Introverts usually communicate better in writing than in person, but extroverts often have the opposite problem. They find it easy to make themselves understood while speaking, but writing presents new challenges. This makes the cover letter process especially tricky for extroverted job seekers.
If you consider yourself extroverted, then you feel refreshed and rejuvenated after personal interactions with others. People who talk to you feel that energy, and want to keep you around. You feel you’re the best version of yourself in person. It’s too bad that you can’t get to the interview stage without wowing hiring managers with a written cover letter and resume first. How can you master communicating in the written form?
Start now, but start slowly. Don’t put this task off. The longer you let things wait, the scarier they become. Just sit down now and take the first few steps. As you do this, don’t rush. Extroverts are known to jump into things without thinking it through carefully.
Since you have a large network, use it. Ask for advice. Turn to friends and mentors who have plenty of job search experience, and ask them for guidance and tips. They may provide valuable insights that can keep you on track and help you avoid mistakes as you write your cover letter. Better yet, someone in your network may be able to introduce you to the hiring manager. You never know until you ask.
Extroverts (like you) love to make connections and meet new people. Show this by addressing your cover letter to the person who will read it. Do some quick research to learn the hiring manager’s name. You can always call and ask. Spell the name correctly and use the proper title (Ms., Mr., or Dr.). If you can’t find it, just address it to the company itself.
Imagine that you’re talking to a friend. Your reader may be a recruiter or a department manager, but there’s a strong chance this person may be your future boss. So start your personal relationship off with a warm, friendly, professional tone, just as if the hiring manager were standing in the room with you. Read your completed cover letter out loud to make sure it sounds like something you’d actually say.
Your friends find you wildly entertaining, but keep chatty details to a minimum in your cover letter. While you strike a warm and honest tone, don’t share too much personal information. Stick to your professional profile, not your personal background. Don’t include details like your age, race, marital status, health, or anything else that is technically illegal for your employer to inquire about.
You can’t smile your way through a cover letter, but you do have another weapon: keywords. Build your letter around the two most important points you need to address: the nature of the open position, and the way your background and talents set you up for success in this role. To do this, you’ll need to read the job post carefully and look for keywords that are likely to capture your reader’s attention. Borrow exact phrases from the posting (such as, “customer oriented”) and use them in your cover letter (for example, “I am proud to say that I am extremely customer oriented”).
Sign off politely and purposefully. Your last paragraph should clarify exactly what you want your reader to do after reviewing your letter (invite you in for an interview, for example, or review your attached resume). But don’t frame this as a command or an instruction. Instead of saying “Please review my attached resume,” try, “I invite you to review my resume and contact me so we can discuss the position in greater detail.” Extroverts are known to forget the bigger picture. Don’t forget why you’re writing a cover letter.
Thank your reader. During your job search, there’s never an inappropriate time to say thank you. Start by saying it in your cover letter, and say it as many times as you like during the interview and negotiation stages.
Edit carefully. Writing and speaking take place in distinct parts of the brain. If you use the speaking parts to guide writing tasks (which is fine), you may wander into informal language. Your cover letter may get a little slangy, include terms that aren’t perfectly clear, or miss words that can make or break the meaning of a sentence. Review your document carefully — and then review it again — for typos, mistakes, dropped words, and incomplete sentences.
For more on how to create a winning cover letter and move forward with your successful job search, explore the resources on MyPerfectResume.