DEV Community

loading...
Cover image for How To Write Cover Letter To Get More Interview Invites Than Ever (For Software Engineers)

How To Write Cover Letter To Get More Interview Invites Than Ever (For Software Engineers)

nickbulljs profile image Nick Bull Originally published at blog.nickbulljs.com Updated on ・4 min read

"I'll just email them my resume, they'll look at it and give me a call."

Are you sure?

This is a very common misconception and this is what most developers don’t understand about cover letters.

Many of the developers I have spoken to think that a cover letter is just a simple email where you need to say “Hi!” and attach your resume.

But it's not.

Let's become a recruiter for 1 minute and look at everything through their eyes.

BAM, BAM, BOOM!

You’re a recruiter now.

You open your email application and see this:

Subject: Backend Engineer hiring

Subject: Backend Engineer hiring

Subject: Backend Engineer Position

Subject: Backend Engineer hiring

Subject: Backend Engineer hiring

Subject: Backend Engineer Position

Subject: Backend Engineer Position (hiring)

What subject caught your eye?

What email you are going to open first?

Hard to decide, you will probably open and read each letter in order.

But what if choose one of the developers above who sent you their resumes (you’re still a recruiter, don’t forget about it) and tell one critical truth about the cover letter that nobody talking about than the next morning when you will open your email application, you will see this:

Subject: Backend Engineer hiring

Subject: Backend Engineer hiring

Subject: Backend Engineer Position

Subject: Backend Engineer hiring

Subject: I know how to build it (Backend Engineer hiring)

Subject: Backend Engineer Position

Subject: Backend Engineer Position (hiring)

What subject caught your eye now?

What subject stands out from the rest?

Definitely not the usual ones that recruiters look through every day.

What did I tell the developer so he rewrote his subject like this?

Let’s talk about the first piece of a great cover letter.

Subject

Definitely subject “I know how to build it (Backend Engineer hiring)” grabs your attention.

And here is what you should know about the subjects.

The point of the subject is to get the recruiter's attention to the point where they want to look at your letter (email body).

A cover letter should grab the recruiter's attention.

It's the only way to stand out from other emails.

Here are 3 rules you should follow when writing an attention-grabbing subject:

  1. Don’t make it boring.
  2. Don’t make it “very” clickbait.
  3. Add some small detail that will instantly grab their attention and raise interest.

Especially pay attention to the 2nd rule. Spammy subjects instantly will be rejected. Never use them.

Example: “-----> CLICK ON IT <-----”

After the recruiter click on your attention-grabbing subject, the next thing he sees is your letter (email body).

And if he will see: “Hi! Here’s my resume.”

Your chances of being invited to an interview will decrease dramatically.

Let’s talk about the second piece of the great cover letter.

Email Body

Straight to the point, the purpose of the cover letter email body is to sell.

Not to say hi (but you could).

Not to just dry attach your resume.

The point of the email body is to make the recruiter want to invite you to the call after reading it.

There may be 100 different opinions on how to write it so that it sells, but I will show you my proven system for how to write an “email body that invites.”

In general, a good body consists of two parts:

  1. Invitation.
  2. Why you need to hire me.

The invitation part must be 1-2 sentences.

Describe who you are and where did you find a vacancy.

Short and clean.

Example:

Hey Tinder Team, my name is John and I found that you are looking for a Python Backend Engineer.

The “why you need to hire me” part must be 100-250 words, but not limited to if you are good at storytelling. The point of this part is to convince the recruiter that you are the perfect match for the position you are applying for.

Write about why you want that exact position and why you are a good fit.

Example:

When I picked up the job description, I realized that it not only fit my interests perfectly, but I also met its requirements perfectly too. I have over a year of experience developing web applications and deep knowledge of e-commerce platforms. The previous project I have worked on, serving 1.000.000 customers a month.

PS: I also have a chance to learn about your company culture and I love it!

Looking forward to talking with you more about this opportunity, Olivia.

Olivia intrigues the recruiter in the first sentence.

Sell her experience in the second and third.

Complimented company culture in fourth.

And she said she was ready for a phone call in the last sentence.

Short, clean, and simple.

In the end...

Now you know how to write a great cover letter that will increase your chances to get invited to an interview.

Talking about cover letter and interview, I’m writing a book Win "The Interview" Game, where I reveal everything I've learned during 6 years working as a software engineer (applied more than 110 times, failed 25+ job interviews, and got 17 job offers in summary)

  • How to create a sellable resume that makes every recruiter want to instantly call you
  • How to write a high open-rate cover letter to stand out from other candidates
  • How to get invited to interview even without job experience and degree
  • My strange tips and tricks I have used to easily get invitations to an interview without effort
  • How to build a stunning LinkedIn profile to make recruiters non-stop writing you
  • My deep interview preparation system (that based on the latest researches)

And many more on how to exactly prepare for a technical interview and nail it (everything above is just 15% of the book).

Add your email here and I will send you an email when I release it (with BONUS for you).

Have a great one!

Nick Bull

And also before I forget, every week I send out a "3–2–1" newsletter with 3 tech news, 2 articles, and 1 piece of advice for you.

🔥 Get the latest Frontend news here. 🔥

Discussion (2)

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
rushic24 profile image
Rushi Chaudhari

Hi Nick, Awesome writeup, what can you suggest If we don't have any previous work experience

Collapse
nickbulljs profile image
Nick Bull Author

Thank you, Rushi!

Build 2 "professional-looking side projects that sell you" and add them to your resume and linkedin.

Extra valuable tip:

If don't have work experience but want to get a job at your dream company:

  1. Go to their website and research their product, news, and future plans

  2. Create a side project that will complement their current product or the MVP of their future product they want to build