On the first installment of Tristan’s Tips, our esteemed guest Tristan Layfield answers the question of whether or not cover letters are relevant anymore and provides an effective, actionable method to write a great one. Check back next Tuesday for another tip!
Tristan: What’s going on, y’all? It’s Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting, and I’ve teamed up with Living Corporate to bring you a weekly career tip. Today we’re gonna dive into an effective cover letter method that will better help you sell yourself to your future employer. One of the questions I’m asked quite often is “Are cover letters still a thing?” And my answer to that question is always yes. A cover letter can set you apart from other candidates who don’t submit one. It also allows you the space to sell yourself, explain your situation, and even sometimes seal the deal. There are many ways to write a cover letter. Let’s focus on one I find to be most effective. Number one, address a person. Hiring managers and recruiters hate to see the generic greeting of “To whom it may concern.” Do your Googles and try to find out who the hiring manager is and address them directly. If you can’t find the name, consider addressing it to the department or committee. Number two, identify a problem. Let’s be real here. Companies could care less about what you want out of this or what you’re excited for. They want to know if you can solve issues for them, and the only way to do that is to identify an issue that may be plaguing them specifically or the general industry. So identify the problem that you know that you have experience in or experience solving. Number three, exploit that problem. Now that you’ve identified the problem, remind them of how irritating their problem is and how great a solution would be. Number four, offer a solution, and if you haven’t figured it out by now, the solution is you – your experience and your expertise. Go beyond what you’ve written in your resume and explain to them why you are the best candidate, not only for the job but to help them solve their problem. And number five, tie it together strong. Your conclusion is a great spot to reiterate your interest and confidence, then close with a call of action such as “I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how we can leverage my abilities as an asset to your organization.” A well-written, strategic cover letter can’t ever hurt, but just make sure you aren’t sending out a generic one for every job you apply to. This tip was brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @LayfieldResume, or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn. Thanks for joining me. I’ll be talking to you again soon.