New feature: Apply4Me cover letters – Ladders

Our popular feature Apply4Me saves you time and effort by filling out corporate job applications “for” you.

Cover letters have been the most frequently requested improvement and are now available.

When you add a cover letter, we provide you the ability to add tags for job title and company name. Then for each Apply4Me application you make, the relevant job title and company name will auto-fill for you in the tagged spaces you added. That way, you can write your cover letter once, and we will upload the job-specific version each time you click “Apply4Me”.

Here’s how to set up your automatic cover letter:

When using our “Easy Apply” option, you can also edit the cover letter for that specific application without visiting your “My Resume” page or affecting your saved cover letter.

What should you write in your cover letter?

Today’s cover letter is shorter than those of the past. It highlights the journey you’ve taken to today.  And it communicates optimism about your future.

The purpose of your cover letter is to get your resume read. You can do this in just four sentences:

A brief statement of what you’ve done – describe your yesterday

In your first sentence, share the most relevant successes you’ve had in your field.

So it’s not:
“I’ve been in accounting since college.”
“I’ve worked for my current boss in design three times in a row.”
“I joined the Western Region seven years ago and have really enjoyed it.”

These plain statements of fact aren’t relevant enough to your capabilities. Showcase your most attractive accomplishments instead.

“I’m a top producing sales professional in pharmaceutical sales.”
“I’m a DevOps expert with deep experience in AWS and security.”
“I come from a creative background where I’ve done award-winning TV ad creative for the automotive industry for the past 15 years.”

A brief statement of what you’re doing now – describe your today

In your second sentence, explain your current role and how it demonstrates your ongoing achievements.

So it’s not:
“Right now, I’m a Manager at Clarity Health.”
“I’ve been in HR for 12 years.”
“I’m interested in continuing my legal career.”

But rather:
“I’ve been rapidly promoted in the Medical Device industry.”
“I enjoy my work as client services manager in media companies.”
“The challenges of semiconductor design captivate me and inform my present work.”

Share the energy, interest, or passion for what you’re doing today.  It never makes sense to denigrate your current employer or position. Instead focus on the positives that you want to carry forward with you.

A brief statement of why you’re enthusiastic about your skills, experiences, industry.

Employers respond to enthusiasm, it is a great signal of your positive, achievement-oriented outlook, and speaks most effectively to your motivations.  In your third sentence, provide a positive spin on your search.

So it’s not:
“I’m looking for more money for the work I do.”
“I need to get away from my current toxic environment.”
“While uncertain about where it will take me, I’m just looking for a change.”

But rather:
“I enjoy handling the accounting issues for growing companies, and am particularly interested in venture-backed opportunities.”
“I’m passionate about hardware manufacturing and am looking for positions of increasing responsibility in tech manufacturing here in the Bay Area.”
“I love the challenges of data-driven marketing and applying statistical analysis to ad spend — not just for online, but for radio and TV as well.”

A brief statement of what you want to do – describe your tomorrow

Your fourth sentence should explain why now is the right time for a change. It should follow, logically, persuasively, from the professional you’ve described in the first three.  It should be focused on the benefits you’ll bring to your future employer, not your fears, setbacks, or unhappiness.

So it’s not:
“I’m worried about my company’s finances, so I’ve got to move.”
“My boss was terminated last year and I’ve lost my corporate support.”
“I’m fed up with the office politics and have to move on.”

All of these are inward reasons for a change that hold little appeal to your audience and might, in fact, turn them off.  Instead, you need to persuade them that your next step ought to be in their direction.

Rather, try:
“I’m looking for bigger challenges in operations, either inside or outside of retail.”
“After 13 years in government, I’m looking forward to doing project management in a private sector environment.”
“As I’ve been adding more benefits, compensation and succession planning work to my portfolio, I’m ready to step up the senior HR business partner role at my next employer.”
“I’m looking to move to a smaller hospital group where I can take a step up in scope of administrative responsibility.”

It’s not obvious to others what you’d like to do, so tell them explicitly. Because people’s careers are as different as snowflakes, it’s helpful to provide a straightforward explanation of what your career will look like in your cover letter.

Finally, cover letters have shrunk.  They no longer cover anything, and they’re not really letters anymore.  In 2021, a cover email with the above four sentences and perhaps a brief introduction and wrap-up is at most two paragraphs in length.  It’s even better as one or one-and-a-half.

I hope that’s helpful advice, and I hope you use cover letters and Apply4Me to achieve great success in your search, {firstname}!


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