In the job search, as in life, confidence is key. A little moxie can encourage others to have faith in you, and if you’re willing to back yourself up when the road ahead looks uncertain, those around you—including total strangers—will be more likely to believe in you. When you walk, talk, shake hands, smile, frown, sit down, or stand up, your confidence comes through in your actions. To bring that same quality and strength to your written words , make sure your cover letter contains these four elements:
1. Sentence Flow
Before you send your cover letter off to employers, read it aloud at least once. Your sentences should be structured just as they would be if you delivered this message to your reader from a podium, over the phone, or from the other side of a dinner table. Your words should flow together smoothly, and each thought should link fluidly and effortlessly to the next.
A confident cover letter is positive, from beginning to end. You don’t have to fawn all over your reader or add lots of exclamation points, but your words should all have positive connotations. They should imply that:
- You feel good about who you are (even about your past mistakes).
- You’re at a strong and excellent place in life (even if you don’t feel this way every minute of the day).
- You have passion and energy to spare. You aren’t angry, regretful, apologetic, or hung up about anything that happened in the past. You aren’t worried or hesitant. You’re ready for anything.
3. Personal Detail
Your cover letter should include at least one or two details about who you are as a person—what drives you (besides your desire for this job) and what events have brought to this point in your life and career (besides the company award you won or the revenue increases you generated last quarter). If you like skiing, you grew up in another country, or you chose this field when you were five years old, sharing this fact can give your resume a strong, confident human voice.
4. Relevance to the Position
The more your skills and background link directly to this specific position, the better. Show your readers that you’ve been searching high and low, and you’ve never seen a position so perfectly suited to who you are and what you can do. Use every bit of information available to you to do this. The position involves consumer electronics sales? Perfect! You’ve been a salesperson for three years and you’ve enjoyed consumer electronics for twenty! The position requires a Masters in Zoology? Perfect! You have an MBA, but in college you minored in zoology! Don’t apologize or focus on small disconnects. Turn your attention to similarities only.
Use Your Cover Letter to Sell Yourself
Your cover letter represents your first chance to make a great impression. You have between three and five paragraphs to showcase your best self and speak in your most confident voice, so use those paragraphs well. Use LiveCareer’s cover letter builder to create a message that can take you where you need to go.