How To Create A Winning Cover Letter With A Job Application
Surveys tell us that recruiters spend just one-minute reviewing job applications, so your cover letter must deliver immediate impact. The simplest way to create a winning cover letter that meets these criteria is to adopt the AIDA marketing technique.
AIDA stands for:
- Awareness: Secure attention
- Interest: Hold the reader’s attention through interest
- Desire: Arouse desire and enthusiasm and create confidence and belief
- Action: Call to action
AIDA is pretty much the industry-standard format for delivering a marketing message and here is how it can be applied to produce a winning cover letter:
1. Awareness: Capturing attention by addressing a key pain-point
There are many ways to capture the recruiter’s attention. For example, you could start the cover letter with a catchy headline, formatted in bold and/or underlined. This could be focused around addressing a known pain-point for the organisation. Let’s say that you know the incumbent team is struggling as it goes through a period of change, then your headline would focus on addressing this pain point, for example:
Do you need someone who can drive through change?
Effective leader with excellent skills in change management
Showing you can address a key pain-point will immediately capture the recruiter’s attention. Try and mirror the vocabulary of the job advert for enhanced impact.
2. Interest: Maintain attention by developing interest
Average attention spans are now thought to be about 8 seconds, so the first paragraph should focus on sustaining that initial interest before the reader zones out. You made a big upfront claim and the reader could be turned off if you don’t back it up straight away. In a few lines summarise your key experience that qualifies you for this role and which substantiate your headline statement. Also, describe why you are supremely motivated by this role and company. Make them believe that this is not just another application for you, but your dream job.
3. Desire: Create desire by showing you are interview material
Now, you’ve established yourself as a promising applicant, you need to quickly show them that you are interview material. This should be straight forward, assuming you have the right skill set. Firstly, find the top 2 to 4 job requirements, (either by reviewing the job description or having a call with the recruiter). Then write a compelling, bullet-pointed statement that uses quantifiable achievements to justify how you meet each of these requirements, creating belief in your skills.
4. Action: Call to action
All good sales letters end with a call-to-action, to help close the deal. In the case of a cover letter, you could invite them to view some value-adding content online, (such as a video, white paper or presentation) that showcases a particularly relevant skill of yours. This will create further confidence in your application.
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