skills by telling them what you can do and what you are willing to learn on the job shows a recruiter you are prepared to invest time in the business – and shows a level of dedication at the same time.
5. Goodbye, for now
Your cover letter should always have a polite conclusion, but most importantly, you should always show that you are thankful for the opportunity to apply for the job.
The best way to do this is to end your cover letter with a final statement, such as ‘thank you for considering my application’ or ‘I look forward to discussing the role with you in future.’ It shows that you are prepared to enter the role and that you have confidence in your own resume.
6. Sound complicated?
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