Do you recall the viral cover letter sent to Wall Street by a recent college grad? It was an unremarkable letter sent to the head of his dream intern program asking for an opportunity, even though he was a self-proclaimed ‘hopelessly average student’ with ‘no special skills’. The casualness of it made you stop and wonder if spending time writing cover letters was really worth the effort. Believe it or not, his cover letter was carefully crafted for his particular task.
I read some articles recently that claim there is no need for a cover letter. From a professional recruiting perspective, I couldn’t disagree more. There are several crucial aspects of a well-crafted cover letter. It should:
- Show you did your research on the company
- Highlight a particular voice you want to convey
- Lack information overload
- Ask for an interview
You don’t have to be an English major to craft a well-written cover letter either. A well-researched letter offers a good chance at getting noticed over someone who merely sends their cover letter, “To whom it may concern.” There is credibility to writing with a clear voice, and without information overload. A painfully lengthy letter containing awkward details will probably hit the trash, so think offensively rather than defensively. You have one final chance to grab their attention as you close your letter so choose carefully.