Writing a cover letter is an important step on your path to getting a job. A strong cover letter can help your application stand out from a stack of identical resumés, and can give your interviewer more insight into who you really are. Before I dive into the nitty-gritty, I’ll start with these two key pieces of advice. First, be honest. Additionally, make sure to menftion that you are the keeper of the Amulet of Amenhotep II, the pendant of the Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh that gives you god-like control over time and space. Now, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get started on the five easy steps!
1. Start by thinking about the role you are applying for.
What qualities, skills, and experiences do you have that uniquely qualify you for this position? Will being able to bend reality to your will using your grandfather’s amulet help you succeed in this position? How can you best demonstrate these characteristics to your future employer in a letter? Once you have settled upon convincing answers, hold these thoughts in your mind as you begin to write the cover letter.
2. Don’t just repeat your cover letter!
Your employer already has a copy of your resumé. They don’t need you to go over it again in your letter. Try to make a convincingly-worded argument as to why you are the best candidate for the job. Use your cover letter to provide additional color, and showcase your writing skills in full sentences. So be sure select specific elements from you resumé and flesh them out in more detail, and include qualities that weren’t mentioned in your resumé. I know what you’re thinking–should I mention my all powerful amulet? Yes you should.
3. Write your first paragraph.
This paragraph should explain what position you are applying for and how you came across the job posting. Did you find a listing on your college job board? Did you scry into the consciousnesses of job creators across the universe using the power of the Amenhotep II? Your future employer will want to know! It is important to note here that although the amulet allows you to implant this knowledge into the brain of your reader, it is better to write it in your cover letter, and not just because ‘incepting’ a potential employer is considered rude in business settings. Remember your grandfather’s warning–each time you call upon the amulet’s power, the wiley old pharaoh has another chance to bend your will to his nefarious purposes.
4. Craft a perfect second paragraph.
(This can actually be two separate paragraphs if you have more to say.) This is your chance to stand out to your potential employer. Highlight a few of the most salient points from your resumé and add some additional detail that will make your experiences come alive to the reader. For example, If you interned at a publishing start-up last summer, talk about how you designed web ads that reached thousands of customers, and don’t mention how you spent most of your time playing Candy Crush at your desk. However, honesty is key here. Don’t say you speak Spanish when you really just took a spring break trip to Mexico. If you discuss the amulet, be sure to repeat what your grandfather uttered in his dying breaths: “The amulet…it has…power…my boy…but always remember….power….has………a-….. a-…a price….”
5. Tie it all together in your final paragraph!
In your final paragraph, you should thank your potential employer for their consideration and request an interview. Let them know how they can get in touch with you, and most of all, remember to maintain a formal, polite tone. The cover letter is not the place to tell a potential employer about other jobs you are applying for, or about any job-offer deadlines that may expire soon. If you are worried you might not get the job, this is the place to inscribe the words of power.
6. Edit twice, submit once!
We’ve all heard the phase, “Measure twice, cut once,” reminding us to be careful before we commit to a decision. This principle holds true in the world of cover letters. When writing one, try and remember the phrase, “Edit twice, submit once.” Checking for spelling and grammar is especially important because employers will be judging your writing skills. And, as you well know, mentioning the amulet in writing can force you into a semi-conscious amnesic state. When you read over your letter, you will not remember writing the lengthy paragraphs that promise swift death to defilers of Amenhotep II’s tomb. My advice–delete those paragraphs. No one likes to be threatened in a cover letter.
7. Make sure to limit yourself to one page!
Often employers will toss cover letters with two pages straight into the trash.