Love Beats Hate on a Balance

Cover letters – most people hate writing them and many people hate receiving them. When cover letters get read (about 30% of the time) and when they are required (about 40% of the time), they can help tip the job search scale in your favor.

A killer cover letter takes up less than one page and contains three essential parts – all of which show the reader you understand their pain and are uniquely suited to solve it.

Part 1: Pain Identification

Just like in an interview, the goal of a cover letter is to convey that you understand how the role fits into a company’s bigger picture and solves a problem or pain point.

Pain can range from needing a project executed smoothly, building or growing a team, turning around something that is a hot mess or even selling a new product in a particular territory.

BOTTOM LINE: Convey that you understand the company/reader’s pain.

Part 2: Pain Solving Highlights

You’ve spent Part One showing you understand the problem. The goal of Part Two is to show that you’re the guy to solve it and take away the pain. Include three to four bulleted highlights from your past that quickly show the reader your chops.

Because there is no guarantee the same person who reads your resume will also read your cover letter, I recommend recycling and rephrasing achievements listed in your resume. This gives a potentially second set of eyes the chance to see some examples of what you’ve done in the past to mitigate pain.

BOTTOM LINE: Provide examples of pain solving.

Part 3: Getting Past the Pain

Parts One and Two show you understand the pain and can help make it go away. Use Part Three to recap your skills and how they can contribute to catapulting past the pain to achieve a company’s higher goal.

Be sure to close your cover letter by thanking them for their consideration – and offer to touch base shortly to follow up.

BOTTOM LINE: Tie your skills to a plan to get past the pain and achieve a mission.