Entertain this idea for a minute: a three-sentence cover letter. If you're thinking "Yeah, right, " think again. A three-sentence cover letter could potentially be the best cover letter you ever write. For the rest of this article, transport your mind to a place where cover letters don't have to be stuffy, robotic and just plain boring. It's about time you write the cover letter you actually want to write. Here's how you can get on your way to an attention-grabbing cover letter that represents your authentic self.
1. Add some humor
Make someone laugh. They'll probably remember you better. You can be a little self-deprecating or employ a funny analogy. Think about this: Who are some of your favorite colleagues? Probably people who don't take themselves so damn seriously and have the ability to bring some levity to the team. Who wouldn't want that on their team? Show you can bring your awesome skills and awesome personality.
2. Be very specific
Do not send a generic cover letter. Repeat: DO NOT send a generic cover letter. They can be spotted a mile away and are as fun to read as they are to write. Try your very best to find a name you can address your letter to. A name is one of the most effective ways to make the letter feel more personal.
3. Cut the length
It doesn't need to be so long. Keep it short, simple and to the point. If you're starting to feel like you're writing for the sake of writing, stop. Cut the fluff. Don't be intimidated if your cover letter doesn't fill the entire page — there's no rule that it has to be one full page. Quality over quantity is especially pertinent here.
4. Show how you can solve specific problems
Saying you're a 'problem-solver' is about as helpful as explaining your preference for chocolate croissants over regular croissants. Don't tell them about your amazing problem-solving skills. Explain the details of a particular problem you played a key role in solving and how exactly you employed your skills to solve it. Better yet, if you know the company has a particular problem you could help solve, outline how you can help solve it.
5. Visually match your resume
The heading of your letter should correlate with your resume, the font should be the same and the paper (if you're printing it) should also be the same. Your cover letter is part of a pair, and this pair should be visually consistent.
6. Keep the design simple, clean & easy to read
Read: no distractions. Stick with the classic fonts in reasonable sizes. No need to mess with the margins.
7. PDF, always
If you're submitting a cover letter online, it should always be sent as a PDF file. We all know there is something just so unreasonably frustrating about trying to open a file that isn't compatible with your computer. Your cover letter should never provoke technological frustration — that's bad juju before someone even reads it.
8. Consider using a template
This is an especially good idea if you're already using a template for your resume. In fact, if your resume is templated, your cover letter absolutely should be too. A template is a great way to get some structure going. It can help make a big, blank, white page a little less intimidating.
9. Remember: There's more to Etsy than handmade jewelry
Etsy is a fantastic place to purchase resumé and cover letter templates. They often come in a bundle, and there are myriad design choices to browse. There's an option for every personality. Here's a few to consider:
Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!