Who's on the hunt for a new / different / better job this year?Finding and landing satisfying work is something @Andy and I are so passionate about. We also both know how tackling the resume and cover letter gauntlet can be a major roadblock in going for it — so we started diving into our go-to advice and templates for both documents on The Bent. What's your cover letter strategy? Any tips, tricks, examples to share?Our formula for personal, impactful, one-page cover letters is below (the full conversation including resume tips lives here: https://thebent.co/our-essential-resume-and-cover-letter-tips/)SalutationKeep it simple and make no assumptions about pronouns or titles: Hi [name copied from the company website],Paragraph 1Convey enthusiasm for the job and articulate why you’ll be great at it: I’m excited to apply for [job title]. I think [Reason 1] and [Reason 2] will make me a great fit on your team.Body ParagraphsBuild on each of the reasons named in Paragraph 1 for 4–7 sentences to include these three things:Important quality: Restate one of your reasons from Paragraph 1So what: Explain why you believe it’s relevant to the roleProof: Show some evidence or examples of you demonstrating that thingClosing ParagraphA quick, excited thank you, then goodbye:I’m excited to learn more from you and the team, and see if we’re a good fit.Here’s an abbreviated example from a managerial applicant:Hello!I’m excited to apply for your Manager of Brand Copy role. The blend of mentor-management and personality-driven writing you describe for this job hits on my two big professional passions, and I think we could be a great fit.Heading up the Creative Brand department at Rachel’s Ginger Beer was a master class in people-first leadership. To be honest, it was a master class in lots of things: onboarding a new team to work on a new brand at a company aspiring for national recognition. I believe a team that trusts each other is the only way to create big things that last, and I had the immense pleasure of building a team of 20 designers, copywriters, and producers at all different stages in their careers, then coaching them to level up their craft and collaborate on a hugely successful global campaign launch. Managing that team was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I loved it.I’m thrilled by this opportunity and would love the chance to talk more about it.Best,Theo
GinaVriens's profile thumbnail
I’ve been searching for something like this! Thank you. I see a lot of companies still requiring cover letters and also hear from people who’ve landed jobs that they really don’t matter. Any thoughts to that? Also, how formally structured should cover letters look this days (should you include company mailing addresses for example?)Thanks!
EmmaT's profile thumbnail
So many thoughts! First on whether or not CLs matter. I personally know hiring managers who will toss them in the trash without even reading the first sentence. I also know companies that use AI to filter out applicants — any bit of personality you painstakingly include in your letter goes to waste. It's such a hard truth to swallow because cover letters can be really hard to write.But I also know hiring managers who won't even consider a resume unless there's a cover letter attached, regardless if one is explicitly listed as a requirement for the application. And I know from experience a great cover letter can clinch the interview.Bottom line is: most hiring managers want to fill the open role with someone who can both do the job and also WANT to do the job. Cover letters are a way to bring the second part to life. Don't miss out on that opportunity.Re: formatting and making them look like a "letter." I don't, unless I'm actually sending it as snail-mail letter. If it's via email or a job portal, I launch straight in with "Dear so-and-so" and skip all the physical addresses etc. That said, it really doesn't matter either way.
GinaVriens's profile thumbnail
Gotcha. Thanks for your feedback &thoughts.
iynna's profile thumbnail
@RisaC check this
RisaC's profile thumbnail
Way ahead of you; I read it yesterday. Thanks.
iynna's profile thumbnail
Great!
KelseyG's profile thumbnail
This is so interesting to me! My cover letters tend to read more formal than the above. Do you find that a less formal tone tends to receive more responses from companies? My cover letters are also a lot longer as I try to touch on all as many of the responsibilities and qualities listed in the job description. Do you recommend more of a short, sweet, and to the point cover letter style?Thank you!
EmmaT's profile thumbnail
Such great questions; I've had both of those myself along the way! Re: tone/formality — I do my best to reflect what I am actually like as a human being at the office in my cover letters. I'm not particularly formal at work, so my CLs tend to be more conversational and include my *feelings* about things and that's worked really well for me. But if you're very polished/professional/buttoned-up at work, it makes sense to underscore that in writing, too.When in doubt, I try to mirror the tone of the company (e.g. the brand website, the job description) in a way that feels authentic to me. Does that make sense?And yes, I do think shorter is more powerful: definitely on one page, and not too visually dense so it doesn't seem like EFFORT to read. I suggest 2-3 "big takeaways" to touch on in the cover letter, and let your awesome resume do its job to show off your responsibilities and results.
KelseyG's profile thumbnail
Thank you for the reply to my questions! I'll give my next cover letters a reboot with the suggestions! :)
Sambhavi's profile thumbnail
Wow, this is so helpful. I've bookmarked this link now :)
unabassila's profile thumbnail
thank you so much for sharing this!