It’s Not About You

In the RACI “Understanding the Job Market” webinar series, I talk about how the job search process is business, not personal. To be successful in finding a job quickly, it helps to think of yourself as a business asset, and then put yourself forward the way that you would any business proposition.

In a similar way, your language is important in your cover letter. As strange as it sounds, your cover letter should not be about you.

Your cover letter should contain three basic items:
(1) What you like about this particular position
(2) (Based on your research) Why you want to work for this company; and
(3) Your demonstrated skills as required by the position.

Your cover letter should not just repeat you resume. Instead, it is an opportunity to show what makes you unique, and it is an opportunity to show that you want this job enough to have done your research properly.

Particularly if you are a young graduate, we all know the stereotypes about the ‘Me’ Generation. If you are smart and careful, you don’t have to fall prey to those stereotypes, and in doing so it becomes easier to set yourself apart from the crowd.

The subtleties of language are important. Make your statements relatable to the company, not yourself. As example “I would be keen to bring my skills and experience to this role. From my research and network contacts, [Company] sounds like an exciting and collegiate environment” is outward-focused. Compare that to “I think this would be a great job for me. I have the skills needed, and the opportunity could help me develop really good experience.”

Then carry that mindset forward into the language you use in interviews. Remember – you are selling yourself as a business asset. So help the employer see what THEY are going to get out of their investment in YOU.

This is business, not personal. It’s not about you.