Time to go back to basics, Honey! How to construct a Cover Letter comes up so often that I really want to break it down for you again. Once you have the hang of it, you will be whipping out incredible ones in NO TIME! Once you get down to the bare bones of the structure, there really are only 2 main paragraphs you need to construct — that's not so scary, is it! Let's go:
#1: STROKE THEIR EGO FIRST
This really is the #1 rule. I don't know about you but when I can put something into context visually it eternally resonates with me. So I am gonna do that for you! When writing your Cover Letter always picture this: when you meet someone new at a networking event, a party, on the tube, on a cheeky date ;) and they talk about themselves initially for a while — you are disengaged (#BORED), right?! It’s the same for your Cover Letter — your first opening paragraph needs to be about the BRAND and not about you.
So why them? Get specific and get researching. What work do you love of theirs? If they can see you have a GENUINE interest in them, a clear passion for/knowledge of the brand and they can see you have invested time into them already; this will get their attention and win you big points. Essentially, what can you say to make them want to read more?
TOP TIP: As you know before ANY application, you need to go get your spy mode on! Trawl through the company’s social, website, work, press, podcasts etc. and draw upon anything that reflects and relates to you.
For example, 'I loved the recent shoot you did for Danielle Cathari's latest collection. The ‘DIY’ aesthetic of the shoot creatively speaks to me, as I too love to push the norms of editorial fashion in a sustainable way'.
#2: REFLECT THE JOB DESCRIPTION
I know you have heard this 10000 times from me before Honey, but it really is important! Go through the job description and blend in key buzzwords and terms to nail the industry language. But to also reflect what they are looking for and need in a candidate! For example, maybe it says they are looking for a ‘Digital-Savvy creative’, so explain why you are exactly that by showing them what you have done or what skills you have to prove that.
TOP TIP: Back in the day at Uni, I physically printed off the job description and highlighted the words and terms. The words 'jumped out' visually to me and it made it a lot easier for my creative brain to make the literary connection... So, if you have a printer do this! If not just jotting them down is also great.
#3: SHORT AND SWEET FOR THE WIN
You really only want 2-3 (max) paragraphs on your Cover Letter. Do not EVER fill one page — 3/4 of a page is more than enough. I have talked about the structure in this article with the FYI Seven-Section Formula, but here is a quick break down:
- Address the employer
- What role are you applying to?
- What are you doing currently?
- Paragraph 1: Why do you want to work for the brand?
Stroke their ego paragraph (rule #1)
- Paragraph 2: What skills do you have that are relevant to the role? What can you SHOW OFF about?
Your job is to convince them you are right for the role so tell them why you would be a great fit! What skills do you have that match? What achievements do you have that match? What will they be impressed by? What can you bring to the table?
- Show them you really want it and why!
- End with a lasting and professional sign off
TOP TIP: Think about someone's attention span and how you can keep them engaged! Employers LOVE bullet points, that's why using them when listing role responsibilities on a CV works so well. So it's also something you could do on your Cover Letter...
For example, after your first paragraph you could have a section like this:
3 reason why I would be the perfect fit for the role:
- My experience at ……
- Whilst at University ….
- I have been following your brand and ….
#4: DON'T REPEAT YOUR CV
Your Cover Letter is a more defined and targeted asset for the employer and brand. The aim is to really show them why you would be the best fit for their role. So really focus on getting specific with the brand and their background, then get into your skills, what you can bring to the table, and what solutions you can bring to them. Remember to really focus on tailoring this to each role.
#5: SHOW SOME PERSONALITY
It’s all about hitting that sweet-spot of showing professionalism, yet individuality. With all of your assets, it’s about using emotive, original and exciting language. Use the job description as your blueprint and really focus on turning the generic language into powerful words. Turn the basic into 🔥 ... Check out this article which will help you!
For example, let’s take a look at a sign-off:
Before (boring and basic):
After (more oompf and personality):
'Thank you for your time [brand name or employer name], I really hope you succeeded in finding the perfect candidate!
Have a wonderful day,
Just because — I have created a cheeky FYI Worksheet to help you create the perfect Cover Letter 💖
Got a question or wanna know more about this Honey? Drop it in the FB Group! We will be waiting for you!