A cover letter can be a vital tool for setting you apart during a job search. The key to a great cover letter is that it has to be to targeted specifically towards the company and job you are interested in. Templates rarely work well in any form and especially not for a cover letter. Many employers have admitted they do not read cover letters because they are often boring and unoriginal. Everyone wants to feel special and companies are no different. That’s why it’s important that you take the time to research the company in detail. Read about the company culture, community outreach, press releases, awards received, and, if possible, connect with people who work there to gain additional insight about the company. Targeting your cover letter may seem a bit time consuming but it will pay off in the end.
There are several different types of cover letters. A pain letter is one example of a cover letter you can use when applying to jobs that will help you stand out.
Pain Letter – Designed by Liz Ryan, CEO of Human Workplace, this non-traditional cover letter will certainly grab the hiring manager’s attention. The idea around this letter is that companies hire people who are able to solve problems for them. Every company has a set of challenges or “pain” that they are experiencing at the moment. Your job is to position yourself as the solution to the “pain” they are experiencing. There are 3 short paragraphs to this approach.
The 1st paragraph grabs the reader’s attention by mentioning the hiring manager by name and talking about a specific accomplishment the company has achieved. Again, this will require some research to find out who the hiring manager is. You can usually find this information on the company website, LinkedIn, or conducting research online. You can find out specific information about the company achievements on their website under press releases.
The 2nd paragraph addresses the business pain. This is where you make an educated guess as to the challenges the business may be facing. Maybe they are growing and they will need great new employees. Whatever the case, during your research you will spot trends on the happenings inside the company or you connect with a company insider to find out more information about the challenges.
The 3rd paragraph talks about a time when you experienced a similar challenge that the company may be facing and you were successful in addressing that challenge. Finally, you close the letter with a few sentences about the next steps in the interview process and request a meeting.
Look for more examples of non-traditional cover-letters in blogs to come. In the meantime, WGU’s Career & Professional Development Center has put together all the resources you need to feel confident and prepared! Review WGU’s cover letter resources to help you create a compelling letter. For a critique of your resume or cover letter or individual assistance in creating your own pain letter, contact your WGU Career & Professional Development Specialist.