If you’re looking for a new remote job or have been considering leaving your current position to work remotely, you need to be prepared to show how you’ll succeed in the new job role.
If the job requires a cover letter to be submitted as part of the application, learn the techniques to ace it. Before you write your cover letter, ensure that you meet the company’s requirements for the position.
This article discusses a few tips for writing a cover letter that will help you land the perfect remote job:
1. Review the job description carefully
Pay attention to the key requirements of the position so that you can incorporate this information into your cover letter. For instance, if the remote job wants the candidates to be based in a certain geographic area, then include how you meet the requirement or are willing to relocate to that area.
The aim is for the cover letter to show that you meet most, if not all, of the job requirements. Hiring managers shortlist the ones that most closely match the job description. This is the case when a human is reading your cover letter.
The key is to address the key points in the job posting. If your skills and experience match their requirements, be sure to include this information in your cover letter.
However, nowadays, due to applicant tracking systems (more on this in Point #6 below), applications are automatically sorted and shortlisted. As a result, viewing the job description and sending the application accordingly becomes even more essential.
2. Personalize your cover letter for each company you apply to
Tailor the letter to align with the needs of that specific employer. Show them that you’ve researched and are excited about the position.
Sending the same cover letter to different companies means you’ll be able to fill out the job application faster. However, it will not help you to stand out.
A common mistake to avoid:
Writing without researching the company that you’re applying for. This simply shows that you’re not very interested in the job role. The effort you put into your application reflects in the cover letter.
3. Show your enthusiasm about remote work
Show your employers that you’re comfortable with remote working. This doesn’t mean that you start advocating for remote work in the cover letter. Just showing that you have the ability to work individually without constant supervision will suffice.
Read about the best software that helps employees with remote working.
It’s difficult to demonstrate that you have exceptional communication skills in the cover letter – that can be conveyed only during interviews. However, showing a project in which you worked remotely or had to exercise your communication skills will demonstrate that you have some experience with remote work.
4. Know the type of cover letter you have to write
The template of a procurement manager’s cover letter will be different from the cover letter of a customer success manager. If you’re applying for a customer support role at a tech company, you will talk about your past experience resolving customer issues and your communication skills.
Similarly, if you’re applying for a procurement manager position, you will mention your previous experience in the sourcing industry and how you’ve developed networking and organizational skills.
5. Proofread your cover letter before submitting it
One of the biggest turn-offs for a recruiting manager is someone whose writing and grammar are poor.
Making grammatical mistakes in the cover letter means one of two things:
- The candidate’s English (or any other language) is poor.
- The candidate’s language skills are fair, but their attention to detail is poor.
If your case is #1, you can always improve your language skills. However, #2 means that you have not proofread and shows how motivated you are for the job role.
Look for typos and mistakes that might hurt your chances of getting hired. Double-check your contact information to make it easy for the employer to find you.
6. Keep applicant tracking systems in mind
Most big companies make use of an applicant tracking system (ATS). The way these systems work is by shortlisting candidates using specific key phrases that are relevant to the job role.
So, for instance, if the job is related to “project management”, the ATS will search for the following keywords:
- Agile methodologies
- Budget management
- Team management
- Communication skills
If the application finds keywords that match the job posting in the resume or cover letter, it will consider the application a “fit” for the role.
If you don’t have the skills required for the job, don’t try to game the applicant tracking systems by stuffing keywords related to the job.
Some candidates use the hack of including keywords using a white font on a white background to make those words unreadable to the human eye. The ATS, however, scans those keywords in white font and shortlists the candidate.
Adopting such dishonest practices might get you shortlisted, but if you don’t have the skills, it’s difficult that you to go past the interview phase. In short, being honest in the cover letter and resume is one of the fundamental tips to keep in mind.
7. Keep the cover letter short and crisp
If the application goes through an ATS initially and gets shortlisted, the candidate’s cover letter will ultimately be read by a human. However, it’s important to remember that no one has the time to read each and every line of the cover letter.
So what’s the solution?
Write short paragraphs and include a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.
So, for example, you want to demonstrate how the particular remote job aligns with your career goals. If you have experience remote working, the first sentence should indicate that. The recruiter will read the paragraph further if the content is enticing enough.
Other than writing about your skills, show that you are willing to take the initiative.
Use LinkedIn to connect with the company’s existing employees (preferably those in the department you’re applying to). Learn about the company’s culture. If they’re willing to share, learn about the existing projects. If you get some information, use that to show how you will add value if you’re given a chance to be part of the team.
Common mistakes to avoid while writing cover letters
If you’re applying to a large multinational company, remember you’re among the many applicants. To get a chance to be selected, you need to do something that stands out. This section will look into some common mistakes that will help make your cover letter unique.
A common mistake in cover letters is the usage of filler sentences.
Let’s analyze the following sentence:
“It’s with great interest that I am applying for the ABC job role at XYZ firm, and thank you in advance for reviewing my application.”
- Although it’s courteous, it’s the job of the recruiters to review the applications. Such a sentence can easily be avoided.
- Nearly all the candidates that apply intend to work in the job role, so saying that you have “great interest” in the role is nothing out of the ordinary.
Another common mistake in cover letters is the usage of mainstream sentences.
Here’s an example of such a sentence:
“Looking forward to joining a cohort of bright team members and getting the opportunity to interact with industry-leading experts”
- The initial part of the sentence is very mainstream.
- The sentence adds no value as it doesn’t give any information about you to the recruiter.
- The latter part of the sentence praises the company, but it’s like saying, “I want to have lunch today” – something that everyone wants. Something that comes without saying.
- Remember to write something that makes you stand out.
- Remember, the cover letter is a way to let the company learn more about you.
Final tips: how to write a successful cover letter
A successful cover letter will include how the candidate meets the requirements stated in the job posting. Knowing the specific requirements will help you tailor your cover letter to match what the company is asking for. These could be years of experience or specific skills that are needed for the job.
In addition to the specific requirements listed in the job posting, you should also address the following points in your cover letter:
- Your ability to perform under pressure and meet deadlines
- Your ability to work collaboratively with team members (including using remote work tools)
- Your written and communication skills
- Your interpersonal skills
Some other key points to keep in mind while writing a cover letter:
- Avoid sounding as though you are too good for the job or that you’re overqualified for it.
- Focus on a few key strengths to highlight in your letter while conveying that you can work independently and as a part of a team.
- Add a humorous line here and there but be careful – you don’t want to come across as arrogant or cocky. The general idea is to keep your cover letter professional at all times.
- Mention any unique skills you have that are related to the job you are applying for.
- Hiring managers like to see candidates who fit the culture at the company, so try not to be too generic or dull when talking about your personality or interests.
- Using previous examples is one way to stand out from other candidates when applying for a remote job.
- Above all else, be positive and show enthusiasm about working remotely in your cover letter!
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