Finally. You found it. The dreamiest dream job that ever waltzed into existence. And you're ready to apply.
You sit down to craft your cover letter, and the primary thought in your mind is: I hope they choose me. I really want this job.
Anxiety floods your body, triggering a rush of paralyzing thoughts and questions: Am I good enough? Do I have the right qualifications ? What if they've already found someone to hire? Am I just wasting my time? What if I sound too casual? Or too formal? Am I just kidding myself? Gah!
What pours out of your fingertips goes something like this:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to inform you of my interest in applying for the position of social media director at Save the Dolphins. I believe I am highly qualified and possess the necessary skills to meet the criteria you have outlined. Over the past several years, I have refined my ability to…
You stop mid-sentence, realizing that your cover letter sounds totally depressing and awkward. And no wonder! Trying to convince someone that you're "worthy" of respect and attention is—well, totally depressing and awkward!
The good news? There’s a very simple mind trick that changes your entire cover letter-writing approach in an instant.
Pretend that the person you're writing to already loves and respects you. Pretend that the person you're writing to already believes that you're worthy and valuable. Pretend that the person you're writing to doesn't need a big sales pitch.
This person already gets what makes you great. In fact, you're basically already hired! The hiring manager is just curious to learn a teensy bit more about you.
You could even pretend that you just received an email from your soon-to-be boss, saying:
Hey, since you're practically already part of the family, we'd all love to learn a little more about you!
So, tell us: What inspired you to apply for this position? (We're sure glad you did!) What are your big passions, dreams, and goals? Got any ideas on how we could do things even better around here?
We're so curious! We love your smart brain, we value your ideas, and we want to get to know you!
Return to your cover letter draft, start fresh, and see what pours out of your fingertips this time. Now that you’re “pretending,” I’m guessing it’ll be something like this:
To my friends at Save the Dolphins:
When I learned that you were seeking a new social media director, I was over the moon.
Because when I'm not geeking out about the latest Instagram filter or Twitter meme, you can usually find me at the beach—hunting for starfish and sea anemones or catching a wave on my longboard.
Social media and the sea: my two greatest passions. Using one to heal and protect the other? A total dream.
My current role as a marketing manager at Bubbly Cola Co. has been a blessing—for the past three years, I've learned from the best in the business. And while my current position is pretty close to perfect, my supervisor fully supports my desire to find a new role that brings together all of my passions—especially my passion for planet-saving activism. In fact, when I told her about the position at Save the Dolphins, she smiled and said, "You've got to go for this. I'll be furious if you don't."
This is the part where I'm supposed to request an interview and assure you that "references are available upon request." Which is true.
But what I really want to do is offer you a gift : a six-point plan to help your marketing team use social media even more powerfully, starting right now. You can download the plan here . I hope it's helpful and fun. (I certainly had fun creating it!)
Oh, and if you'd like to walk through the plan over coffee, chat more about the open position, or swap stories about swimming with dolphins—I'd be thrilled. Hope to hear from you soon.
Here's to a cleaner sea and greener world,
[Your name here]
The lesson here is this: The next time you need to sell yourself, just tell yourself: They already love and respect me. There’s nothing I need to prove.
It doesn't actually matter if it's true. If pretending helps to pull the words out of your head and onto the page, then it's precisely what you need to do.
Plus, sometimes, fantasizing can lead to real-world results. Try it — and see if it works for you!
Want more tips on how to express what makes you great? Hop on Alexandra’s mailing list for positivity-charged scripts and writing prompts. And don’t miss her new book: 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome .
Photo of woman writing cover letter courtesy of Shutterstock .
If you want to make a career change, should you use your cover letter to point out that you're in career transition? If so, how do you say it so it appeals to an employer?
There's no hard and fast rule that says you should or should not draw attention to your career change, either in your cover letter or resume. It depends on your situation.
You might also like:
Here's my rule of thumb: In your cover letter, you're not obligated to state that you're making a career change. Do so only if it enhances your job application.
For example, if your previous line of work is somehow related to your new career, it could make sense to refer to your old career as a stepping stone to you new one. If, however, your former work is very different from you new career, then it might be best not to draw attention to your career transition.
Each of the following cover letter samples mentions one of these three types of career change:
- Career change from one type of work to another.
- Full-time moms making "career changes" back into the workforce.
- Exploring a career change.
Take a look!
Sample Cover Letters for Career Change
Cover Letter for Real Estate Appraiser
Marcus is making a career change from antique sales to real estate appraiser. This cover letter bridges his two careers and makes it easy for his reader to understand how she would benefit from having Marcus join her professional team.
Cover Letter for Administrative Assistant
This is a cover letter by a mother re-entering the workforce after being a full-time parent for the last five years. She's now ready to get back to work as an administrative assistant. Kim couldn't find out the name of her reader, so she started her letter with "Dear Director." This is much better than "Dear Madam/Sir."
Cover Letter for Graphic Designer
This cover letter email does three things for Tina, who is a server at Joe's Coffee Company. Tina wants a promotion to graphic designer in Joe's Marketing Department. Here's what she achieves with her email: Tina thanks the hiring manager for his recent phone call about the career move she has in mind.
Follow-Up Letter for Event Planner
With this follow-up letter, Cindy is reconnecting with Ms. Winters, someone she met a few years ago. Cindy is not asking Ms. Winters for a job. She's thinking about making a career change from florist to event planner. She's asking for an informational interview to get insight into event planning, which is Ms. Winters' profession.
Follow-Up Cover Letter for COO of Data Management
This cover letter is Roger's first step toward a career change into a new industry. He's contacting someone he met at a casual event at a friend's house. It's a good example of how to seize an opportunity you find within your personal network and use it to advance your career.
Cover Letter for Translator for Healthcare Services
This cover letter is an excellent example of how to present a career change to an employer. Scot's former career in administration falls into the background and it is his personal relationships and experience that get highlighted as key qualifiers for his new career as a translator for healthcare services.
Cover Letter for an English Teacher
Here's a cover letter for a teacher of English Composition at a community college. Notice how the applicant, Larry, presents his career change from business to teaching as a key qualifier for the job.
Cover Letter for Mortgage Sales and Customer Service
Alison's letter is an excellent example of how to present a job seeker's career change as a big plus to a potential employer. In the third paragraph she makes the case that her career change (from real estate sales to mortgage sales) is not only a logical shift, but also one that she's been leading up to all along. Smart move!