Advertising
Advertising

How To Be Interesting In A Cover Letter

How To Be Interesting In A Cover Letter

Want your cover letter to stand out and get the dream job you want? Jessica Hagy, an artist and writer has some tips for everyone to make a cover letter interesting.

3030808-inline-competitionctd

    Write one. Your resume checks off key words and gets your information in front of someone, but it’s not enough to get you an interview. Use the power of the cover letter for your own good (or evil, if you’re applying for a job selling drugs or weapons to kids).

    Advertising

    3030808-inline-coverletter002

      Don’t play Mad Libs. If you found a cover letter template online, odds are, so did a half million other people. Ditch the fill-in-the-blank format and tell your own story, in a way that only you can. You’ll stand out, if for no other reason than your letter isn’t completely cookie-cutter.

      3030808-inline-coverletter003-copy

        Deviate from examples. Read enough cover letters online, and you’ll begin to feel a pattern. The fake-peppy tone, the stuffy sentence structures, and the box-checking formats all blend together in a beige puddle of boring. Now, imagine it’s your job to read these things all day, and you’ll see that a little change in the format will go a long way toward making you the person who gets the interview. But seriously, no comic sans–that font makes you look worse than silly.

        Advertising

        3030808-inline-coverletter004

          Offer something other than your desperate self on a platter. Anything that hints about that fact that you are currently selling plasma in order to pay the electric bill is not a winning tone. Talk about what you can do for the place you want to work, not about how you really need a job. Show you have more to offer than a warm body.

          Advertising

          3030808-inline-coverletter005

            But don’t get creepy. While letting your prospective employer know you’re knowledgeable about the company, adding details about the CEO’s criminal records or the marketing manager’s recent real estate purchases isn’t advised, even though it’s sure to get the attention of your reader. Google-stalk, but don’t stalk-stalk.

            3030808-inline-coverletter006

              Lead with an anecdote–not your qualifications. The cover letter complements your resume. Don’t recreate it with complete sentences in the letter, use this space to tell an opening story that humanizes you and makes you memorable.

              Advertising

              3030808-inline-coverletter007

                And make sure you put in a little personality. You have one. It’s a major part of you. You might as well own it. Besides, people hire people they like, not resumes they like. So relax, get comfortable, and write a letter from a real person–you, not faceless a job candidate.

                One last thing: Autocorrect is a pox on all our houses. Read your letter five or six times, and before you send it, just to be safe.

                Jessica Hagy is the author of How To Be Interesting. Her cartoons regularly appear in the New York Times, and she writes an online column for Forbes.

                More by this author

                Anna Chui

                Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

                The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

                Trending in Work

                1 13 Characteristics of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs 2 5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All 3 10 Simple Habits Every Effective Manager Needs to Learn 4 10 Ways To Help Your Employees Have A Healthy Work-Life Balance 5 Top 10 Workplace Safety Tips Every Employee Should Know

                Read Next

                Advertising
                Advertising
                Advertising

                Last Updated on March 29, 2021

                5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

                5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

                When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

                What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

                The Dream Type Of Manager

                My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

                I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

                My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

                Advertising

                “Okay…”

                That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

                I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

                The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

                The Bully

                My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

                However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

                Advertising

                The Invisible Boss

                This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

                It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

                The Micro Manager

                The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

                Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

                The Over Promoted Boss

                The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

                Advertising

                You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

                The Credit Stealer

                The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

                Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

                3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

                Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

                1. Keep evidence

                Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

                Advertising

                Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

                Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

                2. Hold regular meetings

                Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

                3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

                Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

                However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

                Good luck!

                Read Next