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Write an Amazing Cover Letter: 3 Golden Rules (Template included) - read the full article about Quality Assurance 2021, QA Testing and Quality assurance from Jeff Su on Qualified.One
- When it comes to landing a first round interview, your resume might be more important than a cover letter in all ways but one.
A good cover letter evokes emotion in the reader.
Something even the best resume cannot do.
So in this video, Im gonna show you the three key things my friend Amanda did in her cover letter that ultimately landed her multiple offers in management consulting firms and bulge bracket investment banks.
And make sure to stay to the very end for our cover letter formatting power tip that I promise youve never heard of before.
Lets get started.
Hi, friends. Welcome back to the channel.
Before you even begin to write the cover letter for a full-time job or internship application, you might be wondering, is it even necessary? And the answer is always gonna be the same.
A good one wont guarantee you the job, but a bad one will ensure you dont even get the first round interview.
So lets break down the three things this cover letter got right.
Number one, and this is the most important tip, hook the reader in by mentioning a connection with the company.
If you do this right, itll keep them reading past the first paragraph and onto why you should have this position over the other applicants.
Lets take a look at what Amanda did in her example.
"Everyone tells me the entry-level consultant position in any of the Big 4 firms is gonna be the same.
However, after attending five career fairs and speaking with over 20 professionals, it has become clear to me EY stands out from the rest." Lets pause right here.
In this one sentence, Amanda does three things.
She first hooks the reader in by mentioning a common perception about the consulting industry that all entry-level positions are the same.
Then immediately contradicting that very statement.
Then she shows shes very proactive since shes been attending career fairs.
And finally, she makes it clear that something about Ernst and Young, something about EY stands out to her.
Arent you just a tiny bit curious as to what that is? In order for you to replicate what Amanda has done here with her cover letter hook, theres no way around doing some actual research.
Number one, speak with a minimum of three industry professionals and ask them targeted questions designed to provide you with specific insight into that role and industry.
Ive made an entire video on the best informational interview questions to ask doing coffee chats.
Ill link that up here and down below.
But in a nutshell, you wanna stay away from asking generic questions like, "Tell me about your day to day" and instead, reword that to something like, "What do you find most rewarding about your current role?" By making sales tweaks like this, you prompt the professional to tell you concrete examples that you can use in your cover letter which in turn shows a recruiter, without a shadow of a doubt, youve clearly done your homework.
Number two, if youre applying for roles where a software product is involved, such as Google ads, Facebook ads, Office 365, Amazon AWS, Salesforce CRM, you want to go to a website such as G2 and Capterra to get a firsthand look at customer testimonials and reviews since this will help you get a basic understanding of the product in a very short amount of time.
Final tip is to remember the connection you mentioned has to be relatable with the reader who is oftentimes the recruiter or hiring manager.
If youre applying for a position in Apple, probably dont say how youre gonna come up with the next big iPhone idea and instead, perhaps bring up their emphasis on privacy and how thats impacting the advertising industry.
And for all the fresh grads out there, the less qualified you are for the position, the more important this first paragraph.
You need to convince the hiring manager that your motivation, energy, willingness to learn will make you a stronger addition to the team than someone who might have a bit more experience but fail to be interesting in their cover letter.
Okay, I spent a lot of time on this first tip because if you dont get this right, none of other stuff matters because theyre not gonna keep reading.
Let me know down in the comments section below what roles youre applying for, and maybe I can reply with some hook ideas.
Cover letter tip number two, be purposeful about the information you include.
Put another way, each paragraph in your cover letter, or rather each sentence, should have a reason for being there.
In Amandas cover letter, there are no wasted words.
The first paragraph hooks the reader in and the second paragraph expands on that hook.
Too often, candidates start off their cover letters by saying, "Hi, my name is John.
I currently work here and Im applying for this position." Amanda skipped all that because she realized her resume and online application already told the recruiter all that information.
And the focus of the cover letter should be on why she, in particular, should be considered for a first round interview.
In our third and fourth paragraphs, Amanda highlights relevant achievements that tie into the responsibilities of the role shes applying for.
She spent two summers interning in management consulting firms and worked on a $2 million project.
She developed problem solving and project management skills.
And she received recognition for always being on top of deadlines.
She could have bought up leadership skills, how amazing she is a PowerPoint, or a strong background in data analytics.
But she knows to focus on the most important factors the recruiter for this role is looking for.
Deal size, project management skills, and reliability.
The last paragraph can be a bit more generic since usually you end the cover letter by thanking the reader for his or her time and reinforcing your strong desire to join their company.
Amanda adds a little bit of personality here by mentioning again, she has relevant work experience, differentiating her from the other applicants and emphasizing her project management abilities, a core skill of any capable consultant.
I just love how she uses the word "asset" here.
Not too cocky, not too modest, just right.
Cover letter tip number three.
Use a simple template and pay attention to white space.
Just take a look at these two cover letters.
Putting the formatting aside, which one do you instinctively prefer to read? Probably this one, especially if this person was able to include all the important information in a concise and structured way.
I especially like how the name and address section is in a separate column, meaning you dont have too much awkward white space.
And if you saw my resume video, you know that I really like having colored accents to give your cover letter a bit more personality while retaining that overall professional look and feel.
And many of you might not know this, but including a relevant job title right below your name is beneficial since your cover letter is usually scanned by robots when you upload it and then look for these keywords.
Finally, and heres my biggest power tip when it comes to cover letter formatting.
You might notice the first letter up top in the header here are two sizes larger than the rest.
This is by design.
So lets bring this back up to the same size.
Highlight the letters after the first one, press command + shift + comma twice to make it two sizes smaller.
And now, youre left with a rather unique yet professional-looking header for your cover letter.
To reward those of you who have stuck around until now, heres a link to download this exact template so you can reference it when youre writing your own amazing cover letter.
So circling back to the emotion aspect I mentioned at the beginning of the video.
After reading this cover letter, the recruiter might come to the conclusion that Amanda is witty, she has a relevant skillset, and shes driven.
All of which means that at least a first round interview is warranted.
As a next step, make sure to check out my video on how to write an incredible resume.
And if youre interviewing right now, make sure to check out this playlist on common interview questions and answers.
See you on the next video.
And in the meantime, have a great one.
Jeff Su: Write an Amazing Cover Letter: 3 Golden Rules (Template included) - QA Testing