I’ve written in the past about how to write a great cover letter for any job, but some job opportunities are worth taking it up a notch to create a powerful cover letter.
This week, let’s talk about ways you can go the extra mile with your cover letter.
Get a Name
Everyone likes to be acknowledged – it’s flattering. Dale Carnegie, author of the timeless classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” wrote: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Most job seekers don’t even try to figure out who to address their cover letter to in the greeting or salutation line, opting for the very lifeless “To Whom it May Concern.”
Fortunately, in clinical dental hygiene at least, figuring out a name to address a cover letter to should be much easier. If it’s not readily apparent, take a few minutes to try and find that out and then use it.
All good sales pitches begin with a great attention-grabbing statement – your cover letter can, too!
The traditional opening paragraph is formal, acknowledging the opening, where you learned about it and then requesting consideration for the opportunity. That’s one way and it’s okay, but why not create a little more buzz with something like these:
Need a hygienist who will treat your patients like friends and family, while leaving them with great oral health and a beautiful smile?
With a unique ability to treat patients like friends and family, I love leaving everyone I see with great oral health and a beautiful smile.
Show Them This is No Form Letter
The tendency is to create a cover letter that never needs to be customized. Write it once and be done with it, right? Yes, you can do that and even have something that works well for you.
But to really make a lasting impression, use the second paragraph to prove to them you read and synthesized what it is they are looking for in a new hire. All job announcements talk about specific things the office needs.
If you acknowledge those, you are telling the employer that you didn’t just read the headline. You spent extra time reading and understanding what it is they want from you. You could write it something like this:
I see from your announcement that you need a hygienist who knows how to help patients relax. This is really important to me and I believe it’s a trait I excel at. In fact, in my attached testimonial sheet, you will see comments from two of my patients that mention that.
Share More About You
The next paragraph is about you. It’s not necessarily something they asked for in the announcement. This is where you tell them about what makes you different or unique as a dental hygiene professional and individual.
To some extent, your opening paragraph gives them some insight into you so give them some additional content. The two most important attributes in an employee are how well you work with co-workers and how well you handle patients. Both are extremely important and so I believe you should focus on addressing both of those areas with something like this:
Along with amazing patient care and an ability to influence them toward better oral health, I put a lot of energy into ensuring my interactions and relationships with co-workers are cohesive and bring out the best care.
Close the Deal
Always, always end your cover letter with a call to action – keep it simply and direct like this:
I look forward to sharing with you how I am a great fit for this opening, please call me at 801-808-2414.
This final tip can be one of the most effective of all. Below our signature line is the place to put a PS line. PS stands for the Latin phrase post scriptum which means “after writing.” Very very few people place a PS at the end of a cover letter – which is why it’s awesome to use one. The reader will not be able to help themselves. There are studies that show a large percentage of people will go to the PS first because it’s different – catches the eye.
But what do you write? I recommend you find something that is a value-ad to your pitch. Something that offers them something extra you have to offer. Could be a lot of things so think carefully about your own unique situation.
When my wife was seeking a dental hygiene job with her current employer, she had a few she could use so I will share those to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Have a look at these:
PS – I live just a couple miles from your practice and have friendships with several of your patients.
PS – I worked for a friend of yours as a dental assistant several years ago.
PS – My husband knows your mom really well from Farmers Insurance where they both worked years ago.
PS – I am also a licensed nutritionist and am very skilled at counseling patients about their dietary habits.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with writing a standard cover letter and running with that for much of your job search. Sometimes we just don’t have the time to put into a high-octane cover letter, but when it comes to your dream job it can be well worth the extra effort to stand out and land a great dental hygiene job.