8 Powerful Phrases to Use in Your Cover Letter
If you’ve registered your CV on Job Mail you should remember that what’s written on your CV is important when it comes to applying for a job, but the cover letter accompanying it will determine whether it even gets read at all. Your cover letter often gives a first impression of you to a prospective employer. This is why it is crucial to spend some time and effort on your letter, and to make sure you stand out from the rest of the applicants.
Rather than rely on clichés to fill your cover letter, you should opt for some of these powerful phrases to help you catch the eye of an employer or hiring manager:
1. “Dear [name of the person who will be reading the letter]”
Starting your letter with “Dear Sir/Madam”, or “To Whom It May Concern” shows that you haven’t gone to the trouble of finding out who you are contacting regarding the position. At worst, it will seem like you are sending the same cover letter to a bunch of different employers without changing anything.
Rather take the time to find out who will be handling the hiring process, and make sure to address your cover letter to them personally. You might have to make a phone call, or send an e-mail, to attain this information. But it will instantly make the person reading the letter establish a personal connection with you.
2. “I have the pleasure of being acquainted with…”
If someone you know works at the company, and told you about the job opening, you can mention this in the letter. It will act as an endorsement of your candidacy. You can also add, “She/He recommended that I contact you about the open position.”
Before you do this, just make sure that it is okay with your contact that you mention them in your cover letter!
3. “These skills make me a perfect candidate for the job”
Rather than use generic terms like “driven” and “dynamic” to sell yourself, talk about specific skills that make you a perfect candidate.The attributes you use to promote yourself should be real and demonstrable, not vague and abstract.
You can even take a part-time training course to develop solid vocational skills in your professional field, so that you can back up your claim with a training certificate.
4. “Given my extensive experience as…”
Don’t sell yourself short. Be confident and promote your expertise.You can mention any specific experience you have that makes you an ideal candidate for the position.
5. “I presume you have been swarmed with CVs since the job opening was advertised. Mine is one more, but I do have some skills that are hard to come by.”
Like with any kind of writing, you want to hook your reader. A sentence that shows you are well aware of other candidates, but that you have something they don’t, might intrigue the employer enough to want to see what you’ve got.
It also doesn’t hurt to be a bit creative with your cover letter and to deviate from the standard template that everyone else follows.
6. “The position strongly appeals to me because…”
Employers want someone who is looking for more than just a pay cheque –someone who is passionate about the job. This is your chance to make it personal and to say exactly why this job appeals to you on a deeper – i.e. more than just monetary – level.
You can also use a phrase like “Your company ranks number one on the list of companies I’d like to work for.” Be careful, though: you’ll need to give proper motivation for this statement, as an employer will be able to see straight through empty flattery.
7. “Your company has advertised a job opening for which my experience directly qualifies me.”
Your letter should feel like it is specifically targeted, instead of being a generic cover letter you send out to all employers.
Be specific, and try to focus each part of your letter on unique elements of the job opening. The phrase “directly qualifies me for” helps with this – provided you can explain exactly how your experience qualifies you for the job.
8. “I am considered to be a high performer by my current employer.”
The phrase “current employer” is key here. Employers often prefer to hire candidates who are currently employed, rather than candidates who are unemployed.
Employment shows that a candidate is valued by someone else, and that they want the job to advance their careers, instead of out of desperation.
Make sure to slip in the fact that you are currently employed, if that is the case.
How to avoid clichés at all costs
Recruiters, employers, and HR representatives receive dozens of CVs and cover letters each day. And unsurprisingly, most of them sound pretty much the same.
Here are some clichés that can make any recruiter roll their eyes:
- “I’m a fast learner”
- “I’m the best person for the job”
- “I am driven”
- “I am a go-getter”
- “I am a team player”
- “I am a dynamic leader”
- “I think outside the box”
When writing your cover letter, examine each phrase and ask yourself if it might be a cliché. You can even go look on LinkedIn to see what phrases people in your industry use over and over again on their profiles. Or you might take a look online for cover letter examples, and see what clichés you can identify, and consequently avoid.
After identifying some clichés, think about how you can say the same thing differently. And think about how you can phrase what you want to say so that it is more specific, meaningful, personal, and targeted to the specific job ad and its requirements.
Want more help with your job applications?
Here are some useful blog posts from distance learning college Oxbridge Academy that will assist you with your job search:
- What Your CV Really Says about You
- The Best Ways to Explain Long-Term Unemployment on Your CV
- 10 Words You Should Never Use on Your CV (or LinkedIn Profile)
- How to Enhance an Empty CV
Watch this space for regular updates for Job Seekers on the Job Mail Blog.