Job seekers often know about the importance of incorporating their brand into their resume but forget how pertinent it is to also establish that brand in a cover letter. If you are in the process of writing your cover letter, it's time to think about how you can incorporate your brand—the well-rounded definition of your capabilities as a professional—into this important document.
1. Start with a Personal Branding Statement—or Similar
A personal branding statement is a 1- to 2-line introduction that provides quick insight into your accomplishments. Although these statements are often used in resumes (we never write a resume without one; they’re priceless for standing out among the competition), make sure you include your branding statement in your cover letter as well.
Start by writing a brief paragraph about who you are, and list some of your greatest career highlights. Then you can focus on why you're applying for the job, what the company needs, and the value you can offer the organization that your competitor cannot.
2. Highlight Your Results and Show You're Trying to Make a Difference
In your opening, you already gave them a strong, polished one-liner to remember you by, but now is your chance to dig a bit deeper by exploring why you're a viable candidate.
If you're not sure where to gather the information from, here are some questions to ask yourself.
What have you done to make a difference in the positions in which you've worked? What initiatives have you thought up on your own and then followed through with in your effort to further the profession to which you’re dedicated? Which awards have you won based on accomplishments or pure dedication?
These questions can help you define who you are as opposed to merely what you've done. Utilize this information in your opening paragraph, but make sure you’re choosing relevant information for the position.
3. Mention Your Online Brand
While discussing your passion for your career and the possibility of working for the company, you could mention that you manage a not-for-profit blog that allows you to delve deeper into the field—or that you volunteer with an organization in order to provide your expertise. (That's if you really do, of course.) The point is to let the employer know that you spend time focusing on your profession outside of your required work hours—something that is not just impressive but admirable as well.
Something to make note of is that it's best not to oversell your brand in your cover letter. You want to zero in on your brand without saying the words, "I'm amazing in my field because …” Humility goes a long way when striking a balance between confidence and professionalism.And if you can do it effectively, it could mean the difference in your being considered for a position versus being considered an average candidate with run-of-the-mill skills and no shot at the job.
3 ways to highlight your unique value proposition.
Job seekers often overlook the cover letter in favor of the resume, but it’s just as important and effective in getting you noticed by your dream employer. It’s not only a way to expand on your experience, but showcase your unique selling points, or personal brand.
When drafting your cover letter, it’s essential to tailor it. That may include limiting your brand’s focus: You don’t have to expand on everything you have to offer, only those traits and skills that match the job description. At the same time, you want to be able to tell why you’re best fit among candidates who may have the same qualifications — what makes you different.
3 ways to showcase your personal brand
The tricky thing about cover letters, however, is that they’re actually not about you, but rather what you can do for the employer. Essentially, your cover letter should showcase your brand in a way that matches exactly what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Three things to keep in mind when showcasing your brand in your next cover letter:
Be Creative. The opening of the cover letter is most crucial, as it’s the first impression the employer will get from you. Instead of a boring, standard opening, consider a different approach. You’ll still want to address how you’ll help the employer, but using a narrative hook (for instance, the story of how you became interested in the company) is a unique way to reveal your knowledge and use your own voice instead of a template’s.
Show and Tell. The body of your cover letter is an extended view of what’s already on your resume. As both should be tailored to the job description, choose which accomplishments, competencies, or experiences to talk about in greater detail. You don’t have to choose all of them, but focus on one or two where you can show off the results and how they apply to the job position at hand. Be sure to link them to your Web site or portfolio, which can prompt employers to see more that you’ve done.
Close Strong. Nearing the end of the cover letter, you want to wrap it up with strong language and a call to action. Avoid using qualifying words (“I think, I believe”) and let them know when you intend to follow up. At the same time, link your social media sites, so they’ll get to see your interactions and expertise for themselves.
In these ways, your cover letter will be focused, concise, and connect your brand to the employer’s needs.
Reposted with permission from Personal Branding Blog