In the preceding post, I discussed the importance of writing a cover letter that appeals to employer needs and wants. By taking this approach, you will stand out, which is especially important because you are shy or introverted.
After you craft a personalized opener and a benefit-oriented first paragraph as described previously, you are ready for the second paragraph of your cover letter. This paragraph should summarize the skills, experience, education, and traits you will bring to the particular job. This paragraph of your cover letter, like the initial paragraph, should be slanted toward the benefits you will bring to the employer. In other words, while the information is about you, it should relate to how it will help the employer function and flourish.
Here is an example of a strong second paragraph in a cover letter written for an editorial job with a nonprofit organization: “With six years of diverse editorial experience in a nonprofit organization, I offer proven writing and editing skills plus have great sensitivity to communication efforts that are part of a unique mission like yours.” Notice how the job applicant ties his background to the employer’s focus. Rather than simply say, “I have six years of editorial experience,” the job candidate takes it a step further by connecting to the employer’s needs. Not only does the applicant possess the needed skills for the job, his skills are proven and are an ideal fit for the organization. What hiring manager wouldn’t call the candidate for an interview?
Here’s a little secret: Employers want to hire you. They want to find the right person. They don’t want to spend weeks and months wading through resumes and interviewing people. If you seem like a good fit, an employer is rooting for you to prove it and to not screw up during the application and hiring process.
The final paragraph of your cover letter should focus on a strong, action-oriented closing. So, write something like this: “I am eager to talk with you soon to learn more about your needs. I will follow up with you next week to set up a time to meet.” With this cover letter closing, you are not being passive or hoping the employer will contact you. You are expressing your eagerness to learn more about the opportunity, so much so that you will contact the employer to follow up. After you write this paragraph, be sure to put a date on your calendar to follow up, preferably with a phone call but email can be a first step if desired.
So stop writing boring cover letters! Connect with employers with your very first words. You will almost have them at “hello”!