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How to Show Your Personality in A Cover Letter – and How Not To

Vocamotive June 4, 2018

If you’re applying for a new position, the cover letter is an essential part of your application, however it’s all too easy to make a fundamental error when drawing one up. Without one, you are unlikely to be considered for the job, but if you get it wrong you could also end up with your application being thrown in the trash. Here, we look at some top tips so that you can create the perfect cover letter that shows your personality, but which also makes you look like the sort of professional that your dream company would love to hire.

Why Show Your Personality In Your Cover Letter?

Some people prefer to keep their cover letter simple and basic, however this is a risky strategy, and failing to show a little more of yourself can end up doing your more harm than good. Although you would be limiting the risks of accidentally including something which made you look unprofessional or bad, a bland cover letter is a missed opportunity to potentially reach your goals.
Remember that the entire purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself in bite-size form to the recruitment team. Playing it too safe will result in a cover letter which merely states the obvious and won’t allow you to create the memorable impression which will have the recruitment manager on the phone inviting you to attend an interview. The more forgettable your application letter, the less likely it is that you’ll be snagging that dream job. That’s why adding some personality without going overboard is the best way to attract the attention of the recruitment team in the right way.

Does My Letter Sound Rude?

While you’d probably never be deliberately rude or obnoxious in your cover letter, sometimes applications can end up sounding that way accidentally when applicants try too hard to lighten up the tone of the letter. In general, avoid making any assumptions about the person who will be reading your letter, and never use those immortal words “you and I know”. That just sounds like you’re talking down to the hiring manager and will probably end up getting your letter put in the trash. 

Am I Giving The Right Information?

When you’ve written your letter, read it back through and just check that what you’ve written actually does inject personality into your application. Often, if you stick to the tried and tested, trite lines you aren’t actually saying anything relevant or informative about the person that you really are. Think of what you would actually say to a new acquaintance and eliminate anything which sounds superfluous and which you would never actually share in person.

How Can I Highlight My Skills?

Even though you’re trying to inject personality into your cover letter, you need to make sure that you’re not cheating yourself of the chance to show just what you have achieved and what you can offer their company. In fact, the elements of character that you are adding to the text should actually strengthen your description of your skills rather than detracting from them. Try to merge the two things seamlessly by explaining how your skills and experience carry over into your hobbies and interests, or how those leisure pursuits contribute to your professional abilities. 

Never Forget To Meet The Basic Requirements

No matter how hard you’re trying to impress through your unique approach to characterful letter writing, it’s important to remember to never forget to meet the basic requirements of any cover letter. For a start, it would be a huge error to forget to mention the ways in which you are the perfect fit for the vacant position, or to forget to check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
No matter how you want to express yourself in your own individual way, always make sure you follow the conventions of cover letter writing, including tailoring your letter to the job which you are applying for, using correct punctuation, grammar and spelling and always proofreading before you send. Without these simple basics, no matter how interesting and engaging your letter, you will most likely not be considered at all due to lack of professionalism. 

What You Should Include

Now that we’ve looked at all the things that you shouldn’t include, let’s look at a few things that you should make sure to add into your letter to have the best possible chance of success.

Give Some Examples

One error that many people make is to simply go back over the ground that they covered in their CV. That’s a waste of time and energy. Instead, you should not only state clearly what your expertise and skills are but also give some examples of how you have demonstrated those skills in the workplace, or even outside it.
By quantifying your accomplishments in a concrete way, the recruitment team can see how well you can perform and how you can put your abilities to good use. Whenever possible, make sure that you connect those experiences to the position which you are applying for, showing how or why it could be helpful or relevant to their company.

Write In A Formal Style But avoid Cliché

While taking a cautious approach and using a slightly more formal tone is always the best idea when writing a cover letter for a dream job, take care not to sound stuffy or use buzzwords which sound trite and overused. Plain English which can be read speedily and easily understood is always the best bet.

Refer Back To The Advert

Any successful cover letter will refer back to the qualifications and skills which are mentioned in the advert for the post, however avoid simply re-writing the job description. Instead, address those requirements in your own words and in a creative and engaging way.

Write As You Would Speak

One easy way of including personality in a cover letter is to write in a similar fashion to the way that you would speak. That doesn’t mean that you should include slang or informal language, but it does mean that it can sound a little more conversational and a little less stuffy. If you imagine how you would speak during a telephone interview with your prospective employer, this would be the ideal tone to use in your letter.

Don’t Be Afraid To Highlight Your Qualities

If you have a particular quality, don’t hold back. You need to highlight your abilities and leave the recruitment team in no doubt as to your ability to fit the vacant position. If there is a specific quality that you have that you feel could swing the recruiting officer in your favor, always mention it outright.

While writing a cover letter which shows your personality fully can take some time to create, in the end it will be well worth the time and energy that you have expended. Prospective employers are sure to appreciate your genuine approach and the effort that you have put in, and are much more likely to invite you to interview. Then, all that is left to do is to impress them face to face. Good luck!

Last Updated on June 4, 2018 by Voca_GC