One of the most underrated tools in a job search is your cover letter. Instead of outrightly hating it or seeing it as a waste of time, here’s a chance to make your cover letter work for you.
Hack 1: The best cover letters weave a story and grab you at the start.
Here’s an example of a cover letter from a Product Manager in our community.
I designed my first product at the age of 9. It was a website for girls, by girls and the aim was for users to find relevant content created by people like them. I don’t remember the exact features of the website, what I do remember, however, is furiously scribbling features and drawing layouts and designs in my notebook. While I had no idea at that time, that was my first foray into the world of product management.
Here's another example of a cover letter from a People and Culture Leader.
I first came across (company name) in 2011, when WordPress came to my rescue. I had founded an events management company but didn’t have the resources for a full-fledged website. My now-defunct blog was run entirely on WordPress, which made me able to design and communicate my brand to my audience in my way.
Hack 2: State your interest (with a demonstrated passion) in the role.
As a company focused on internet freedom and empowerment, I am keen to partner with (company name) to create impact and opportunities for millions of people around the world to not just be content consumers but also content owners and creators.
I am passionate about co-creating cultures using the design thinking approach that makes people feel included and represented. One of the ways I achieve this in my current role, leading the People team, is by working hard to foster diversity and inclusion at different levels of the organisation. As (company name) scaled rapidly within a short space of time, my team increased the representation of women in the entire company to 46% from 31%, as well as in select groups such as ‘management’ and on the ‘tech team’. To increase inclusion efforts, we encourage the creation of different private online channels for people with similar interests to connect.
Hack 3: Explain why you're qualified, and connect your skills and experience to the company's needs.
In addition, my current experience has helped me work with distributed teams in 4 locations across Eastern Africa, Western Africa and the UK, as well as standing as a strategic partner to a number of startups. Our expansion into Europe and Eastern Africa also involved me managing global compensation and tracking benefits usage.
I have also created learning paths, using formal online training and informal shadowing training with our company’s global partners. In addition, I have recruited, onboarded and managed employees with partners such as (include partners’ names). My previous role as an HR Manager in an oil and gas service company enhanced my communication and collective bargaining skills and involved me in promoting labour relations. These experiences coupled with my degrees in Economics and Human Resource Management, both from the UK, make me an excellent fit for the role.
Hack 4: State why you're interested in working for them as an employer and why they should be interested in you as an employee. Close hard!
xxx’s products which promote online freedom of expression as well as the innovative distribution model adopted, appeal to me. It is undoubtedly one of the most transparent and inclusive companies I have come across. I am confident about my ability to be a part of the diverse team that contributes to xxx’s present phase and helps shape xxx’s future of continuing to co-create with and for customers.
I have attached my resume and my answers to the questions on the application.
I look forward to the opportunity to join the team by/with/through (include their purpose or ‘why’).
And there you have it!
NB: xxx - Company being applied to.