What if, instead, your cover letter wasn’t
identical to the others? What if it jumped out at the hiring manager, demanding
to be read? Imagine if you were the director of marketing at Sketch
, and you received this in your email:
It would catch your eye and get you interested pretty quickly.
Notice how this article isn’t titled “How to Write a Great Cover Letter in 2020”? Writing is only a small part of the picture. It’s the Digital Age! You can add visual media (like logos and screenshots) that communicate more quickly and more efficiently than your words will.
With that said, you still have to write. 😋
Here’s what you should include:
A. Admit how you got their contact information, if it’s not easily accessible.
This matters because it shows that you’re honest and resourceful.
A quick “I found your email on your website” or “I’m guessing your email address because I really want to speak with you” goes a long way towards establishing several kinds of trust with the other person.
B. Explain why you’re reaching out, in terms they care about.
When you hit the key value propositions to convince them to learn more and reply, you win.
C. Have a clear call to action (CTA) that makes it easy to take the next step.
Let them know what you want them to do!
Step 5: Proofread your cover letter. Twice!
Show you pay attention to the basic details. Make sure there aren't any typos or mix-ups of common homonyms. Your spell checker won’t catch those
If you struggle with this for any reason, ask a friend or family member to proofread for you. In fact, that can be a good idea even if you’re really good at proofreading! It gets someone with “fresh eyes” looking at your work, which means they’re less likely to glance over an error.
Step 6: Send your cover letter at the right time
Heads up: right now may not be the best time to send your cover letter. I know you’re probably excited about the job. But ask yourself for just a second:
Would you rather wait to send it, and potentially get better results? Or send now and potentially miss your chance?
You see, when you take the time to read a guide like this, and put effort into your cover letter this way, it’s because you care about the results. (I hope.)
I know how powerful the feeling is to want to just click Send. It’s right there, you’re done, and you’re thrilled with your work. It’s great to want to complete the task!
But if you can control that urge, you can get better results. Before you actually send a cover letter this way, keep one thing in mind:
Jab, jab, jab…right hook!
You might have heard of this book on sales
by Gary Vaynerchuk.
It’s about providing value and building trust before
you make “the big ask.” The right hook. It’s about practicing delayed gratification (like the marshmallow experiment
) because you want better results.
And it’s relevant to your cover letter. Your cover letter is a big ask, a right hook, pitching yourself to be hired for the job. Why you’re
the best candidate, over whoever else.
So before you make the big ask—before you send your cover letter—you should have started building a bit of rapport, a relationship, with the person on the receiving end. In short, reading your cover letter should not be the first time they see your name.
I have to stress this again. 😂
Reading your cover letter should not be the first time they see your name.
If you really want the results from this job hunting process, do yourself a favor and start following department leaders at companies that interest you. Start engaging with them online—it’s too easy not to! And it yields such amazing results when you do finally throw your hat in the ring.
Here’s a simple way to engage someone:
Your job hunt outreach sequence
- Get familiar with the company and/or their personal body of work.
- Genuinely compliment them about something. (Email, Twitter, LinkedIn connection request.) They will probably thank you! Important: resist the urge to ask about a job! Some people struggle with this, but it’s really important that you don’t yet. (Of course, if they bring up a job, play ball!)
A great compliment is written as a “you statement” rather than an “I statement.”
Instead of, “I really loved your interview of Isaac Morehouse because I know the value of building a body of work, not just a nice-looking resume. I appreciate you and your content.“
Try, “Your interview of Isaac Morehouse was particularly interesting—it reminded me the value and importance of building a body of work, not just a nice-looking resume. Thanks for producing excellent audio content.”
3. Within the next few days, send a new email/Tweet/DM asking them a good question about their company or body of work.
There are no shortcuts here. If you want results in your job hunt, Google them and their company, learn about them, digest what you find and question everything.
(Note: you can combine this with step #2 if time is of the essence, e.g. if applications close in three days or it’s a highly sought-after job.)
A great question is one you’ve genuinely tried to answer for yourself, but can’t. It’s founded in true curiosity, rather than fake intent to just put a question out there. If you struggle with this, shoot us (the Crash team) a quick email
. We’ll help you out.
4. If they answer, thank them and feel free to keep engaging the conversation within reason.
You don’t need to have an all-out debate with them that ends in a dissertation—but if you have follow-up questions, now’s the time. Ideally, during the course of this conversation you’ll be able to bring up the topic of the job you’re interested in, or them hiring in general.
If they don’t answer, you’ll want to try this again a few more times—maybe on a different platform. If after a few questions they still won’t answer, move on to the final step of this outreach sequence.
5. Make the right hook! Deliver your cover letter! When it finally comes time to send this masterpiece off to its lucky recipient, make sure to do it at the right time. (Unless time is of the essence, in which case send it ASAP.)
If you can figure out the person’s general routine (check Tweets and other social activity times) and time zone, you can deliver your cover letter at the perfect time—early in the morning, late at night, you get it. Whatever time is likely to work best for them.
You can use an email scheduling tool like Boomerang for Gmail
, or simply set a reminder for yourself on your calendar, reminders app, etc. Of course, don’t overthink this; just take a good guess and do it. The content is what ultimately matters.