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August 19, 2021

Why Is Writing a Cover Letter So Hard? – MT Minutes Video

Lucy Bishop

Looking for jobs is easy. It can even be fun. Looking at all the different options, imagining yourself at a different company, a new job to get stuck into... perhaps even a whole new career. But scroll to the end of that Job Description you're looking at and you'll no doubt find this message, "Please apply with your resume and cover letter."

Cover letter? Groan! If you're anything like me, writing a cover letter is a painful process. And one that often takes way longer than I expect. And it got me thinking, just why are they so difficult to write?

Tone Is Everything

One of the biggest challenges is getting the tone of a cover letter right. You want to seem professional, but also enthusiastic and upbeat. You want to showcase your brilliant skills and achievements, but you don't want to come off us as braggadocious. You want to get noticed, but in a good way... not in a "avoid that person at all costs" way.

Working on the Word Count

This is another tricky one. You want to pack all the good stuff in, right? All the projects you've been part of, all the excellent skills you've got, all your best qualities. But it's unlikely that a recruiter wants to read your life story, as interesting as it may be.

Instead you have to squash down everything that's great about you in two or three paragraphs. And explain why this means you're the best fit for the role. And why it is you want the role in the first place. Easy... right?

How to Write a Cover Letter

The prospect of writing a cover letter can be enough to put you off entirely. And, sure there are merits to staring into space or finding anything to do that isn't writing a cover letter. But, if you really want that amazing new role that you can't stop thinking about... make yourself a coffee, get settled and start typing.

If you still need some inspiration, take a look at our short video on Writing a Cover Letter. It's got some great hints and tips on how to make this most difficult of tasks that little bit easier!

Watch the Latest Episode of Mind Tools Minutes

Our new video series, Mind Tools Minutes, offers quick tips, techniques and suggestions about how to get a job. The first series of six videos is on the theme of writing a cover letter. Be sure to keep an eye out for future episodes every week. In the meantime, head over to our YouTube channel to watch this series and more.

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