In today’s competitive job market, a well-crafted cover letter can be the difference between landing an interview and losing your application in a sea of candidates.
While most job seekers understand the importance of a cover letter, only some know how to leverage it effectively, especially when applying for remote positions.
Here’s a guide on how to make your cover letter stand out from the competition.
Start with a Hook, Not a Snooze
Forget the tired “I am writing to apply for X position at Y company.” Hiring managers read this line countless times.
Instead, open with a hook that grabs attention.
For instance, if you’re applying for a remote marketing role, you could start with, “Transforming a $10,000 budget into a $100,000 revenue stream was my proudest career moment. I’m excited about bringing similar ROI-focused strategies to [Company’s Name].”
Show, Don’t Just Tell
It’s easy to claim you’re a “team player” or “highly skilled,” but these are empty words without evidence. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills.
If you’re applying for a remote software development role, say something other than you’re experienced in particular technologies.
Explain how you led a remote team using this technology to deliver a project two weeks before schedule.
Tailor for Remote Work
Remote work comes with its own set of challenges—time management, communication, and self-discipline. Use your cover letter to highlight experiences that demonstrate these skills.
Maybe you were a freelancer while traveling the world or were the go-to person for resolving communication breakdowns in a previous remote role. Make it clear that you’re not just a great candidate but a great remote candidate.
Leverage the Company’s Language
One of the most effective ways to resonate with hiring managers is to speak their language—literally. Scour the company’s website, blog posts, and social media to understand its culture and values.
Use similar phrasing or keywords in your cover letter, but make sure it’s natural and fits within the context of your experiences and skills. Doing this task shows that you’ve done your homework and aligned with the company’s culture.
Address Gaps or Red Flags Proactively
If something in your resume might raise questions — like a gap in employment or a career change — address it head-on.
Frame it as a growth experience, focusing on the skills or insights you gained during that period. For example, if you took a year off to travel, you could discuss how navigating different cultures improved your problem-solving skills, a valuable asset for remote work.
Include a Call to Action
Most cover letters end with a passive, “I look forward to hearing from you.” Instead, be proactive. Say something like, “I’d love to discuss how my experience in [Skill/Project] can contribute to [Company’s Goals]. Can we schedule a time to chat?” because this shows initiative and eagerness to move on to the next step.
As previously mentioned, having an online presence can drastically increase your chances of getting interviews, so consider including a link to your LinkedIn profile, a video, or any content you’ve created that showcases your skills for this role.
A/B Test Your Cover Letters
If you’re applying to multiple positions, consider A/B testing different styles or formats of your cover letter to see which garners more responses. Keep track of the versions you send out and any feedback or success you receive.
This data-driven approach can offer valuable insights into what resonates with hiring managers.
Get a Second Pair of Eyes — From the Right Person
Before sending, get your cover letter reviewed, but not just by anyone. Find someone in a similar industry or role who can provide targeted advice. These experienced professionals will be more attuned to the specific skills and experiences you should highlight.
The Post-Submission Strategy
While most advice focuses on the cover letter’s content, let’s discuss what happens after you hit ‘send.’ Your job is not done; a well-timed follow-up can be your secret weapon.
Wait for about a week, and if you have not heard back, send a polite email reiterating your enthusiasm for the role and asking for an update on the timeline for a decision. This shows your continued interest and returns your application to the top of the pile.
But here’s the unique twist: Include something of additional value in your follow-up. For instance, if you’re applying for a social media manager role, you could share a recent article discussing a groundbreaking strategy in social media marketing.
A line like, “I came across this article and thought it offered some innovative strategies that could be great for your company. It made me even more excited about possibly contributing to your team.”
How to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out from the Competition
This approach accomplishes two things: it demonstrates your ongoing engagement in your field and provides additional value, making you memorable for the hiring manager.
So, don’t just rest on your laurels after sending that cover letter. Use the post-submission period as an additional opportunity to stand out and show that you’re not just a great candidate on paper — you’re a proactive and engaged professional who’s already thinking about how to contribute to the company’s future.
Hopefully, this guide has taught you how to make your cover letter stand out from the competition and increase your chances of securing your perfect remote job.