Ever wondered what makes a cover letter stand out in a swarm of job applications?
A 7-year-old, Chloe Bridgewater, figured out the secret formula when she applied for a job at Google.
And Sundar Pichai responded with an encouraging “rejection” letter.
1. Sundar’s Letter
2. Chloe’s Letter
3. A picture of the ambitious job seeker with her mentor
Take a moment to read her cover letter carefully. We’ll wait……
Now I know what you’re thinking.
She had the adorability factor working for her.
While that may be true, there is a lot we can learn about cover letter writing from Chloe.
Let’s face it, she nailed it!
After all, a letter from Google’s CEO is, well, a letter from Google’s CEO.
Here are five things you can learn from Chloe for your own cover letter.
#1 She addresses Sundar personally
She starts the cover letter by clearly indicating who this letter’s target audience is, by addressing Sundar as “Dear Google Boss”.
A reader knows when a cover letter is generalized when it starts with “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”.
Recruiters and hiring managers these days are compelled to not even open the resume if they don’t see any effort made in who the cover letter is meant for.
Take this crucial opening tip from Chloe.
Use LinkedIn to research the hiring manager’s or recruiter’s name of the company and position you are applying to.
Even if you don’t get the exact person recruiting or hiring for this role, if you looked up the right job title in the company, they will more likely be compelled to forward it to the right person.
#2 She clearly stated why she wants to work for Google
Sitting on bean bags, go-karts, and going down slides was a clear motivation for her to want to work at Google.
You have to admire how specific she was.
Not only has she identified her compelling reason to work for the company, she also demonstrated that she researched personal details about the organization.
Hiring managers need some assurances that you’re going to be in this job for a while because rehiring is a painful process for them.
In your own cover letter, indicate what appeals to you about the company and mention specifics about its future that interests you as well.
You can use Google News and review the company’s website press release section to get these details.
This level of personalization will indicate to the hiring manager that you’ve done your homework and you are in this for the long haul.
#3 She highlighted her strengths, with proof!
Most job seekers still cling on to the safety net of tired outdated words like “hardworking”, “fast learner”, “hit the ground running.”
She told the tech giant about her skills in computers and how she applies those skills to her tablet game where she “moves a robot up and down squares.”
She even indicates a stellar reference from her teacher, who advocates her knowledge in spelling, reading, and her sums.
For your own cover letter, ditch the tired language.
Hiring managers have heard enough of weak words like “ambitious”, “self-motivated” and “passionate”.
Instead, show proof of your skills and strengths:
– How much time/money/effort did your skills save?
– What were your sales numbers?
– How did you improve productivity with your skills?
– What did your boss or colleagues say about your efforts?
– What were your past performance review ratings? (if not confidential)
#4 She totally blew her competition out of the water
A job application is a race.
The job goes to the best applicant, and you have to prove yourself to the hiring manager over the other candidates.
In Chloe’s case, her competition was her sister Hollie.
Chloe highlighted why her skills and strengths are right for the job, with her interest in computers and tablets (as opposed to dolls and dressing up)
OK, so do not directly diss your fellow candidates in your cover letter of course.
While you shouldn’t be talking down your competition, your intent is to keep the focus of your cover letter on what makes you unique and the right candidate for the job.
Keep this in mind when you write your next cover letter.
#5 She was honest and sincere
Chloe concluded her letter with a sincere and honest message.
She mentioned she was following the job application process to the best of her ability in hopes of getting a job.
This was the first letter she wrote other than to Father Christmas.
And, she corrected her grammar. “good” was struck out and replaced with “Good”.
Your own cover letter gives you an opportunity to openly address any issues or concerns directly to the hiring manager.
You don’t get to be frank about specific shortcomings in your resume to the hiring manager with your resume itself.
This is extremely important because it reduces the chances of unconscious bias in the minds of the hiring managers.
Common issues job seekers may face are:
– A gap in the resume due to a long career break
– Lack of experience
– Short tenures on each job
– Being overqualified for the role you’re applying for
– Not currently residing in the same area of the job’s location
If you have identified that these could be areas of potential concern for you, don’t be afraid to call them out by giving a sincere, honest reason as to why they exist and how you plan to address them.
Be brief enough that it satisfies the hiring manager just enough to want to consider and open your resume.
Because if you don’t address the concern, the hiring manager will formulate their own assumptions in their heads, and those are usually not in your favor.
Putting it all together
Chloe’s cover letter is a wake-up call to us consequence averting adults.
She was not afraid to speak her heart and highlight her core values and strengths, something we adults are generally not comfortable doing on paper.
If you truly feel you are a good fit for the job and you want it bad enough, find the courage to bring your strengths and values to the forefront of your cover letter.
Comfort zones and safety nets won’t get you the job.
Easy as it may be to send out generic cover letters with age-old jargon, remember it’s just as easy for the hiring manager to toss it in the trash.
Standing out takes guts like Chloe’s, and if you want to bring that job home, it starts with bringing out your honesty and sincerity in your job applications.
Maybe you won’t get a letter from Sundar Pichai, but you’ll never know what you’ll get if you don’t try.
Start customizing your cover letters with these 5 tips above and you will start to see results like never before.