How do you write a winning cover letter?
Well depending on how you look at it, this task may be easier or harder than you think.
But long story short is it all comes down to strategy.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re not going to win if you write an average cover letter, with zero strategy behind it, that reads like it was thrown together in a 20-minute rush.
Recruiters and hiring managers have seen so many cover letters that it only takes a few seconds for them to recognize if it’s what they’re looking for or not.
That means you can’t spend all week working on your resume and then allocate just one hour to write a cover letter—trust me, it won’t be any good.
I’d spend just as much time making my cover letter spectacular as I would my resume. And you should too if you want to give yourself the best chance to get a great job.
Because with tough competition, every element of your job search (mainly your resume, cover letter, and interview answers, but even your thank you note) needs to be executed at a high level. Nothing can be half done and roughly put together.
Now that I’ve established the importance of the cover letter, here’s how to write a winner.
How Do You Write A Winning Cover Letter?
Based on my wildly successful job search, coaching other people, and reviewing resumes and cover letters myself, I have the experience to know what makes a winning cover letter.
The winning cover letter:
- Makes it crystal clear why you want to work for their specific company
- Provides specific evidence that you would succeed in the role (aka you have relevant past experiences and skills)
- Shows your enthusiasm for the work
- Hints that you’re very confident in your ability
- Has zero grammar, punctuation, or accuracy mistakes
- Supports your resume, doesn’t repeat it in paragraph form
- Shines a light on your personality and people skills
That’s about all you need to write the winning cover letter.
Top candidates who win offers will have 6 to 7 of those traits in their cover letter, average candidates will have 3 to 4, and losing candidates will have 0 to 2.
However, as you probably know, execution is the name of the game.