The moment you chose your profession, you knew what you were getting into. This field captures your imagination and sparks your passion like no other, and if you could turn back the clock, you’d make this choice over and over again. There’s just one problem: so would everyone else.
Your field is challenging, rewarding, noble, high paying, or all of the above, and you aren’t the first person to figure this out. So what can you do stand out in an overcrowded applicant pool? Try these cover letter moves and see where they take you.
First, don’t hesitate. Never turn away from a great opportunity because others might outshine you. If you were terrified of long odds or unhinged by rejection, you wouldn’t have entered this field in the first place. You’re tough, and you know that you may be battered around a bit before you finally land the job you want. So go forward, pursue positions that may seem out of reach, and get ready to pay your dues.
Emphasize Traits Others Don’t Have
Before you start drafting and submitting your resume, think carefully about what this transaction looks like from a manager’s point of view. If you’re looking for work as a professional comedy writer, for example, your reviewers will probably read dozens of hilarious cover letters every day. Everyone who applies for this job will try hard to be funny. But will they also be reliable? Will they work as hard as you will? Will they be flexible in the face of criticism and suggestions? Will they be serious when it’s time to be serious?
Use Your Connections
Even remote ones. If you happen to know someone who has a second-degree social media contact with the person reading your letter, use this. Don’t pretend that you and your reader are best friends, but don’t pass up a single opportunity to highlight whatever common ground the two of you might share.
Every candidate for this job will try to toe the line and do exactly what’s expected of them. So stand out by departing from the pattern. Say things that might seem a little weird. Break standard formatting rules. Express yourself on your own terms and organize your information in a way that helps you tell your own story.
Use Your Research
If you do some research on the company and the specific position, you may find some new information or gather some insights that aren’t laid out clearly in the job post. Use these insights to offer things that haven’t been specifically requested. Here’s an example: “I know that you’re looking for ways to promote your forthcoming product to teen and tween buyers, and this market is an unfamiliar demographic for your company. As it happens, my years with ChildCo have taught me how to target younger users and, of course, their parents.”
Stand Out By Following Up
If you know that your application will be one of hundreds, then don’t just walk away after you attach your resume to your letter and click send. Follow up. Call or email the company a day later to make sure they received your information, and stay in touch every few days just to keep yourself in the spotlight. Visit LiveCareer for resume follow-up tips as well as formatting and submission guidelines that can get you the extra attention you need.