What is a Disruptive Cover Letter?

Have you ever asked yourself what the point of a cover letter is? They’re tricky to write, time-consuming, and a great deal of effort. Sometimes a job description doesn’t even call for one, so do you need to write it? Rest assured, the cover letter is worth the work, whether or not it’s requested. It can play a huge role in your chances of snagging an interview. Instead of asking if you should write a cover letter, refocus your efforts on how to write an effective cover letter that will catch a recruiter’s attention.

Part of why cover letters seem pointless is because, truthfully, they’re often boring and predictable. If you were a recruiter, would reading the same cover letter over and over again invigorate your candidate search? You want to submit the right type of cover letter that will create a connection. One tool is to write a disruptive cover letter.

The thinking behind disruptive cover letters is to not just expand on your resume, but to tell a story or surprise the reader with an opening line that sparks interest and entices them to keep going. This method really gets to the heart of the purpose: letting the company know that you understand their values and why you want to join their team.

One of the first steps you can take is with the opening line. Avoid things like, “I’m applying to this job because…” or, “I’m writing to you because…” What do these both have in common? They’re obvious, don’t need to be stated, and are not innovative. Think about why you really want to work for this company and use that motivation to open your cover letter. Did the company’s services impact you or a loved one? Have they designed something that revolutionized your life? Do you remember the first time you interacted in some way with the company? Those stories provide compelling material that sets the tone for a disruptive cover letter.

Other strategies for a successful disruptive cover letter include keeping your tone warm and friendly. Sometimes we write cover letters as if they’re only being read by a robot, so when a person ends up reading the cover letter, it comes across as a bit too formal. Try to address your cover letter to someone specific, like the hiring manager. If you don’t have anyone’s name, avoid “To Whom It May Concern” and instead say “Dear HR Team” or something along those lines.

With all of this in mind, you can continue to write the cover letter with a couple objectives. Identify what you think the company does exceptionally well and think about the job description and how you that ties into elevating the values. All of this combined will help keep your cover letter fresh and exciting.

You can visit a no-cost Goodwill Career Center and ask a career advisor for assistance with job preparation, including resume building, cover letter writing, and interview techniques. Call 602-535-4444 to find a center near you or visit our locations page.

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