Table of Contents
- 1) Using storytelling to write an attention-grabbing cover letter
- 2) Creating content that is tailored to the demands of the prospective employer
- 3) Demonstrating your motivation for your target job
- 4) Sticking with a concise and succinct narrative
- 5) Submitting a cover letter, even when it’s not required
- 6) Writing to the target company’s language and tone of voice
- 7) Using a speculative cover letter
The labor market was significantly affected by the global pandemic when it hit in 2020. With preventive measures and vaccines in place, we’re now slowly seeing a path to full recovery. According to a report, U.S. employers managed to add over 450,000 jobs in January 2022. While there are more demands for jobs now, a subpar application is still a major no-no for 2022. The need to go above and beyond is still imperative for candidates to stay ahead of the competition.
Attention-grabbing cover letters are key to achieving a competitive advantage in a challenging labor market. As a matter of fact, a study revealed that 49% of recruiters pay more attention to a resume that is accompanied by a cover letter. This remains to be the case in 2022. In this article, we will discuss the top cover letter trends in 2021 that are expected to continue this year, as well as additional tips to know for 2022.
1) Using storytelling to write an attention-grabbing cover letter
Action-based accomplishment statements in your cover letter demonstrate your ability to achieve or outperform established goals. In turn, it can help you make your target employer feel confident that you’re a great fit for the role. However, creating a lasting impression goes beyond stating facts and figures in your narrative. Your cover letter needs to tell a story that takes the recruiter and the hiring manager on a journey through some of your key achievements.
Using storytelling to write an attention-grabbing cover letter can significantly impact your application’s success in 2022. Messages delivered as stories are more likely to captivate a reader’s attention and make you memorable. In the book, Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, the author estimates that facts are approximately 22 times more likely to be remembered if they are part of a story. To create a remarkable impression, try our tips below.
- Understand your target employer’s requirements and conform your narrative with what they are searching for.
- Craft a story that demonstrates a personal example of how you’ve utilized your skills to manage your responsibilities and achieve positive results.
- Showcase your motivation for applying and incorporate them into your story.
- Avoid sounding factitious by striking a balance between being genuine and professional.
- Maintain a clear narrative by communicating straightforward facts about who you are and excluding statements that don’t serve a purpose.
- Write the cover letter in paragraph form instead of bullet points.
2) Creating content that is tailored to the demands of the prospective employer
When you’re applying for multiple positions, it can be tempting to write a generic cover letter for efficiency. This is a wise thing to do if your goal is to fire off as many applications as possible. However, if you aim to land your dream job, a one size fits all content won’t do the trick. You need a cover letter that addresses the demands of your target employer.
Understanding the requirements of your prospective employer is essential when writing attention-grabbing cover letters. This allows you to make an informed decision about what information you should include. Additionally, it helps you determine what supporting details are necessary to communicate that you are the best candidate for the job.
To identify your target employer’s specific needs, take the time to review the job vacancy. Then, focus on the qualifications section and note the skills and experience required. For instance, they’re looking for someone with strong marketing skills. You can provide examples from your past job where you feel you made a major impact on the business. Don’t forget to write about the quantitative results you achieved.
3) Demonstrating your motivation for your target job
Steve Jobs once stated, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” This proved to be true by a distinguished psychologist who said that being motivated at work is a key component for making you feel fully focused and creative. In turn, employees are more likely to be optimistic, learn faster, and make better business decisions. For these reasons, employers are not only looking for candidates who can do the job. They also value candidates’ motivation for their target job.
If you’ve decided to change careers in 2022, the cover letter is a perfect way to convey your motivation and commitment to the new domain. This goes beyond stating you’re passionate about the new industry or job function. You need to prove it by demonstrating that you’ve put in the work and really want the work. If packaged correctly, this can be your strong selling point. To do this, make research your ally.
Apart from studying the job description, we also recommend checking the company’s website, social media, and relevant news stories. Then, use the information you found to highlight what captured your interest and motivated you to apply for the position. Articulate what element of the role you’re most excited about, why the company is your employer of choice, and what you would bring to the table.
4) Sticking with a concise and succinct narrative
According to Glassdoor, a job posting generally gets 250 applications. With this volume of applications, recruiters have limited time reading cover letters. In fact, a study revealed that their average initial screening time is just 7.4 seconds. In such a case, the longer, the better approach for your cover letter’s narrative won’t be ideal.
Unless explicitly stated in the job posting, your cover letter should be less than one page long. A survey from Saddleback College revealed that 70% of hiring professionals prefer the same cover letter length. This should provide sufficient space to include a persuasive and concise narrative of your qualifications. Resist the temptation of going on and on with your entire work history. Instead, maintain focus on relevant details.
We recommend breaking your cover letter into sections, which consist of four to five paragraphs. This makes it easier for the decision-makers to read through the content. For the first paragraph, indicate the reason you are writing and how you heard about the vacancy. Ideally, the second and third paragraphs should be used to explain your relevant skills and qualifications. Then, allocate the fourth paragraph to explain why the company is your employer of choice. Lastly, close off by thanking the reader for their consideration and requesting to meet to discuss further in a job interview.
5) Submitting a cover letter, even when it’s not required
Some job openings do not explicitly require candidates to submit a cover letter. Even if this is the case, we still recommend submitting a cover letter for all your job applications in 2022. Doing so demonstrates that you are committed to taking the necessary steps to show that you really want the job and are worth it. But of course, there are exceptions. If the job post specifically instructed you not to submit a cover letter, make sure to follow the instruction.
While cover letters may not be required 100% of the time, they can be a deciding factor for hiring. This was supported by a study on employer preference. The results revealed that 53% of decision-makers favor applicants who submitted a cover letter over those who didn’t. So, if you’re not keen on writing cover letters in your previous applications, this might be the time for a change.
Putting the extra effort to write a cover letter for a job you really want can be a game-changer for your job search journey this 2022. However, keep in mind that not all cover letters are created equal. The best cover letter differentiates you from the crowd, connects you with your target employer, and demonstrates your passion for the opportunity. To maximize its impact, make sure to follow layout, structure, and content best practices.
6) Writing to the target company’s language and tone of voice
The language and tone of voice you use in your cover letter to get your point across can affect your target employer’s perception of you as a candidate. As the saying goes, “10% of conflict is due to difference of opinion, and 90% is due to delivery and tone of voice”. Similarly, striking the right language and tone can mean the difference between turning off your target employer and creating a positive impression.
As with any piece of writing, considering your audience is key to crafting an attention-grabbing cover letter in 2022. To accomplish this, take the time to get to know your target employer’s culture and expectations. Then, mirror their style and language in your narrative. Here are some key points to consider when drafting a cover letter for a specific industry.
- Use a professional, serious and straightforward tone for traditional industries, such as Banking, Insurance, and Legal.
- For neutral industries such as Healthcare, Telco, and Retail, maintain the right tone and style with a balance of formality and flexibility.
- Adopt a casual but serious and detail-oriented tone for companies in the progressive industry, like Marketing, Design, and Technology.
7) Using a speculative cover letter
According to the Bureau of Labor of Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate as of January 2022 is at 4.0%. Comparing it with the January 2021 data, there has been an improvement of 2.4% in a year. Even if this is the case, International Labour Organization (ILO) projects a deficit in hours worked globally equivalent to 52 million full-time jobs. As the world faces a long road to full job market recovery, candidates need to find non-traditional approaches to maximize their chances of landing a job sooner in 2022. One of the effective ways to do this is by using a speculative cover letter.
When it comes to format and structure, speculative and traditional cover letters are similar. But unlike a traditional cover letter, a speculative cover letter is used to apply for a job that is not currently advertised on job platforms. It highlights the skills and the benefits you can offer your target employer. Proactively opening a conversation with them can help you position yourself at the top list when a suitable vacancy arises.
While it’s best to tailor your cover letter for each application, it can be challenging when creating a speculative cover letter. This would require research and data-driven anticipation of what skills and qualities the employer may desire from a candidate. Since you are writing to find out whether a vacancy may be available, avoid sounding demanding in your letter. Instead of being too focused on asking for a job, make sure also to highlight your excitement at the prospect of working with them.
There are job applications where submitting a cover letter is optional. In such cases, many candidates skip writing a cover letter when submitting their applications. Don’t join the crowd. In today’s competitive job market, you need a way to outsmart the competition. Supplementing your resume with a cover letter is one of the effective ways to differentiate yourself from other candidates with similar credentials. To maximize its impact, adapt your writing with the best practices and the latest cover letter trends outlined above.