Writing a disruptive cover letter 2021.
A well-structured and written covering letter could be the difference between you and a pool of talented candidates. A disruptive covering letter is what can give you this advantage over others and will ensure that your name, your experience, and your suitability for the position is not so easily forgotten.
There are a number of things to consider when writing a disruptive covering letter. Firstly, it is important to understand what a disruptive covering letter is. The ‘disruptive’ trend for covering letters encompasses information that strikes an audience’s attention in a way that isn’t common but not out of place. It is a something that stands out without needing a large, flashing sign that says, ‘pay attention, this is the good bit.’
A good disruptive covering letter is one that is subtle; one that highlights your expertise whilst also framing your qualities as something you can contribute to the business you’re applying for.
So, where do you begin?
The Necessities: Structure, Length, and Typeface
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of making a disruptive covering letter, it’s important to make sure your covering letter has a clean and formal structure; meets your length requirements; and has a clean typeface and font.
If you’re able to locate the details of the business, you should include a small header that addresses the business’ title, address, and relevant contact number. You should also include your own details in this section, highlighting your name, mobile and email contact details, and the area you live in. Following this, your covering letter needs a solid introduction. Simply writing ‘To Whom It May Concern’ is an opening that shows you have no interest in connecting with the business. Whenever possible, you should include the position contact’s name, but if this information is unavailable, the next best thing is to address the letter to the business’ Recruitment or Talent Team.
Now, depending on what kind of position you’re applying for, your covering letter may need to be a short and sweet one-pager, or a more detailed four-to-eight pages. Now, typically, a one-page covering letter is all you need, but if you’re looking at a senior executive position with a few dozen key selection criteria requirements, you’re going to want to make the most of your space.
The best way to do this is by taking full advantage of Word or Pages formatting. Using a non-serif typeface like Arial, Calibri, or Garamond are not only ATS compliant but also visually appealing to a reader, and if you need to, you can adjust your font-size from anywhere between 10pt to 12pt. But what about when you have just one line over your page limit, but your font size is already getting a bit too small? Simply refer to your Layout Tab and the ‘after’ spacing box and lower the number until your content is all on one page.
The Good Stuff: Experience, Achievements, and Qualifications
This is what you came here for: how to highlight your experience in a way that not only reflects what you can do, but also what you can bring to your soon-to-be new employer.
It’s important to note here that your covering letter is not an overview of your resume, nor should you just be copying over bits and pieces to fill in space. You need to be reading the requirements of the position closely and then taking a good look at your own experience to see what is transferable.
So, what do you cover? For a standard covering letter, you’re going to want to look at your most recent and related experience. All you need is a few concise sentences to highlight what it is you do, and this should also be related to the position you’re applying for. Then, it’s time to put your best foot forward with your career highlights and achievements: the application of your skills in the context of your role that demonstrate what you can do for a business. Managing workforces, facilitating training, delivering projects on time and to budget, and achieving KPIs are all solid examples that will show a recruiter you have the experience that meets their needs.
Lastly, you want to address your qualifications. All you need here is a few simple statements outlining the degrees, diplomas, or certifications you have. These should never preface your experience; by including them later in the covering letter, you’re implying that these qualifications are the foundation of the experience you have gained in your career. Now, if you don’t have qualifications, or ones that are related to the position, don’t panic. You can use this space instead to include a statement on how your experience is transferable and ways in which you plan to use that experience to contribute to the business, or even highlight your intentions to undertake further training to meet the requirements of the position.
You don’t want to ramble here though. A disruptive covering letter should include a brief statement that your further achievements can be viewed in your resume, so that a recruiter feels compelled to read your resume and see what else you can bring to the table.
The Cherry on Top: You
For a lot of people, it is not easy to talk to your experience or to convincingly sell yourself. That’s where a disruptive covering letter can really make a difference for you.
You don’t need to make any grand statements about yourself; you just need to be you. Authenticity is important, and like most things, less is more in this regard. A disruptive covering letter should include a small statement that prefaces your experience: one that not only highlights who you are and what your expertise is in a few short sentences, but also what your interest in the role is. This not only gives a recruiter a five-second impression of you, but why you are applying. More importantly, it shows them you’re already considering your place in the business and what you can contribute to it.
You’ll want to close your covering letter in a similar way. Remember how your teachers always told you that your conclusion should match your introduction? The same principle applies here. You want to reiterate your experience in no more than one or two sentences in direct relation to some of the key elements of the job you’re applying for before following that up with a statement that outlines what you intend to contribute to the business. Once again, you’re showing your interest in the role, not as someone just applying for any job on the market, but as someone seriously considering how to enhance that business.
Consider using a professional resume and cover letter writing services agency
Job searches have become more competitive, more brutal, and more likely to end in failure in 2020, and that’s likely to continue next year. With more people out of a job — and extremely talented people at that — applicants per job are well above pre-coronavirus levels. That means job seekers need to beat out more competitors to successfully land a suitable position.
Unfortunately, a lot of talented people without professional resume writers behind them aren’t even getting interviews.
Executive Agents, for example, uses a professional design team to optimise your resume template for ATS — applicant tracking systems. If you don’t have your resume optimised, chances are you won’t even get past the machine that automatically rejects almost 90 per cent of applicants.
Executive Agents is a 100 per cent Australian company with all employees in Australia. We’re also constantly innovating in the face of cutting-edge changes in the recruitment sector, such as LinkedIn, ATS, and COVID-19 trends.
If you’re looking to update your resume to land your dream job in 2021, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for a free 15-minute consultation today.