Finding a job means finding your “right fit” – where you are the solution to the employer’s problem. You are conducting a marketing campaign – marketing your abilities, skills and track record toward the positions where you can make the most impact. So it makes sense to use marketing techniques.
A cover letter is your only opportunity to make the match between your skills and the job in question.
Think about it: your resume is about you and your past accomplishments (hopefully). You can and should optimize your resume for each job by using key words that are in the job posting and job description. That simply tells the ATS or human reader that you have the necessary qualifications.
Direct response is the marketing method that is most applicable to job applications.
Cover letters are essentially direct response vehicles – you want the reader to respond by giving you an interview.
In direct response, sometimes the longer letter performs better than the short one (meaning more people respond to it by giving money or ordering something). In my mind, the best cover letters are the ones that grab your attention, tell a compelling story about why you will be able to deliver results for the employer based on your past, and describe why you want to work for the company in question. We also want the reader to go to your resume to see your accomplishments.
If you want to show a recruiter that your past is a fantastic predictor of what you’ll do for the employer, you need to write a cover letter that presents that case. Click on the links below to see sample cover letters that got interviews – the desired response.