How to write a great cover letter
It is amazing how much time people waste sending a sloppy responses to Craigslist ads and pathetic cover letters along with their resume. It could be that you have been technically clever enough to create a Google alert for certain key words and then built an autoresponder to send me some canned response … in which case you are only wasting my time, not yours. If this is the case, that’s a sure-fire way to get your e-mail deleted as fast as I delete SPAM.
As a person on the receiving end of these responses, please allow me to share a few thoughts, tips and unsolicited advice on the matter.
Secret tip #1: Read the announcement
If your qualifications don’t match the job description then don’t waste your time or mine. Be sure you understand the job description, the company and any other information that the author of the announcement invested time composing.
Secret tip #2: Reference the announcement
Let me know that you have read my announcement. Drop a couple of my words or phrases to at least fool me into thinking that you paid attention to my requirements and the job or gig advertisement. Make me feel a tiny bit special, or humor me into thinking that you actually took the time to read what I took the time to write.
Secret tip #3: Express some enthusiasm or interest in the job
It would be nice is you explained to me why you are interested in this position, job announcement or working with my company. Even nicer if you could regurgitate what I said or wrote in my announcement. Does my gig or job announcement at least excite you a tiny bit? If so, please express your enthusiasm.
Secret tip #4: Explain why you might be qualified for the job
Instead of sending me to your portfolio or telling me to look at your resume, perhaps you could spare a few moments of your time to tell me why you think you are uniquely qualified for this job and pique my interest in actually downloading and opening up your resume.
Secret tip #5: Find out what I want before giving me a quote
Instead of slinging a wild @$$ed guesstimate of the cost of a project at me without even knowing (or reading) the scope of work, perhaps you could ask a few questions, discover my requirements and then deliver a well composed proposal that breaks down the scope of work along level of effort and rates per task.
I think that I could pretty much guarantee you that your conversion rate will be significantly higher if you take these steps. The time you invest in responding to an ad or announcement will return better return on investment (ROI). And, you will likely get more return e-mails, phone calls, job interviews, contracts and job offers.
If you treat yourself like a business and put on your business development hat then I think you’ll have greater success with me and others seeking your services.