Cover letters (or letters of motivation) are seen by some as a nuisance that takes up huge amounts of time during a job application process. For others, it’s a way to stand out from the crowd and increasing your chances of getting hired not based off your resume alone.
In any of these cases, crafting a cover letter can be quite time-consuming, even more so if you’re mass-applying to dozens of different job positions. Many employers still require a cover letter to be considered for a job role.
So, to make this task easier and allow you to craft custom cover letters for each of the companies that you’re applying to, we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide for fast cover letter writing.
This will enable you to:
- increase your chances of landing your dream job
- save time during the job application process
- apply for multiple positions in a shorter period of time
- wow your potential employer with a tailor-made cover letter
Template Your Personal Info and Contact Details
Your personal info at the top of the cover letter should be something you never type in manually: create a ready-made template and simply paste it into every cover letter you start writing.
You should include:
- your name
- your phone number
- your email address
It’s also good to include:
- your address
- a link to your LinkedIn/Facebook profile
- chat messenger usernames (Skype and others)
It may seem that typing these details manually every time will not be so time-consuming, but when you actually start, you will see that it actually takes up to 5 minutes to even start – while a simple CTRL + V action takes under a second.
Warp-Speed Research about the Company
If you’re applying to several companies, doing thorough research about each one of them can take ages. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t research the company you’re applying to, but it’s more time-effective to do it in more detail after you’re invited for an interview.
In a cover letter, most employers want to know more about you, but showing that you’ve done some research about the company will show motivation and ambition. On the other hand, including a 500-word avalanche of company research will not impress many employers.
To speed up your research process, simply go to the company website and look at their general value proposition, or go to their “Mission and Vision” statement if they have one. Then, use the company accomplishments they’re most proud of and include it in your cover letter, like this:
“I read that XYZ Inc. is the number #1 company in the XYZ industry with over X employees, which is why I’m motivated to join your team and…”
Cut Back on CV Information
Some job applicants believe that a cover letter is just a resume that’s more verbose and that doesn’t use bulletpoints. In other words, applicants think that it’s their task to include all of the information about their professional history in their cover letter.
Well, that’s precisely what the resume is for. The cover letter’s task is to show why you’re motivated for that company, that industry, that position (hence the synonym letter of motivation).
To save time both for you and the HR expert who will be reviewing your cover letter, don’t reiterate the info that you have already made clear on your resume.
You can also add a sentence such as:
For more details about my career, professional history and achievements, you can refer to the resume I’ve attached.
Show that You Understand What the Position is About
Unlike research about the company itself, employers actually expect that you have a thorough understanding of what the job role you’re applying to is all about.
To cover all their requirements and show that you’re skilled for the job, while saving a lot of time doing it, you can simply refer to the “Requirements” section in their job ad.
This is usually presented in bulletpoints, so you can simply take those requirements from their ad and explain, with real-life examples, how and why you fulfill them.
Here’s an example from a recent Amazon job ad looking for a Communications Program Manager:
· Bachelor’s degree in Communications or a related field (Journalism, Marketing Communication, Public Relations or related field and / or related work experience in the area of Communications and Change Management).Source: Amazon
· 6+ years of communications experience including internal communications-focused experience.
· Experience in providing counsel to, and working with senior executives.
· Experience working with virtual teams.
· Ability to use quantitative and qualitative data to make decisions and recommendations.
· Experience leading communications programs in a multinational business.
· Experience leading social media employee engagement programs/campaigns.
If you want to get down to brass tacks and show you have all these qualifications without spending a lot of time, simply include this text in your cover letter. After every bullet, exemplify how you fulfill that particular requirement. If you don’t, you can include plans for professional improvement in the near future that will show the employer you’re ready to go the extra mile to fit into the job position.
This will show the employer that you know how to differentiate between the important and the irrelevant and you know how to cut to the chase without cliche phrases and ambiguous corporate humble-brags.
Make Realistic and Straightforward Promises
Many job applicants make the mistake of talking too much about themselves as someone with a professional past completely unrelated to the company or even industry.
When you’re writing a cover letter, your task is, among others, to explain why you should get hired for that exact role and what you plan on doing when you do get hired.
However, beware of making false promises. For example, don’t include “willingness to travel” if it’s going to turn out you don’t actually want to travel for work due to your family. Don’t say that you’re “not afraid to take responsibility” if you don’t want to be in charge of a team.
Show the employer exactly what you plan to achieve within your first week, month and year on the position.