When it comes to cover letters, we’re sure you’ve heard this before: “Cover letters don’t matter anymore.” And while it may be true that some hiring managers are no longer reading your cover letter, there are still many employers who do place an emphasis on it.
And those hiring managers who aren’t reading them? They usually still want you to send them one, even if they don’t read it.
While a cover letter may not hold as much weight as your resume, it does something that your resume will never be able to do; it can help convey your personality even before the hiring manager meets you. And when you are navigating through today’s competitive job market, the cover letter could be what gives you the edge over your competition.
So how do you make yourself stand out with a cover letter? Consider the following four approaches:
Don’t limit yourself to a traditional format
Because a cover letter can potentially make or break your chances of landing an interview, it’s understandable that this may be an area where you would rather play it safe with a “letter.” However, recent tech advancements and new platforms give you more opportunities to break the mold and be more innovative. Depending on what kind of position you are applying for, consider a different medium to convey your personality and strengths, such as a video or presentation that ties in with the company you are applying for.
Don’t worry about being too formal
When you write or present yourself in a cover letter, you want to be taken as seriously as possible. However, you also want to come off as a person and not a robot. So how do you find a balance between the two?
Depending on the company, the industry, and the application instructions in the job, don’t be afraid to use a more casual tone when addressing the hiring manager. While the hiring manager wants to see someone who is a strong professional with potential to thrive in their company, they also want to see someone with a personality and the ability to transition into the company’s culture. Don’t get too lax, but don’t worry if your gut tells you to write in a more conversational tone!
Emphasize your personality
Highlighting your personality is something we’ve mentioned already, but it can’t be stressed enough. Whereas your resume should mainly focus on your skills and experience, the cover letter is where a hiring manager will go to learn about you and what intangible qualities you can bring to the company. In your cover letter, be sure to highlight some of your best attributes, such as your work ethic, your communication skills, or your willingness to go above and beyond for your team.
Talk about hobbies and passions outside of the office
Again, this is dependent on the company and industry, but hiring manager are often curious to know the kind of things you like to do outside of the office. The reason for this is because your hobbies and outside passions can be indicative of how you may get along with the team you are being considered for. Not only does it give them a clearer picture of who you are, but it can provide a great conversation starter during the interview. Bonus points if you are able to tie in your outside hobbies with your professional persona!