You’re ready to find your dream job.
Your resume is updated and you know exactly what sort of work you’d like to do. It’s time to launch your search full-force.
But, before you really get going, you stop yourself. You see the application calls for a cover letter, or that you’re connected to someone at the company and your best bet is to send over a note.
You freeze up, click out, and put your hunt on hold indefinitely.
If you hate writing, the job search can be downright painful. Because, while you can apply for roles that don’t require much of it, you’ll still need to flex those communication muscles to make it through the application process.
Don’t worry: There are three things you can do to make it much easier.
1. Use a Template
Writing’s a lot easier when you’re not starting from scratch. If you sit down to compose a cover letter, or a LinkedIn invite, or thank you note and you’re looking at a blank screen, it’s easy to feel intimidated.
With a template, you have a jumping off point. It gives you the confidence to know you’re on the right track, so you can spend your time customizing a sentence or two (opposed to reinventing the wheel).
Here are pre-written ones for each stage:
- An emails to ask your network for help
- A few personalized LinkedIn invitations
- Some cold email scripts for requesting a meeting (I know, the scariest)
- A cover letter template that breaks out exactly how to write one
- An email if you’re submitting your cover letter along with your resume as attachments
- A thank you note template to send after you interview
- A follow up script to help you reach out to the hiring manager
2. Make it Shorter
When in doubt, shorter is often better. Essentially, the less words use you, the less opportunities you have to make a mistake.
If you limit yourself to making an outreach email only so long, you’re going to save yourself from writing a 10-paragraph email with your entire career story (that the other person will never finish anyhow). Not sure what is an appropriate length? Refer to the templates above.
As she explains, “The idea is to get in, show the company that you understand its needs and have the experience it’s looking for, and get out.” She gives this example:
Venture for America is known for shaking up the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and I’d love the chance to contribute to this reputation as your next Company Partnerships Associate.
The attached resume will tell you about my three years of experience in sales and account management—what it won’t tell you is that I’m crazy about startups and their ability to adapt and disrupt.
I’m ready to leverage my background in a role with a team that values grit and social intelligence, and your Company Partnerships department seems like the right fit.
Of course, Breuer also mentions that this’ll only appeal to certain companies (think: efficient, fast-paced). But if that’s where you’re applying, you can get away with—and get even get further with—a three-sentence cover letter.
3. Lean on Your Other Skills
If you absolutely cringe when it comes to writing assignments, I’ll bet you go out of your way to pursue other projects. And those projects have given you skills which you can (and should!) feature.
For example, maybe you have a hard time clearly describing your abilities. But you also have a website or portfolio that shows your technical skills or demonstrates your impact visually. Link to it!
If you don’t have a portfolio to share, turn to your LinkedIn profile. Use your background photo to share your personality, attach any relevant links to your job descriptions, and share articles that you think are great with a short status. These are all easy ways to show off your skill set, passion, and accomplishments without typing more than a sentence.
As a job seeker, there are going to be annoying truths you just have to accept.
Yes, you have to get out there and network. Yes, you have to answer “Tell me about yourself.” Yes, you have to send a thank you note.
Writing falls into the same category—yes, you have to do it. But you can use the strategies above to make a bit easier on yourself so you find more success with less dread.