Recruiters and hiring managers scour through dozens, if not hundreds of applicants per week. More often than not, those applicants provided cover letters that are simply bland summaries of their career mixed in with over-used words that, quite frankly, would put anyone to sleep.
If you are looking to land a job, you need to keep the recruiters awake and grab their attention. In other words, you need to think like a storyteller.
Tell Your Story
Don’t take up the valuable space of your cover letter with mundane “problem-solving” and “excellent communication skills.” Showing potential employers your ability to communicate effectively through storytelling will not only keep them awake but also spark their interest enough to move on to your resume.
Tell the story of your career instead of listing the details. For example, if you earned a BA in History but are applying for a tech job, tell the reader the story of how you got there.
Get personal and creative while sticking to only the relevant details that pertain to the job. By getting personal, I don’t mean telling them the name of your dog; just tell them your personal story that has led you to apply for this job.
A good story-teller has the ability to captivate their audience while moving the narrative forward. If you write your cover letter like an infomercial, they’ll likely move on before you get the chance to interview. By telling the reader why you are in a career field, you relay information that helps you stand out and allows you to convey your experience without boring them to death.
Cover Letters vs. Resumes
Telling your story doesn’t stop at the cover letter, but when it comes to your resume, you need to take a different approach. While cover letters should be more informal, resumes should give factual information about your education, experience, and career history. Even on your resume, you have the opportunity to add achievements and information that go beyond your professional skills.
Be sure to add personal achievements to your resume that offer insight into who you are as a person. For example, if you completed a marathon or do volunteer work, those achievements and interests show qualities employers look for even though they are not directly related to the job.