Job seekers often know about the importance of incorporating their brand into their resume but forget how pertinent it is to also establish that brand in a cover letter. If you are in the process of writing your cover letter, it’s time to think about how you can incorporate your brand—the well-rounded definition of your capabilities as a professional—into this important document.
1. Start with a Personal Branding Statement—or Similar
A personal branding statement is a 1- to 2-line introduction that provides quick insight into your accomplishments. Although these statements are often used in resumes (we never write a resume without one; they’re priceless for standing out among the competition), make sure you include your branding statement in your cover letter as well.
Start by writing a brief paragraph about who you are, and list some of your greatest career highlights. Then you can focus on why you’re applying for the job, what the company needs, and the value you can offer the organization that your competitor cannot.
2. Highlight Your Results and Show You’re Trying to Make a Difference
In your opening, you already gave them a strong, polished one-liner to remember you by, but now is your chance to dig a bit deeper by exploring why you’re a viable candidate.
If you’re not sure where to gather the information from, here are some questions to ask yourself.
What have you done to make a difference in the positions in which you’ve worked? What initiatives have you thought up on your own and then followed through with in your effort to further the profession to which you’re dedicated? Which awards have you won based on accomplishments or pure dedication?
These questions can help you define who you are as opposed to merely what you’ve done. Utilize this information in your opening paragraph, but make sure you’re choosing relevant information for the position.
3. Mention Your Online Brand
While discussing your passion for your career and the possibility of working for the company, you could mention that you manage a not-for-profit blog that allows you to delve deeper into the field—or that you volunteer with an organization in order to provide your expertise. (That’s if you really do, of course.) The point is to let the employer know that you spend time focusing on your profession outside of your required work hours—something that is not just impressive but admirable as well.
Something to make note of is that it’s best not to oversell your brand in your cover letter. You want to zero in on your brand without saying the words, “I’m amazing in my field because …” Humility goes a long way when striking a balance between confidence and professionalism.
And if you can do it effectively, it could mean the difference in your being considered for a position versus being considered an average candidate with run-of-the-mill skills and no shot at the job.