Loving the Covering Letter

The cover letter is much greater than a necessary evil.

So much more than a pointless hoop to jump through or a repetitive waste of time.

In many ways the cover letter is the most creative, immediate and persuasive form of communication available to us when we’re not (or can’t be) there in person.

It’s the part of our career and our job search where we start with a blank piece of paper time and time again.

Today we have social media rock-stars, maverick careerists and job-seekers who have taken the essence of the cover letter and turned it into something wonderful and new. Take Féilim Mac An Iomaire or Ulrike Schulz for example – both have found new and exciting forms for what is essentially the role of the covering letter. To let people know, shortly and sweetly (and in their two cases cleverly, innovatively & cutely) exactly what they want and how they’re the best possible candidate for the job – their job.

Féilim and Ulrike have broken new ground but they have done so in a space that has rewarded innovation, appetite and direct action in the past. How many great careers started with a risky strategy like a long-shot approach to a big company boss or the investment of one person’s bottom dollar (or any other currency for that matter).

I love the cover letter because it has started so many careers and created so many opportunities for the people who have written and sent them. I also love it because new covering letters being written today (perhaps even right now) will be part of as yet unwritten success. Each one with the potential to be perfectly toned and tailored for their intended readers. Each one full of new possibilities to be more specific about the person it describes, more current in their experiences and ambitions, more compelling and more apt than any other letter for the job it either suits or creates.

Every covering letter has this potential and it grows greater with every one that is sent.

Dare to be an artist of the blank canvas variety
[Image courtesy of mollypop on Flickr.com]

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