Published on September 6th, 2013 | by Amy Edwards0
Why It’s Time You Got Creative With Your Cover Letter
By Amy @BubbleJobs
Here at Bubble it’s fair to say we’ve discussed CVs and cover letters a lot on this blog. From classic mistakes and misconceptions to top tips and cliches, we’ve covered CVs and cover letters inside out – and we’ve even mocked up the world’s worst cover letter in an attempt to steer you in the right direction.
You’ve got to admit, we’re pretty committed to helping you put forward the best job application possible. Why? Because getting a job is hard work right now – and competition is definitely tough, particularly when it comes to the digital sector.
That said, when it comes to jobs and careers in the digital sector, it’s all about standing out from the crowd and making a name for yourself – and that definitely rings true when it comes to your actual application. Now as we’ve discussed before, getting a bit creative with your CV can make all the difference and staging a publicity stunt can help you to win some serious respect when it comes to securing a digital job… but what about that other killer part of your job application; the cover letter?
Well, as I’ve said before, I took a chance and put my own spin on my cover letter for this very job in a bid to win the Bubble team over… and it obviously paid off – but from looking at what other people are up to these days, I now feel like I played it pretty safe after all.
As the following examples (from the Brazen Careerist Blog show), cover letters don’t have to be boring black and white essays – they can actually be fun, alternative and exciting. Think about it; your cover letter is there to give employers a taste of who you are, what your skills are and why you’re a good match for the role… so why should a boring cover letter be the only format you can use? When it comes to digital jobs, it’s… well, all about digital technology – so why not use that?!
Just to warn you, after seeing the following examples, your cover letter may never look the same again 😉
First up, when Hanna Phan decided she wanted to work for SlideRocket (a presentation software company) she knew a traditional cover letter wasn’t going to cut it – so she decided to make the most of the tools she had available – and what better tools could she use than SlideRocket’s own software? The result was a pretty slick cover letter in the form of a presentation that she tweeted direct to the CEO… and which then landed her the job. OK, so Hanna was pretty lucky in that SlideRocket made a tool that she could use to create a cover letter… but what if that wasn’t actually the case?
Well, Bianca Cadloni faced this challenge when she wanted a job with American fast food chain Chipotle (you know, the one’s who faked the Twitter hack earlier this year?!) so she got creative. She created a website which mimicked the look and style of a Chipotle napkin and was called “Will Work For Guacamole”. The site made a compelling case as to why she should be considered and acted as a bit of an online CV. The result? She didn’t get the Chipotle job… but she did end up with a media internship which resulted in a paid job as a result of the campaign. Proof that sometimes a ‘no’ isn’t always a bad thing…
Next up, if you find it hard to talk about yourself, why not take inspiration from Charlie Drozdyk? Rather than blowing his own trumpet, he got his friends and family to do it. Yep, in his cover letter called “Getting To Know Charlie”, Charlie chose to include quotes from friends and family which described his personality and nature, rather than his achievements and work experience. Did it work? Yep – he landed four job interviews off the back of it! But I do need to point out that he was applying for copywriting jobs where creativity and a good sense of humour count for a lot anyway.
Hmm, so three totally different creative approaches to cover letters that actually worked… sort of! Anything else to consider? Well, as we’ve discussed before, honesty can definitely go a long way in your cover letter. Earlier this year, an undergraduate applied for a summer internship at a Wall Street Bank and decided to be brutally honest. An example paragraph?
“I won’t waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles, or feeding you a line of crapp (sic) about how my past experiences and skill set align perfectly for an investment banking internship. The truth is I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near perfect GPA and will work hard for you.”
The result? It went viral within a few hours and at least one bank called him to discuss his application.
Our top tips for creative cover letters? Play to your strengths and be a bit different – that’s what they’re looking for anyway! Think about it, if you’re applying for social media jobs, you’re going to need to be able to make compelling arguments on Twitter in 140 characters or less – so why not make a cover letter built up of tweets? This will not only show you’re creative but that you’re capable of creating concise, engaging copy that fits the bill.
To sum up, with creative cover letters, it’s all about trying something different and having a bit of fun… if the situation calls for it! Before you get your creative juices flowing, research the company you’re looking for and try to establish what their values are and what their style is. If they’re fun, laid back and a bit quirky (aka Bubble 😉 ) a creative cover letter could be a good call – but if they’re a bit straight-laced and formal, it might not be a good call. Just like creative CVs, it’s really just about using a bit of common sense and your own judgement to make the call.
Feeling inspired? I had a feeling you would be! 😉