How to Craft the Perfect Cover Letter and Land the Clean Energy Job of Your Dreams
You’ve found your dream job in clean energy. It’s at a company you admire, which offers plenty of opportunity for growth and a culture that aligns with your values. Your resume is beaming with the skills and achievements needed to excel in this desirable position. All you need is a gripping cover letter to set you apart from other applicants and ensure the first interview. Easier said than done, right? Not necessarily.
Dreaded by many, a cover letter is actually a valuable tool that allows you to showcase your clean energy passion and prowess, while offering a glimpse into your personality. Taking the time to write a well-thought-out letter will help you make a memorable first impression. Here are some tips for crafting the cover letter that lands you the interview:
1. Remember the Basics: Length, Tone and Focus
As you sit down to write your cover letter, remember the basics: four to six paragraphs that complement your resume, not rehash it. While it’s tempting to include as much detail as possible about your achievements and work history, remember that the hiring manager must sort through hundreds of cover letters – so less is more. Stick to the point, cut out the fluff and showcase your writing skills by being succinct and maintaining focus.
Use the right tone, one that aligns with the company you’re applying to. Check their blog and social media to get a feel for the company’s voice and tone. If the business is a progressive start-up, it’s safe to be more conversational and even add humor (be careful not to be offensive or too informal). If it’s a larger established company that you’re applying to, make sure you maintain a professional tone, but be creative and insert elements of storytelling to keep your letter from sounding like a template.
2. Convey Why the Company Interests You
While you should spend the majority of your letter expressing what you can do for the hiring company, it’s important to personalize your letter. One approach is to tell a story about why this clean energy organization is so appealing to you. If you don’t have a story about the company specifically, talk about how you got into the industry, or how your personal values align with the company values.
Keep in mind that hiring managers will see right through a generic one-size-fits-all cover letter. Learn about the company’s mission, upcoming projects, past successes and leadership team. Touch briefly on one or two of these points. Not only will this prove your understanding of the company; it’ll lay the foundation for how you can help catapult the company to the next level.
3. Highlight Your Past Successes and Discuss What You Can Deliver
Your resume likely focuses on the jobs you’ve had, your responsibilities in those roles and any high-level accomplishments. Your cover letter is an opportunity for you to highlight a few of your relevant abilities and discuss how your experience is past roles has given you the tools to achieve greatness in this new position.
Highlight past successes with specificity. Include growth percentages, sales numbers, number of employees you’ve managed, amount of money you’ve raised, etc. If your numbers aren’t overly impressive, leave them out, and highlight other facts. Review the job description and make sure your past successes are hyper-focused on the requirements and priorities for this job. Make it abundantly clear to the hiring manager what you can deliver and how it will benefit the company overall. Follow this formula:
[I’ve accomplished X, Y, Z] + [Why this is important for the position you’re applying to] + [How you can help the company grow, with the learnings and skills you’ve developed]
4. Close Strong, End on a High Note
In your closing paragraph, reemphasize why you’d make a good fit for the role, and how you stand out from the competition. Take a look at other candidate profiles and see what kind of experience and skills they’ve publicized – and consider what makes you different.
If you have little or no experience in the clean energy industry, you still have many transferrable skills that would make you a preferred candidate. Talk about your leadership or interpersonal skills, your ability to work independently, your critical thinking expertise. If you’re changing careers, be sure to talk about this in the body of your cover letter – discuss why you’ve decided to change directions and tell the story about how you’ve found your true calling. Then use the closing to focus on your excitement for this new path, and how the skills you’ve developed in your former industry have best prepared you to make a difference in this new endeavor.
By communicating your talent and passion in a way that compels and even entertains a hiring manager, you can land the first interview and be well on your way to obtaining the clean energy job of your dreams.
Before you submit your cover letter, be sure to create a free professional profile on Clean Energy Jobs List, and highlight your skills and expertise all in one place.