The Cover Letter That Led to Awesome Interviews

When I do a career planning unit, I am often amused by the students who list “design skills” or “very creative” on their resumes, yet use the exact same MS-Word default resume template.

A second observation is that students typically used their cover letters to describe their own emotions (e.g. as their burning desire for the job), rather than demonstrate their understanding of why their own skills match the employer’s needs.

Lisa Silva, describing a revelation that came during low point in her own job search, writes:  “The hiring manager isn’t here to make your dreams come true. They’re in it for themselves.”

Here’s the good thing about rock bottom: Nothing is off-limits. I gave myself permission to try any and all tactics in the cover letter playbook, from throwing in a Beyoncé GIF to pretending the hiring manager and I were good friends. Finally, 103 cover letters later, I landed on one that worked.

Within an hour, I had an interview request waiting in my inbox—and then another, and another. Soon, my response rate skyrocketed from 0 to 55%, and I was scheduling interviews with VogueInStyle, and Rolling Stone into my calendar. In other words, this letter—fueled by an old copywriting framework called problem-agitate-solve—is powerful stuff. –Lisa Siva, The Muse