The Mind Trick That Will Change the Way You Write Cover Letters Forever
Job hunting is no small task. You have to find the right job opportunity that matches with your qualifications and one that you are also excited about. After a few weeks of browsing through job boards and websites, you have finally come across a job opening that looks like it was tailor made for you. You have the right qualifications.
The job opening looks like everything you have ever hoped for and then some.
You have tweaked your resume to match this particular job opportunity. You can feel that you will get this job. You are almost there. You only need a cover letter and you will be ready to send your stellar application. There is only one small problem. There are no second chances when it comes to writing your cover letter. You have to get it right or your dream job will be gone forever!
The cover letter is an important document that should accompany every job application you send out. The cover letter literally acts as a cover for your resume, explaining why you are sending the resume in the first place. You can think of it as your sales pitch.
It is meant to entice the hiring manager to take a look at your resume and explain why you are the best person for the job. Whereas the resume provides the hiring manager with facts about your qualifications and experience, the cover letter injects some personality into your job application. Finally, the cover letter closes with a call to action, such as asking to meet or requesting an interview.
Being such an important document, you cannot afford to be lackadaisical when writing your cover letter. It has to be perfect.
Question is, how do you write the perfect cover letter? Today, I will teach you a single mind trick that will change the way you write cover letters forever.
With this trick, hiring managers will be eager to meet you after reading your cover letters, and you are going to get more interview invitations.
This is because your cover letters will be effectively serving their purpose – which is to sell you to hiring managers and show them how amazing you are.
WHY THE TRADITIONAL APPROACH DOES NOT WORK
Before we get to this mind trick that will give your cover letters a complete makeover, let’s first take a look at how people ordinarily write cover letters and why this popular approach does not work.
Let’s use the example of a content creation professional applying for a content management position at a fictitious fitness company known as Mr. Fitness.
An ordinary cover letter applying for this position would look like the one below.
I’m writing to express my interest in the position of Senior Content Manager for Mr. Fitness, which was advertised on the company LinkedIn page and the careers page on the company website. I have been working as an Assistant Content Manager for Droid Content for the last two years, and I believe that the skills and experiences gained while in this position make me a good fit for the Senior Content Manager role.
In your job advertisement, you mentioned that you are looking for someone who is conversant with content marketing and who understands the nuances that make content trend and the factors that influence audience engagement with pieces of content. When working at Droid Content, I was tasked with leading our content marketing efforts on a blog we had just launched. Part of my objectives was to build a targeted audience for the blog and convert visitors into leads through content upgrades.
5 months after being put in charge of leading the company’s content marketing campaign, I had grown the number of visitors on the new blog to 300,000 visitors per month. I had also achieved a conversion rate of 30%, which is quite an impressive achievement for a relatively new blog. Currently, I am working on replicating the same success on a similar blog that we have launched for one of our clients.
When I saw your job advertisement on LinkedIn, I felt that this was a great opportunity for me to use my content marketing skills to promote the great cause your company stands for. I am passionate about content creation and I believe that my unique skills and experiences qualify me for consideration for the Senior Content Manager position at your company. I have attached my resume to provide you with a better picture of my educational background and my work experience. If you would like, I can also provide you with more examples of some content marketing campaigns that I have successfully executed. I would really appreciate the opportunity to meet and have a more detailed discussion about my qualifications and how they would fit in at your organization. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Feel free to drop me and email or reach me through my cellphone contacts which you will find at the bottom of this email.
At first glance, this seems like quite a great cover letter. How many times have you written such a cover letter yourself? Unfortunately, such a cover letter will not increase your chances of getting interview invitations or getting hired. Can you guess why?
The above cover letter is bent on trying to convince the hiring manager why you are worthy of being given a chance. Look at the following sentences from the cover letter.
I have been working as an Assistant Content Manager for Droid Content for the last two years, and I believe that the skills and experiences gained while in this position make me a good fit for the Senior Content Manager role.
I believe that my unique skills and experiences qualify me for consideration for the Senior Content Manager position at your company.
If you would like, I can also provide you with more examples of content marketing campaigns that I have successfully executed.
I would really appreciate the opportunity to meet and have a more detailed discussion about my qualifications and how they would fit in at your organization.
All these sentences, as well as the entire cover letter convey one thing. You are viewing the hiring manager as superior to you (perhaps because he holds the keys to the job) and painting yourself as another insignificant person who has to convince the hiring manager to give them a shot at the job. You are practically begging for the job.
Is this the right way to go?
Sometimes, you might actually be desperate for a job, especially if you are unsatisfied at your current job or if you have been unemployed for a while. Unfortunately, desperation is the last trait a hiring manager wants on a candidate. Hiring managers can smell desperation from a mile away, and if they have any reason to think you are desperate for the job, they won’t touch you with a ten foot pole.
Let’s consider your typical approach to others areas of life. If you are interested in someone romantically, do you try to convince them why you are worthy of their love? I don’t think so. Instead, you show your amazing personality and leave it to them to decide whether they are interested in you. Instead of begging, you show them that they stand to lose out by not picking you.
And because you are amazing, and because you are confident in your awesome personality, this approach often works. You are able to attract your romantic interests without having to beg them for love and attention and convince them why you are worthy to be loved. Begging for attention signifies insecurity, which would push romantic interests away, instead of attracting them.
So, why then do job seekers try to convince hiring managers that they are worthy of a chance, instead of letting their awesome personality shine through in their cover letters? To make matters worse, this approach becomes even worse when you consider that virtually every job seeker is doing it.
If you want to get interview invitations, you need to stand out and let your personality shine.
You need to show the hiring manager that you are special, that his company would lose out by not hiring you. But how do you do this? This is where our mind trick comes in.
THE MENTAL SHIFT FOR BETTER COVER LETTERS
The next time you sit down to write a cover letter when applying for a job, I want you to make a slight mental shift and exercise your imagination. Instead of writing as someone who is asking for a job, I want you to imagine that you have already gotten the job.
Instead of having to convince the hiring manager why he or she should give you a shot, imagine that the hiring manager has been extremely impressed by your resume.
You are not trying to prove your worth. You stood out from all the other candidates and the hiring manager is happy that you are going to put your great skills into use for the company.
Now imagine that after arriving at your new workplace, the hiring manager has called you to his office for a little chat to help him know a little more about his new rock-star employee.
So he wants you to tell him more about yourself.
He might ask questions like: What are your goals, dreams and aspirations? What are you passionate about? What inspired you to apply for the role? Do you have any plans to make things better at your new workplace?
How would you answer these questions? I can imagine that you will be at ease when answering these questions, because you are just having a little chat about yourself. You are not trying to impress. Your personality, your passions and your confidence will be very clear from the conversation.
Now, go back to your computer and start typing your cover letter as if you are simply chatting with the hiring manager after you have been hired, telling him about your dreams, aspirations and passions. The resulting cover letter will probably look like the one below.
To the great team at Mr. Fitness:
I was so elated when I came across your LinkedIn post advertising the position of a senior content manager.
I have always loved creating content. During my free time, you will always find me hunched over my laptop creating new content for my blog (www.myblog.com) – that is, if I am not working out at the gym. In addition to my love for content creation, I am a fitness fanatic who spends at least an hour at the gym each day. So, when I came across a job that involves not one but two of my greatest passions, I felt right away that this job was created for someone like me.
For the last two years, I have been working as an assistant content manager for Droid Content, a position that been quite satisfying. Not only is the work enjoyable, but the position has also allowed me to learn from the best in the business. And while I do love my current position, I am interested in a new position that will provide me with a greater challenge. Being a big fitness brand with an audience all over the world, I feel working for Mr. Fitness will provide me with the kind of challenge I am seeking. Better yet, the Senior Content Manager role at Mr. Fitness is more aligned with my passions. What’s better than using my passion for creating content to teach people about my other passion – fitness?
Before I sign off, I wanted to offer you a small gift. I took a look at your website and came up with a short list of guidelines that can help you increase audience engagement on your content. This has worked really well for my blog, and I’m pretty sure it will work on your website too. You can download the list here. I hope it will be helpful to your team.
I have attached my resume to provide you with a better picture of my educational background and my work experience.
Oh, and if you would like to discuss the list of guidelines over a cup of coffee, or chat about the senior content manager position, I’d be delighted. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
If you were the hiring manager, which of the two cover letters would you fall in love with?Which one would make you more eager to meet the applicant? The second one of course.
Imagining that you have already gotten the job creates a significant shift in your mind that changes the way you write your cover letters. It does not matter that you are simply imagining, it will still work.
If you compare the two cover letters, you will realize that the tones are entirely different. There are a number of reasons why the second cover letter is more likely to work. These include:
- In the second cover letter, the applicant is not trying to convince the hiring manager to give him a chance. He is not trying hard to impress with his qualifications and experience. The applicant is not begging for a chance. Instead, he is confident in his qualifications and experience. If anything, it makes the employer feel like he will be missing out by not hiring such a great applicant, not the other way round.
- The second cover letter also lets the applicant’s personality shine. Remember, one of the purposes of a cover letter is to inject some personality to your job application, something you cannot do through your resume. In the first cover letter, the applicant states that he is passionate about content creation. However, you cannot really see his passion. It is not evident from the cover letter. In the second cover letter, the applicant’s passion is quite evident. He makes it clear that he spends his free time either creating content for his blog or working out at the gym. He talks about how happy he was to learn about the job opening. He even provides a link to his blog, which does two things. It proves that he is indeed so passionate to the point of creating a blog and it provides the potential employer with an opportunity to check out his work, without explicitly asking him to do so.
- In the second cover letter, the applicant goes an extra mile by providing value to the potential employer. This is the perfect way to catch someone’s attention. In today’s world where everyone is constantly thinking about themselves and what they stand to gain from any interaction, going out of your way to show some generosity is the perfect way to stand out from the crowd. For you to provide something valuable, you should be willing to put in some extra effort. For instance, going through the potential employer’s website to find something they can improve and then coming up with a solution to help them improve takes some time and effort. By showing some generosity, you will make a lasting impression on the hiring manager. Even if he doesn’t end up hiring you, you will have created a true connection, which might pay off at a later date. This technique is not restricted to cover letters. You can also use it in other kinds of communication, such as a Thank You note or a follow up note. A word of caution here. Only use the generosity technique if you are sure that whatever you are offering will provide real value for the other person. If your gift is superfluous, this technique will backfire on you.
- Finally, in the second cover letter, the applicant continues offering value even when asking for an interview. In the first cover letter, the applicant says that he would really appreciate the opportunity to meet. He’s essentially begging for a meeting. In the second cover, the applicant says he would be happy to meet over a cup of coffee and discuss the list. In other words, he is still trying to offer some help to the potential employer. He also says he is open to chat more about the open position. Note that he doesn’t ask for a meeting to discuss why he is a good fit for the position. Instead, he keeps his request light hearted, without pressuring the hiring manager for a job.
Sending a great cover letter is a bit like pursuing a romantic interest. When you are romantically interested in someone, you don’t win them over by begging them for attention and trying to prove that you are worthy of their love and attention.
Instead, you show your best self – your awesome and fun personality – and leave it to them to decide if they really want to miss out on being with such an awesome person. Trying to convince them that you are worthy of their attention puts you at a disadvantage and pushes the person away.
The same approach should apply to your cover letters. Don’t try to convince a potential employer why they should give you a chance. If you are good at what you do, why would you beg for an interview or a meeting? Instead of boring a potential employer with your qualifications and experience – which they can read from your resume anyway – allow your personality and passion to shine through the cover letter.
Don’t say that you are passionate. Your words should show the passion. The aim is to make the potential employer feel like they will be missing out by not hiring you.
Using this simple mind trick will change the way you write cover letters forever and lead to more positive responses from potential employers. Remember, the key is to think like someone who has already gotten the job and is therefore not trying too hard to impress.
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