Finally. You found it. The dreamiest dream job that ever waltzed into existence. And you're ready to apply.
You sit down to craft your cover letter, and the primary thought in your mind is: I hope they choose me. I really want this job.
Anxiety floods your body, triggering a rush of paralyzing thoughts and questions: Am I good enough? Do I have the right qualifications ? What if they've already found someone to hire? Am I just wasting my time? What if I sound too casual? Or too formal? Am I just kidding myself? Gah!
What pours out of your fingertips goes something like this:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to inform you of my interest in applying for the position of social media director at Save the Dolphins. I believe I am highly qualified and possess the necessary skills to meet the criteria you have outlined. Over the past several years, I have refined my ability to…
You stop mid-sentence, realizing that your cover letter sounds totally depressing and awkward. And no wonder! Trying to convince someone that you're "worthy" of respect and attention is—well, totally depressing and awkward!
The good news? There’s a very simple mind trick that changes your entire cover letter-writing approach in an instant.
Pretend that the person you're writing to already loves and respects you. Pretend that the person you're writing to already believes that you're worthy and valuable. Pretend that the person you're writing to doesn't need a big sales pitch.
This person already gets what makes you great. In fact, you're basically already hired! The hiring manager is just curious to learn a teensy bit more about you.
You could even pretend that you just received an email from your soon-to-be boss, saying:
Hey, since you're practically already part of the family, we'd all love to learn a little more about you!
So, tell us: What inspired you to apply for this position? (We're sure glad you did!) What are your big passions, dreams, and goals? Got any ideas on how we could do things even better around here?
We're so curious! We love your smart brain, we value your ideas, and we want to get to know you!
Return to your cover letter draft, start fresh, and see what pours out of your fingertips this time. Now that you’re “pretending,” I’m guessing it’ll be something like this:
To my friends at Save the Dolphins:
When I learned that you were seeking a new social media director, I was over the moon.
Because when I'm not geeking out about the latest Instagram filter or Twitter meme, you can usually find me at the beach—hunting for starfish and sea anemones or catching a wave on my longboard.
Social media and the sea: my two greatest passions. Using one to heal and protect the other? A total dream.
My current role as a marketing manager at Bubbly Cola Co. has been a blessing—for the past three years, I've learned from the best in the business. And while my current position is pretty close to perfect, my supervisor fully supports my desire to find a new role that brings together all of my passions—especially my passion for planet-saving activism. In fact, when I told her about the position at Save the Dolphins, she smiled and said, "You've got to go for this. I'll be furious if you don't."
This is the part where I'm supposed to request an interview and assure you that "references are available upon request." Which is true.
But what I really want to do is offer you a gift : a six-point plan to help your marketing team use social media even more powerfully, starting right now. You can download the plan here . I hope it's helpful and fun. (I certainly had fun creating it!)
Oh, and if you'd like to walk through the plan over coffee, chat more about the open position, or swap stories about swimming with dolphins—I'd be thrilled. Hope to hear from you soon.
Here's to a cleaner sea and greener world,
[Your name here]
The lesson here is this: The next time you need to sell yourself, just tell yourself: They already love and respect me. There’s nothing I need to prove.
It doesn't actually matter if it's true. If pretending helps to pull the words out of your head and onto the page, then it's precisely what you need to do.
Plus, sometimes, fantasizing can lead to real-world results. Try it — and see if it works for you!
Want more tips on how to express what makes you great? Hop on Alexandra’s mailing list for positivity-charged scripts and writing prompts. And don’t miss her new book: 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome .
Photo of woman writing cover letter courtesy of Shutterstock .
Tips for Writing a Career Change Cover Letter
by Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert
Are you miserable in your job and dreaming about a career change? Were you downsized from your last position and wondering if a new direction is right for you? Whatever the reason you want to change careers, you’re certainly not alone. Major career shifts have become common in today’s job market.
As you go through the steps to ensure a smooth transition, including researching your new career goal, networking with people in the field and brushing up on related skills, you might get stuck when you start to write your cover letter. After all, how do you market yourself for a career field where you have limited or no experience?
Here’s the good news: The cover letter is your friend. You can use this valuable tool to point out your relevant credentials, transferable skills and even passion for your new career choice. More than any other job seeker, you need a dynamic cover letter to prove how you would contribute to an employer. Follow these guidelines when creating your letter.
It’s Not About You
Many career changers make the mistake of writing about how the employer can help them achieve their new career objectives. Employers may not care about what they can do for you, but they definitely want to know what you can do for them. Look at the difference between these two cover letter statements:
- Before: I was excited to learn about your search for a technical support specialist. Your position will help me transition to the IT field and continue to develop my related skills.
- After: Your technical support specialist opening is an excellent match for my qualifications. Your customers will benefit from my strong customer-service orientation, expert problem-solving skills, and ability to quickly learn and master new technologies.
Tout Related Skills
You might lack the direct experience employers find desirable, but your skills may be transferable from another career. Show employers how these skills would enable you to be a top performer if you were hired. Here’s how one career changer presented such skills in her cover letter:
- I am seeking to leverage 15 years of top-ranked sales performance to transition to an HR role. I bring to the table a relevant skill set, including a high degree of organization, well-honed presentation abilities and familiarity with a range of IT systems.
Demonstrate Your Commitment
Maybe you’re willing to work for a day without pay to show how serious you are about your new goal. Or perhaps you’ll work part-time to get your foot in the door. Use your letter to prove that you will do what it takes to break into your new field. You can even make a win-win proposition in your cover letter, as this job seeker did:
- My goal is to secure a part-time assistant teaching position, which will allow you to appraise my performance before investing in me as a full-time employee.
Show Your Passion
Employers like applicants who are enthusiastic and motivated to succeed. Here’s an example of how to convey your passion in your cover letter:
- I am seeking to combine my scientific background as a chemist with my passion for sales. Your team will benefit from my proven ability to outperform customer expectations, sales quotas and project timelines within competitive, deadline-driven environments.
As you write your cover letter, be honest about your plans to change careers. You also need to communicate the reasons why you should be considered for a position in a new field. Believe in yourself, and you’ll have a better chance of convincing employers to believe in you.
This article was written by Kim Isaacs, director of ResumePower.com and author of The Career Change Resume book. Visit ResumePower.com to learn more about resume services to jump-start your career.
Copyright 2014 – Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on Monster, the leading online global network for careers. To see other career-related articles visit http://content.monster.com.
If you are changing careers, your cover letter needs to be carefully developed to showcase your transferable skills. Would you like us to write your career change cover letter for you? Contact us now — we would love to hear from you!