Develop your cover letter

Overview

Did you know that most hiring managers will make a decision on your application in less than a minute?

In lesson 1, Deborah mentioned that there are a number of remote WordPress companies out there looking for great employees. Now that you are near the end of this course, you have developed the skills to apply to one of those companies.

In this final lesson, you will learn about how to prepare your application materials to apply for a job at a remote WordPress company. You are going to learn how to write a cover letter that will get you noticed by a hiring manager, what to include in a resume, and how to prepare for an interview.

Read on below for the steps to prepare to write a fantastic cover letter. Then we’ll look at a sample cover letter, review a sample job listing, and help you write a practice cover letter.

Preparation

Here are some things to keep in mind as you work on your cover letter:

  • Research the company.
  • Based on what you know about the company. figure out the voice you want to convey and make sure  to personalize your cover letter.
  • Be unique. Hiring managers can spot a generic cover letter easily and a generic letter doesn’t convey how much you care about getting the job.
  • Avoid gimmicky approaches like videos, memes, and poetry. If you do something like that, be absolutely sure it fits the company’s voice.
  • And if you get creative, be sure to not get distracted and lose sight of the basic requirements. What people tend to do is get excited about the cute stuff and overlook the foundational pieces.
  • Back up everything you say, give examples.
  • Avoid negative language; don’t talk about what you are missing from the job qualifications, talk about the ones you do have.
  • Proofread, make sure you have no typos.

Sample Cover Letter

Let’s look at the following sample cover letter.

It starts strong — they express their interest in the role, but a big issue is that there are no examples. They say they have a unique talent for translating highly complex technical information into terms and concepts, but they don’t say how or why. They mention valuable experience but don’t say what that is. They mention people skills and problem-solving skills, but again, nothing to back that up.

Sample Job Listing

Now that you know how to prepare to write a cover letter, let’s take a look at an example of a job listing:

Technical Support Agent: Tier 1

The goal of our team is to build relationships based on trust which result
in happy, passionate, loyal customers. We do this
through listening to their needs and guiding them to the fullest use of the products we offer. We are looking for people with the right mix of compassion, writing skills, and technical knowledge to get the job done.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Awesome Responses: respond to customers’ and prospects’ technical questions with timely, informative and friendly solutions; help customers find the best solution in the shortest amount of time.
  • Guidance: help our customers discover how to get the most value from our product with helpful tips and resources.
  • Escalation: escalate complex customer requests to Tier 2.
  • Education: educate our clients to use the online knowledge base. Identify missing information within the knowledge base and contribute to continually improving it.
  • Squash bugs!: test and report bugs to the development team. Keep our customers up to date on your progress.
  • Reporting: make weekly reports to the support manager.
  • Product feedback: Participate in support meetings to share insights from customer support for product roadmap prioritization.

IDEAL CANDIDATE

  • The ideal candidate is a flexible and adaptable go-getter comfortable with a fast moving, fast changing environment. Being a self-starter is key as you’ll be working remotely.
  • Language: you’ll possess total command of the English language.
  • Experience: 2-4 years experience working in a similar role.
  • Social: you have good knowledge of the social media ecosystem . You regularly read Facebook marketing and social media marketing articles and blogs.
  • Tools: you’re comfortable working with tracking and support desk tools (Intercom, Helpscout, Desk, etc.)
  • Zen: You can handle upset clients and stressful situations with a calm and helpful attitude.
  • Passion: you possess a love for problem solving and a passion for social media.
  • Since the job is remote, you’ll need a computer and a good internet connection of course!

Assignment

Your assignment is to re-read this job description, put yourself in the place of someone applying for this role, and create a practice cover letter for the role.

  1. On your blog, make a list of what the hiring manager wants to see in you, a potential applicant. Notice what is mentioned in the job listing.
  2. Think about what you want to mention in order to stand out.
  3. Write a fictional cover letter that answers all the items you pulled out in your list and provides examples. Examples are important. Because this is for practice and not for a real job, feel free to make up fictional job experiences and skills. Keep this to 3-5 paragraphs. The idea here is to help you see how to look for the hidden details in a job posting and craft a cover letter that addresses those details.


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