"How to Transform a Boring Note Into A Killer Cover Letter"
"How to Transform a Boring Message Into A Killer Cover Letter"
The AIDA formula is as old as dirt. It was taught when I was in school over a decade ago. And it's still being taught for good reason - it works! When you apply it to your cover letter, it has the power to transform a regular cover letter into an attention-grabbing "Killer Cover Letter" that'll make your phone ring off the hook.
AIDA is an acronym. It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It describes the process marketers want to take their prospect through in order to make a sale.
In this case, the prospect is the hiring manager and you're selling yourself in the sense that you want the hiring manager to contact you for an interview. So I'm going to show you how to grab the hiring manager's attention, create interest, arouse desire, and ultimately get him or her to take action (pick up the phone and call you for an interview).
By the way, I've tested this killer "System" so I know it works. Ready to get started?
The first thing you need to do is grab the reader's attention. You must get the reader's attention before he or she can become interested and desirous of your offer to come in for an interview. We're all busy and we all have several things going on in our lives. So how do you cut through the clutter and grab the reader's attention?
There are several ways actually. One way is to create an attention-grabbing opening sentence or headline as copywriters call it. Think of it like the headlines in newspapers and magazines. You choose which articles to read by quickly glancing at the headlines, don't you?
So why not put an attention-grabbing headline on your cover letter? Most cover letters don't have an attention-grabbing opening sentence so the mere fact that your cover letter even has a headline separates you from the pack and draws attention to your message, wouldn't you agree?
Let's say you're walking along a crowded street and you spot a friend of yours on the other side of the street. Let say his name is Joe. How do you get Joe's attention? You could start jumping up and down and yelling, "Hey! Over Here!" That might work.
A better way would be to yell "Hey Joe! Over Here!" That'd be more likely to catch Joe's attention, wouldn't it? Because he hears his name. Personalization increases response dramatically.
Now let's take that thought and apply it to your headline. Adding personalization to your headline is a great idea. Use the recipient's name right there in the headline. It makes the message more personal and increases the chance the message is read.
Let's take that one step further. Say you're looking for a job as a nurse and you know the hiring manger's name is Susan. Susan is understaffed and looking for nurses. So give Susan an attention-grabbing headline to open your cover letter.
How about this, "Susan, Finally! A Nurse Who Can Do More Than Take A Temperature! But don't stop there. Make it big and bold. Remember, it's a headline. Make sure Susan notices the headline. Grab Susan's attention.
How could Susan possibly not notice that headline strategically placed at the top of your cover letter? And you can take that simple concept and apply it to a cover letter to any hiring manager for any job.
Now that you've grabbed the reader's attention with the opening sentence. Now we'll get them interested, arouse desire, and get them to take action. Let's get moving.
The next step is get the reader interested in what you have to offer. In this case, since you're applying for a job, the goal is to get the reader interested in you, right?
So how do you do that? You feed them interesting facts. Like how much money you saved your previous employer. By telling them how you were at top of your class. Or that you were one of the top salespeople and the qualities you possess that enabled you to become a top performer.
Look at your past. There have to be some accomplishments you can talk about. And you must possess some strengths that enabled you to achieve those accomplishments. Don't keep them to yourself. Tell the hiring manager. Create enough interest to make the reader want to know more. How else can they make an informed decision? You're not helping anyone by holding back.
You've grabbed the reader's attention and created interested, now you'll arouse desire by describing the benefits the company will get if it "buys" what you're selling (which is you). What are the benefits of hiring you?
You've got a proven track record. You possess qualities that have made you successful in the past and will continue to make you successful in the future. The hiring manger will be congratulated for making such an outstanding hiring decision. Those are some general ideas. I'm sure you can think of some that are more specific to you and your situation.
Fill in the details that apply to your situation. Do you have some special certification or accreditation? Do you have a specialized degree? Do you have unique and relevant experience that make you an ideal candidate for the job? Surely, there are several benefits you can use to sell the hiring manager on bringing you in for an interview.
Even if you're trying to switch careers, my killer "System" will get you noticed. You'll get interviews just because the hiring manger wants to meet someone who'd send such a creative cover letter.
All that's left now is to get the reader to pick up the phone and call you. Don't leave the reader hanging. You've grabbed their attention, created interest, and aroused desire. Now tell them what to do next. And don't be timid. I like to use a subheadline - a headline within the letter. It looks like this:
Here's What To Do Next