We all heard of stories whereby our friends send out many copies of resume only to hear back from a few of them. The job market is ever competitive and the good jobs have a high number of applicants. Beside upskilling yourself and networking, a cover letter might be instrumental in getting you into your first round of interview.

Why is a cover letter important?

A cover letter is like the introduction to your resume. A well written cover letter could help to open the door even if you have little relevant experience. Although some recruiters and employers will skip the cover letter, a well-written cover letter still demonstrate to the hirer your level of effort and interest in the job. There is no loss in spending some time to craft a good cover letter.

The basics

When writing a cover letter, make sure the followings pointers are included.

  • Why you are interested in the job?
  • What are the skills and experience that could match or be relevant to the job?
  • How could you contribute to the company?
  • Make sure there are no spelling and grammar mistake
  • Keep your cover letter to one page

Turning your cover letter to hero

Once your get the basic, give yourself a pat on the back. That will be the framework of the cover letter that you are going to build on. Essentially, when you are crafting a cover letter, you are selling yourself. The objective of the cover letter is to shift the behavior of the person from being on the fence, to being open to you as an option, to taking action (either to call you for a phone interview or a face to face interview).

In a way, this is like a sales process, in which you are the product. If you approach crafting of your cover letter this way, it will make more impact than a generic cover letter. Yes, we are all born to sell. If there is one magical spell that I can cast, it will be to increase the confidence of my own personal capacity so that I could sell myself and my services better.

If you were to study the flow of effective pitch deck and elevator pitches, you can learn a lot of tips to include in your cover letter. Now, we are going to run through the methods that I use on my cover letter to get my first round of interview.

State the problem statement briefly.

It is true that adoption of blockchain possess a certain amount of barrier for the enterprises. As with adoption of any technological stack, justification must be valid before an enterprise will choose to consider it. The tasks of many blockchain companies are to convey the benefits of employing a decentralised system. In a Deloitte Global Blockchain Study, it is reported that the most common answer to what executives believe will play a significant advantage is greater speed as compared to existing system.

Why it works?

Essentially, you are hired to solve a problem for the organisation. Once you understand the job scope, you need to dive into the employer mindset. Visualise and understand the problem they are hiring your to solve and the obstacles they are facing. Stating the industry problem upfront demonstrates that you did your research, have a clear overview of the industry landscape and are keen to work towards a solution. The key to selling yourself is to provide solutions and value.

Describe the industry situation as per your observations

Although I have only been in the blockchain industry for a short 10 months, I believe I have a firm grip on reality on the state of blockchain. And that is what I believe will put me align with the developers. Attending various developer meetups in Singapore, I observe that developers are critical of new technologies, this is especially so for blockchain. Undeniably, the usage and feasibility of blockchain has been hyper inflated. For one, we will not see a debate on the superiority of javascript framework to be a topic discussed among non-developers.

Yet,blockchain is one of the few technological tools that have significantly disrupted people life, in terms of the volatility of cryptocurrency.

Of course, the use cases of blockchain go beyond the financial sector, though currently it is still largely restricted to this scope.

Developers do not take in marketing materials just as it is doled up to them. They need information, they need to trust the speaker. And with blockchain, sometimes it is critical that the developers do not sense a tinge of skewed financial agenda, as so often associated with blockchain/cryptocurrency. Even in Singapore, although we have the long-standing developer groups and the blockchain developer groups, I do not see many developers crossing over the two technology stacks.

The irony, when blockchain is meant to connect the various parties and interoperate.

For instance, we could usually see a few familiar faces in the hardware meetup, PHP meetup and WordPress meetup. But we will not see those faces in the blockchain technological discussion. There seem to be a barrier, or a lack of interest in blockchain in the grassroot developer meetup group. Granted, the long-standing developer meetup group is organised by the same core team. Yet, blockchain developer community remain largely a silo group.

Why it works?

In creative writing, “show, don’t tell” is a common advice. Same thing applies in your cover letter. Don’t tell people that you are motivated or passionate. Describe your observations. Being able to google things and paraphrase is one thing. It is something else to be able to describe insights that are not easily perceived by an outsider. Show that you have placed yourself in environments that are strategic to the success of your job. In this segment, you can also include how you foresee yourself contributing in the capacity of the role.

Explain why you believe you are a good fit.

It is in my career goal to be able to promote technology. It is especially so for certain groups, like women, youths and kids. I truly hope to see that the mass adoption of blockchain could be driven by sound design and better user experience. It is also why I initiated a cross-disciplinary blockchain challenge this June/July 2019.

Why it works?

In this portion, you will explain the experience and skillset you have that is relevant to the job. If there is lack in skillset, you could also take the chance to explain upfront the steps that you are taking to overcome it.

I never believe in hiding critical shortcomings in a job interview. Yes, you might be able to get the job however misrepresenting yourself in a job interview might land you in some tricky position in future. Of course, there are other school of thoughts, it is about finding something that is comfortable for you.

Call to action

If suppose I’m not suitable for this role, I still wish to take the chance to be able to speak and share about the blockchain challenge with the team.

Why it works?

In general, this will be something like looking forward to hear from you. Or it could also be something out of the norm, like making more connections or understanding the value proposition of the company and seeing how various parties could collaborate. If you have a side project that is somewhat relevant that you could reach out to, you will have a higher chance to put the foot in the door.

Conclusion

There are many job in the market but there is a very limited number of desirable job opportunities. Companies will employ many rounds of interview. Beyond the cover letter, there are many things that you can do to ace the interview process but the first thing is to make sure you get the first round of interview.

Hopefully, your job hunting process could be optimised by the steps describe above. If you use the tips mention above, I will love to hear if it works for you.