You know cover letters are important. But as a first time job seeker, you may be scratching your head as to what to write about. With undeniable inexperience in the workplace, you may feel you’re at a disadvantage. However, consider yourself lucky when it comes to writing your cover letter. You’re free from the burden of trying to wrestle with your past achievements, professional goals and somehow offer a value proposition to the firm. What you have on your side is excitement, enthusiasm and openness!
Here are a few key things to remember about cover letters and how to personalize them as a first time job seeker:
1. Tell a story.
You want to convey something personal about why you want to work at the company or enter a particular profession. Did you first fall in love with advertising when you finally understood that commercials play into our basic desires as humans driving you to create your own with your friends? Is there one particular commercial you’ll never forget? Whatever it is, you have a story to tell that is uniquely yours. Share this with the reader to grab their attention and offer something memorable.
2. Play Up Your Strengths.
While you may not have had a chance to let them shine in a professional setting, your strengths have certainly become evident in other ways. Are you a great public speaker? Do you think quickly on your feet? Maybe you learned you had these skills during the 8th grade play when the lead froze and you shocked yourself and your class by improvising to save the show. Maybe this moment was a defining one for you – one that made it clear you wanted to further develop your public speaking skills.
3. Be authentic.
Recruiters are used to reading cover letters of more experienced candidates. Usually, they all sound relatively the same. “I’m writing to submit my resume for your Account Director role. I have been a sales leader at every organization I’ve worked for, and I’m sure to bring the same success to your firm.” Blah, Blah, Blah. Don’t feel compelled to sound too formal. While you want to remain professional, that doesn’t mean your cover letters should lack personality.
4. Never use the same cover letter twice.
Of course there are a few exceptions, but remember, the jobs may be the same but the companies are different. They have their own mission and culture. Think of it like sending a message to someone’s dating profile. Do you think you’d have more success by sending the same blanket email to all your potential dates, or by personalizing each note showing you’ve taken the time to really understand what they’re about? Show them you’ve done your research! Why do you want to work for advertising agency X as opposed to agency Y? They’re both ad agencies, but they have different clients, put out different commercials and have different creative styles. Being able to articulate why you’re specifically interested in their company will make all the difference.