Writing an eye-catching cover letter is often why some applicants receive more interview invites than others. It’s the task that people dislike the most in the remote job search process.
Before we get into what a cover letter should look like in 2023, let’s review a few mistakes applicants make.
- Do not duplicate what is already covered in your resume or CV.
- Do not use a cover letter template downloaded online.
- Do include keywords from the listed job listing in your cover letter.
Why is a cover letter necessary?
It’s your opportunity to sell yourself to potential employers. Don’t treat this as just a condensed version of your resume or CV – instead, use it as a BOOSTER pack to tell the company why they need to hire you.
Bad news – in 2024, very few resumes will get read by a human.
For this reason, it’s more important to pique the interest of the recruiter shortlisting candidates. Companies use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to shortlist candidates that match the essential criteria for the vacant remote job.
Promoting ourselves is not easy for many of us, myself included, but it’s time to find that inner confidence. The cover letter is crucial because it should catch the recruiter’s attention.
What a Cover Letter Should Look Like
Suppose this is your first time drafting a cover letter. In that case, this might seem a pretty tricky task to undertake, especially if you are not very good at writing. Some coaches will suggest that you do not need to be creative, but you have to stand out.
Let’s start with the basics.
Keep it Simple
Unless you are applying for a graphic design job, do not have a cover letter with fancy graphics because it distracts the reader’s attention.
It must be easy to scan through because yours isn’t the only cover letter they will read.
Cover Letter Header
In the header, make sure you include your contact details. It needs to be easy to get in touch with you. Since it’s a remote job, the company will contact you by email, so include it and your LinkedIn profile URL.
You’ll also be surprised how many people have silly/rude email addresses that give off the wrong impression.
Keep it professional.
Take Time to Research
The next section of your cover letter needs to be the greeting. Avoid “Dear Sir/Madam” and make it more personal. Show that you have made an effort to find out the person who will read the cover letter.
Look on the job listing or career page for the recruitment/HR manager. Another way to find the right person is to search on the company’s LinkedIn page.
Next, it’s time to get creative and write a memorable, eye-catching introduction. Tell a story and share an experience, but keep the reader captivated and wanting to read the rest of your cover letter.
This is vital if you are to receive a video interview invite. Make sure that your introduction includes which remote job you are applying for.
Don’t Be Afraid to Sell Yourself
In the second and third paragraphs of your cover letter, it’s time to share what is unique about your experience as a candidate. Most of us struggle to sell ourselves, but you must share why you should be considered for an interview. Your resume focuses on your skills and experience, but the cover letter should focus on your achievements.
- Why should the company hire you?
- What did you introduce into your current job that helped shape the business?
- What wins can you bring to the role you are applying for?
- What have been the highlights of your career so far?
- Why are you the best person for this job?
- What skills and experience can you bring to the company?
Think about the business goals and how you can help achieve them in the job you are applying for. Spend time researching the company, reading its blog posts, and through social media content to learn more.
Including how your experience can help them achieve these goals will help you stand out amongst other candidates.
Your cover letter mustn’t feel like an essay, so keep it brief.
Add a Call to Action
Most applicants will write a mundane final paragraph to their resume. Instead, since you have piqued their interest, include a call to action, proving you are the right person for this job.
This could be a link to your portfolio with your work; it could be a link to an article you’ve been featured in.
End the cover letter, be courteous, thank them for their time, and share your hope to discuss everything over a virtual interview.
Hopefully, this guide on what your cover letter should look like will help you secure more remote job interviews.