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Hiring Managers see dozens of cover letters every single day. Most of them end up in the shredder. The standard "I want to work for you because I value your business and am qualified" doesn't work any more. Writing a creative cover letter, on the other hand, is what you need in order to land the job.
But how do you go about being creative in such an important document? Do you include charts, graphs, and drawings? Do you come up with an engaging story? Do you rewrite your resume in the form of a poem?
Don't worry, you don't have to go to such great lengths, but there are some tips that could be a game-changer for you. We're here to guide you through the process.
in this guide we'll teach you:
- Why you need to have a creative cover letter
- 7 Tips for spicing up your cover letter and landing the job
Before we dive into it, make sure your resume is flawless. Head over to our resume builder for expert help.
So, why do you need a creative cover letter? Hiring Managers get dozens of applications daily. Most candidates stick to the safe format of a brief one-page cover letter that talks about their motivation for wanting the job.
While this approach works, it ends up creating repetitive content. Think of having to read the same phrases over and over again on a daily basis. You definitely wouldn't enjoy it, and it won't help you distinguish between candidates. This is how Hiring Managers feel.
The best way to cut through the noise and beat the competition is to be different. Avoid clichés like:
- "This is the exact job I'm looking for"
- "I believe I'm perfectly qualified for the position"
- "I'm willing to work really hard"
- "I think outside the box"
- "As listed on my resume"
These are some of the most abused phrases a cover letter could have, and Hiring Managers see them as unoriginal.
If you want to find out more of the clichés you have to stop using, check out 10 Cliché Cover Letter Lines to Stop Using Right Now.
When you put some creativity in your writing, however, you show the recruiter right away that you're willing to go the extra mile and truly think outside the box.
Now let's get to the tips on how to write a creative cover letter.
1. Start by asking a question
Break the ice with a question instead of making the same old statement.
"Dear Hiring Manager,
I am writing to apply as a Sales Associate with Company X."
This is the most overused phrase in cover letter history. The recruiter already knows what position you're applying for. After all, it's listed throughout your entire profile. Go with a question instead:
"Dear Hiring Manager,
Have you ever tried to sell ice to an Eskimo? I have. And I made quite a bit of money, too. I believe that sales is all about..."
Using a question will engage the reader right away. The Hiring Manager is much more likely to continue reading if you open with an interesting question as opposed to a generic statement.
2. Tell a story
The best way to show why you're qualified to do a certain job is by using the show vs tell method.
Instead of repeating the qualifications on your resume, explain how you've actually put them to work.
"I've got experience with dealing with angry customers and turning them around."
While this fact may be true, it's a boring statement. Spice it up by illustrating with an example.
"During my time as a Personal Banker, we had a security breach and a few clients' accounts got hacked. Understandably, they were really upset. I stepped in and guided them through the entire process of getting their money back. In the end, they were so grateful and happy with the service, that they remained our most loyal customers."
While being qualified on paper is good, what actually matters is how good you are in action. Get creative and think of a powerful and relevant example to illustrate your skills.
3. Include information about the company's current projects
Show that you're serious about the job by referring to relevant news about projects the company is involved in.
You can find out what they're up to by reading the company blog and following the business on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
"I'm really excited to see your work on (current project) because (relatable reason) which is one of the reasons why I'd love to be a part of the team."
4. Show passion
Hiring Managers always choose those who are most motivated and passionate about the position, not simply qualified.
Express your desire and interest in the position. You can say:
"If loving sales is wrong, I don't want to be right."
A creative statement like that will surely get noticed.
5. Talk about relevant accomplishments
Sharing your accomplishments is another way to demonstrate how you put your skills to work in real life.
Instead of saying:
"I'm trained in sales"
"I won the Sales Associate award of the month all 5 years while I was at my previous job. At this point, I can sell ice to an Eskimo."
Make sure to include your accomplishments on your resume as well, so that
6. Use humor
Humor is something that most cover letters lack. Brighten up the recruiter's day and stand out from the competition by using a joke or two.
"I know you've been waiting for a detail-oriented, focused, and highly-social associate. You've been asking friends, family, your hairdresser, even a genie for one. Well, here I am."
One note here is to be mindful of the type of company you're applying to. If it's a trendy startup, you've got more room for humor as opposed to an established bank. Whenever appropriate, make use of humor.
7. Show your personal connection to the company
It's always a good idea to talk about any personal experience with the company. Showing that you've been a customer for a while can be really helpful for writing a creative cover letter.
"As a (Company Name) user for 5 years now, I know that you stand for amazing customer care, have the friendliest repairs department, and are always there when your computer breaks down in the middle of the night in a remote part of Indonesia."
Hiring managers always like seeing that the candidate knows the company well. The best way to illustrate that is to mention your own experience.
Ditch the boring cover letter template and get creative. Use a sense of humor, mention relevant accomplishments, and demonstrate your knowledge of the business in order to stand out and land the job.
Have one last look at your resume, and get to applying. For expert help, head over to our resume builder.