During the job search, writing a cover letter can be one of the most nerve wracking parts. Typically if your search is stalled, it is because you are stressing about the cover letter. There is good reason for this as the cover letter is critical to even being considered for an interview.
Covers letters are are difficult because they are designed to test your understanding of the job you are applying for. The company is looking for a thoughtful applicant that will have considered what the company needs. You are also tested on your ability to convey your your skills and experience. The cover level should be a synthesis of the company’s needs and how your fill those needs. Your ability to do this will greatly influence how interested in learning more about you the company is. Even if you are the most qualified person that they have seen, a careless cover letter will plant doubt in their minds and encourage the company to consider choosing a less brilliant but more devoted applicant.
The good news is most cover letters are less than optimal because it is a challenge to sit down and think through everything needed to formulate a good letter, not because one is not a good fit. This is especially the case if you are applying to multiple jobs at once. The smart cover letter template will help you walk through the thought problem that every cover letter secretly is, so that you can present yourself well to jobs that you are a good fit for. Using this template can also help you realize when a job may not be a fit and not worth your time. For example, if the step in quadrant three seem impossible to you, likely there are better jobs for your to pursue.
Smart Cover Letter Template
In quadrant one, Job, you will conduct and document results of research into the job you are applying for. Here you will compile information about the job’s requirements, the company’s practices and culture, and characteristics or industry challenges that will help you present yourself as a competitive candidate.
In quadrant two, Self, you will consider yourself objectively, writing down your experience, skills (these two are not necessarily the same things), interests and goals. While much of this information may be in your resume or LinkedIn profile, consider this an opportunity to consider who you are as a potential employee outside the bullet pointed format of an employment and project history.
In quadrant three, Job/Self Fit, you will consider the items in quadrant one and quadrant two. Here you will see how the job requirements and industry or company characteristics fit with who you are. The work you do here will help you write clearly and concisely about why you are an exceptional candidate.
In quadrant four, Formulate, you will walk through the steps to actually formulate your letter. Because of the work you did in the previous quadrants, much of the actual text will likely be done and you may be find yourself copying and pasting a lot of text from items in quadrant three. The opening line must be memorable and should correspond with the image that you wish to present as a candidate. Because you will have researched, reflected, and synthesized carefully, your opening line should already be clear to you.