Cover letters are often an underappreciated part of the job seeking process. Some seekers don’t think to write one until the last minute and then are scrambling to write quickly without concern regarding format or content. Other seekers write one cover letter that they recycle repeatedly and turn in with every application. Cover letters are an opportunity to separate yourself from the field by selling yourself to the employer.
A cover letter should be written in the style of a formal business letter. In case you don’t remember your formal business letter rules, check here to see what a finished cover letter looks like when formatted.
With the formalities out of the way, let us introduce you to “AIDA”. That’s an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. AIDA is here to help you write the body of your letter.
The first A is for Attention. This is where you identify the reason for the letter and why the person reading it needs to pay attention to it. Write the position that you’re applying for and how you found out about the opening. Did you see it in a newspaper, did a friend refer you, etc.
I is for interest. Capture the manager’s interest by explaining why you are applying. Maybe you’re applying because you’ve used the company’s products, you know other people who work there, or you’ve heard about the company’s reputation. Flattery is a good thing here, talk about wanting a chance to help the company do what they are already doing well.
D is for Desire. Create a desire to meet you. This is where you identify unique traits from your work and life experience that make you well-suited for the position. You want to not only describe your strengths; you want to talk about why the strengths are perfect for this specific job.
First you want to show that you’re friendly and easy to get along with. Everybody prefers a positive coworker and so the person reading your cover letter wants to be assured that you play well with others. Tell them you do briefly. Then identify the skills you have that are pointed out in their job ad. Scour the position summary and pick out keywords that the company uses to describe the requirements for the position and identify how you have what they’re seeking.
The final A is Action, and in that action you’re going to ask them to take an action related to your interest in the position. Ask them for the job. Ask them for the opportunity to speak to them again. A phrase like “Thank you for reading this letter. I hope that you can contact me so that we can discuss this position further in an interview.” will work.
With AIDA’s help you can write cover letters that are more professional, more engaging for the reader, and hopefully will improve your results!