No More Rambling Cover Letters
We’ve noticed many job seekers have trouble keeping their cover letters short and targeted.
It’s almost as if they’re trying so hard to impress their readers that they ramble on and on, hoping they’ll say what the employers wants to hear. And sometimes, despite having way too many words on the page, they don’t say the things that will get them job interviews.
So, we thought it might help if we created a simple, standardized cover letter template that gives you a guideline for the three things to say. And once you’ve said those three things, you say “thank you” and sign off.
Our hope is that you’ll have a much shorter and more powerful cover letter as a result.
3 Things to Say in Your Cover Letter
Let’s focus on the three points you need to have in your cover letter. We’ve put them in the form of questions you can answer — one for each of the three paragraphs in our cover letter template. Here you go…
1. How can you fill the employer’s need?
This might include the job you’re applying for or the role you want to play for the company. If someone your reader knows is referring you for the job, this is a good place to mention that. For example:
“So-and-so suggested I apply for the such-and-such job opening in your such-and-such department.”
2. What value do you offer the employer?
Limit this to just two or three of your very best skills, areas of expertise, or other qualifications. This section of the cover letter is where many people go overboard with way too much info.
Keep it short. Stick to just the two or three points you have to make. Then move on to the next paragraph.
If you want, you can present your points in bullet point statements to make them more inviting to read.
3. What would you like the employer to do next?
You probably want a phone or in-person job interview. The last paragraph is the place to ask for it — along with a polite “Thank you.”
Free Standard Cover Letter Template
Here’s a cover letter template (in Google Docs that you can download and edit) that shows how my three questions look in a cover letter format:
Fresh Start vs. Re-Writing
If you’ve already written a cover letter that’s more than four paragraphs, we suggest you put it away (unless you’re going for a job in a field that expects a long letter). If you try to rework it, you might have trouble letting go of all the writing you’ve already done, most of which is probably bogging down your old letter.
We suggest you open a clean document (or Google Doc if using our above template) and start fresh with these three steps:
1. Type the three cover letter questions, each on its own line with a space between each one.
2. After each question, write your answer as if you were speaking to the employer in a friendly professional way.
3. Then delete each question. (Keep the answers.)
You may need to do a little editing to be sure your new cover letter flows smoothly. Then stop. You’re done! Short and sweet, just long enough to capture the readers attention, assure them you are a qualified candidate, and that your resume is worth further consideration.