Differentiate Your Cover Letter

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A job application takes a lot of effort and time. Then it's a shame if your letter is hardly or not at all read because you're one of the many applicants. And so you want your letter to stand out and stand out. But how do you do that? You can of course make your letter stand out by having it delivered in an original way, by packaging it creatively or by sending something nice. But that takes even more time, effort and often money. Moreover, you have to come up with something new every time, because the world within a certain industry can be very small. You can only tell a good joke once. Then the joke is over.

How Do You Differentiate Your Cover Letter

How? Keep it simple! Focus on the employer and show how well you match.

1 - Focus on the employer and not yourself

An application is about finding the perfect match between applicant and employer. Of course, for you it's all about getting that job. But in fact it's about the synergy, so the win-win and the click! And you can already prepare that click in your cover letter. You do this by not only starting from yourself, but by putting the employer first and building a bridge from there to what you can offer. In order to be able to do that properly, you need to thoroughly immerse yourself in the company before writing your letter.

Immediately build a bridge

The first sentence of your cover letter is your entry. If you can immediately build a bridge between the activities of a company and your knowledge and experience, that immediately arouses interest. This is more powerful than when you open your letter with information about where you saw the vacancy.

For example:

"On your website I saw that you have a…. Search. This position is entirely in line with my knowledge and experience. "

"[Company name] is currently working on…. As a specialist in…. I would like to support you in this development. "

In the first example you start from yourself. In the second example, you assume the employer. You show that you're aware of what is going on and that you would like to participate in it. So you immediately show that you have a genuine interest in the company.

Your first sentence must grab!

Most employers read the first sentence of your letter and then look at your resume almost immediately. Only when the resume is connected, they read your letter carefully. That's why that first sentence of your cover letter is so important. If the sentence is catchy, someone will be more inclined to read the entire letter first and then look at your resume.

2 - Only emphasize your qualities

A cover letter is nothing but a sales letter. You just don't sell a product, but yourself. Imagine you receive a letter of sale for a new laptop. All the benefits are listed in the letter. In one sentence somewhere between the lines you can also read that hard work is still being done on improving the stability of the system. Are you tempted to buy that laptop? Right!

This is also the case with a cover letter. So never indicate that you're not (yet) able to do certain things or that you like to learn or that you don't have much experience with something! With that you only emphasize that you're not completely connected. You sow doubt about yourself as a candidate. So leave it out! The employer looks at your resume and can easily draw conclusions from it.

In your cover letter you only emphasize your qualities. So your competences, achievements, knowledge and experience, insofar as they match the demand. Note: connecting is one thing, taking over the other. Avoid using the same words as in the vacancy text. Even if you have everything exactly like that at home. It just doesn't read well when you feel like you've literally read something like that before. Try to find another word for it, for example through synonyms.net or describe it. Is an employer looking for a flexible person? Then say that you always adapt easily to new situations.

Not exaggerate

Do not exaggerate! A boastful letter is irritating. An application is about finding the perfect match, so the win-win. A boaster draws all the attention and isn't a good team player for that alone. Simply show what you have to offer in a business-like manner and let the employer draw its own conclusions. Then you will not fall through the basket later.

3 - Speak the employer's language

The easiest way to connect to an employer is when you speak the same language. That seems easier than it is. But reading the website and social media will quickly give you an idea.

Does the company radiate an informal atmosphere? And does the company address customers with you and you? Then don't write a very formal letter, because that doesn't fit. Conversely, if it's a company that communicates very formally, try to adapt to that.

Do not violate yourself!

If a certain tone of voice (the language color in which the employer communicates) doesn't suit you, don't squirm to comply with it, because that is usually immediately noticeable! It comes across as artificial and therefore unreal. That's the last thing you want. Are you struggling to find the right style? Then keep it professional and businesslike. That is always possible.

Stand out with creativity

You can also stand out by being creative with your choice of words or sentence constructions. Also applies here: this only works if it really suits you. And it must suit the company and / or the position you're applying for. Do not go too far, because the recipient must be able to understand and feel what you're talking about in one fell swoop. Remember that most people already have an overflowing mailbox. Usually, cover letters are scanned more in the first round than really read intensely. Does your message not immediately get across loud and clear? Then you end up in the pile with rejected candidates.

Avoid standard sentences

Always try to avoid standard phrases as much as possible. You give the employer the feeling that the same cover letter is sent to everyone. That may give the impression that you're not really interested.

No language and typing errors!

Of course there should be no language and typing errors in your cover letter and resume. A Word spell checker is useful for quickly running through a letter, but often not enough. So read your letter carefully before sending it. Reading aloud often helps to see if your story is going well. Also show your cover letter to someone else. Often you're so close to your own text that you overlook some mistakes. Then it helps if someone else takes a fresh look at it again.

4 - Adapt your layout to the employer

The devil is in the details. You can of course put your cover letter and resume in a super cool lay-out, but if you apply for a job with a traditional employer, it will work to your disadvantage. The same also applies to fonts, layout, paper color (if you're sending a traditional letter) and a photo. So take a good look at the company where you would like to work.

Not sure? Just make sure your letter has a professional business look.

The freedom you can take in the layout of your cover letter also depends on the position you're applying for. For example, if you apply for a position as a graphic designer, this should certainly be reflected in your layout. Traditional companies also expect more creativity from people who work in creative professions. In short: it must fit.

Note: if you send your cover letter by e-mail, make sure that your letter and resume are printable. Many employers still prefer to read from paper and will therefore print your application. The last thing you want is for your potential employer to run to the office supply store or warehouse because the cartridge has run out.

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