Some may say cover letters are a thing of the past. But the truth is, many job applications still require a cover letter to be submitted.

So make sure yours is a good one.

There are 3 simple rules for your cover letter. It should be:

  1. Targeted to the role you are applying to
  2. Addressed to the right person
  3. Succinct

Research before writing

A great cover letter will be targeted, just like your resume. I wrote about how you can create targeted resumes and you can follow the exact same framework for your cover letter too.

Before you start writing, do some research. Start by answering these questions:

💡 Who is the hiring manager?
Check the job posting, LinkedIn or the company website for clues. When you address your cover letter to the hiring manager, you show you care about details. Don't forget, your entire application is a reflection of who you are.
If you don't know who the hiring manager is, don't worry. Just stay away from the generic "To Whom It May Concern" and address the letter to the department or recruiter instead.

💡 What is the tone/culture of the company?
A cover letter provides a glimpse of your personality to the hiring manager. When you match your tone to the company's, you show you've dedicated time and effort to researching the company and its brand. This is a powerful technique that shows awareness and attention to detail.

💡 What is my opening statement?
The main purpose of a line of text is to get you read the next line. And then to take action. This is exactly how you should approach your opening statement. Focus on the why. Why do you want this job? Why do you see yourself in this company. The rest of the cover letter can focus on the how.

Applications that stand out

As a reminder, a cover letter does not need to be incredibly long. It does need to convey impactful information about you. A simple framework you can use for your cover letter is:  

Don't be afraid to try other formats either. When I hire, I ask candidates to record a short Loom video to tell me why they would like to work with us. Or why they think they are the best candidate for the role.

The keyword here is why. In the interviews, we dig into the how.

Crafting an impactful application

If you have a targeted resume and cover letter, go ahead and hit that submit button. But don't sit back and wait just yet.

These days applying for a job may not be enough. You have to stand out from other candidates as well.

Start with your personal brand. Hiring managers go on the internet too, so make sure your online presence is relevant. Perhaps this means having an active LinkedIn profile, writing blog posts or developing a social media brand.

I wrote about building your LinkedIn presence as an asset to your job search. You should do the same with any other social media networks you are a part of.

Make sure your profile photo looks professional and your bio is up to date. Check if the content you share publicly reflects your values and you are comfortable with a hiring manager seeing it.

Breaking the silence

All of us are familiar with what happens when we submit a job application. There's a few options:

  1. You are invited to a job interview
  2. You receive a rejection message with feedback
  3. You receive an automated rejection message
  4. You never hear back

Anecdotally, this last option may be the most common, unfortunately. It's also the most frustrating one.

It may be because there's too many candidates and the company is not equipped to reply to all applications. Or that you're not qualified for the role and your application was simply archived automatically without an update. Regardless, the silence is killer.

Following up with the hiring manager is completely acceptable as long as a few conditions are met. Before hitting send on that email, make sure you are being respectful, professional and patient. Here's some tips:

💡 Wait 1-2 weeks before following up
💡 Send a LinkedIn request instead of an email (if possible)
💡 Be brief & actionable (make it easier for the hiring manager)

Here's a quick template for you:

Hi [Hiring Manager's Name], I hope all is well. I recently applied to the [Role Title] position and wanted to check in with you. 

I'm excited about the opportunity to interview for this role at [Company Name]. Please let me know if I can provide any other information as you review applications. 

I look forward to hearing from you,
[Your Name]

If you really want to stand out, you can also include a Loom video with a quick message for the hiring manager to give them a glimpse of your personality and tone.

Up next: successful job interviews

In my next post, I will share some advice about how to successfully prepare yourself for a job interview so that you can:

  • Effectively communicate your value to the company
  • Prepare for online interviews
  • Anticipate interview questions

Not sure where to start looking?

If you're looking for a new job, check the 💰 Fresh Cash series – recently funded companies are typically hiring. This list is completely up to date with months worth of recent Series A and B investments.

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