You can debate whether cover letters are dead as much as you’d like, but that won’t change the fact that some hiring managers will continue to read them, and to those people, what you write still matters. Knowing that, it’s worth taking some time to think about what message you want to send.
And no, the message shouldn’t simply be “Hire me.” Everyone’s application can be summed up with those two words. The best examples always have a “because” attached that explains why you deserve to be hired.
In other words, if you were to distill your whole letter into one line it would be: “Hire me, because I have a ton of relevant experience,” or “Hire me, because you’re a two-person company and I know how to wear a ton of hats as things evolve,” or the ever-popular, “Hire me, because I’m incredibly excited about this position.”
As you may’ve noticed, that last line isn’t quite as strong as the first two—at least not off the bat. While it shares why you’re interested, it doesn’t mention what you’d bring to the role. It only covers your passion for the position. Sure, you’re excited about the position, in love with the company, and obsessed with the industry. But while your goal may be to distinguish yourself as someone who’d go the extra mile because you genuinely care, you end up blending into a crowd of notes that read more like fan mail.
Don’t get me wrong: Enthusiasm can be a strong selling point. But you have to package it correctly so that it speaks to how you’d be a capable hire. Here’s how to reframe three of the most common (and worst) lines: