Hunting for a job is a strenuous and stressful exercise for a variety of reasons. But while job seekers often prioritize creating a strong resume, what many don’t realize is that the visual appeal of a cover letter is also important when it comes to impressing potential employers.
A resume gives employers and HR managers a glimpse into what you can do. A cover letter, on the other hand, tells them who you are and how you will fit into the company.
For jobseekers trying to get their foot in the door, writing a great cover letter is only one part of the process. Your cover letter also has to have a certain amount of visual appeal if you want busy HR managers to read it.
Your first step in creating a great cover letter is to use an online cover letter maker and choose a design that best suits your personality. You can then customize the layout, add suitable colors, and an elegant font that best fits your needs before working on the visuals.
In this article, we will detail 5 kinds of visuals you can use to create engaging cover letters that will arrest the attention of anyone who sees it.
1. Background Image
Your cover letter needs to maximize white space but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to keep large sections blank.
Add gravitas to your cover letter by including a background image that is stylish and relevant to the industry you are applying to.
Remember, your background image isn’t solely to get attention if you choose an image that has no message to convey, you may even decrease your chances of getting a job interview.
For example, if you are applying for a job in tech, don’t use a floral background, even if it is attractive. Use a minimalist image of items related to technology instead.
If you have strong photography skills, you can take a great photo to use as your background image. But for the less photographically-inclined, most cover letter makers have a variety of stock photos that you can use instead.
Remember to ensure that your background image isn’t too busy and that the colors don’t clash with your text. The point of the background image is that it adds personality to your cover letter—it is not the sole focus.
Choose an image that positions you as a competent and driven individual within your field and your cover letter will have a better chance of being read.
2. Cover Letter Header
Your cover letter header is the first impression an HR manager or potential employer will have of you as a candidate. Which is why you need to make the most of the header.
You can tell potential employers so much about your brand through the visuals you choose to use in your header. Are you a dynamic and fun-loving individual? Use a portrait of yourself alongside a cornucopia of colors.
Alternatively, like you would have done with the background image, choose one picture that highlights your personality, such as in the below example of a cover letter header.
As with the background image, you can use stock photos from your cover letter maker to design your header, unless you have your photographs to use.
Even though the header is meant to make a strong impression, you need to keep it clear and legible. Use images that aren’t too colorful—the header isn’t meant to be distracting, after all.
Neither should you pack the header with information. Keep the header crisp and clean so it can be easily read while still making you stand out from the crowd of applicants.
3. Personal Logo
An excellent way to make yourself stand out from the hordes of cover letters HR managers receive is by making a personal logo.
A logo will help establish your brand and will distinguish you from your fellow applicants.
And making a personal logo doesn’t have to be a difficult task. You can use free logo making tools or make a minimalist logo by combining your initials with a shape. Or you could use a stylized font with your initials for your logo.
In the example below, the applicant has created a simple logo using a single letter and a series of shapes.
You should make a few versions of your logo before deciding on the final one that you can use.
Your logo will have to be used in a variety of places in your job search, along with your cover letter—such as on your resume, your website, LinkedIn, and your letterheads. Ensure that the logo you create works in all these spaces.
Cover letters with a personal logo are more memorable, which will increase your chances of being noticed from the pile of applications HR managers receive.
What many job seekers don’t realize when creating their cover letters is that you don’t need to rely solely on text. Instead of packing your cover letter with paragraphs of information, use simple visuals like icons to convey your message.
Icons are an effective communication tool—they speak a thousand words and can be noticed in a glance. Considering how many cover letters HR managers receive, a glance is likely all you will get. So, make it count.
There are numerous ways that you can use icons in your cover letter. You can add them to your custom header to signal your skills. You can use them to divide sections of your cover letter.
Icons are a great way to highlight your experience with your potential employer. Are you in the education field? Look at this cover letter header which uses a series of relevant icons that illustrate the educator’s skills.
Icons are also a great substitute for standard bullet points, or to emphasize key points of information in your cover letter.
You can choose to make your icons as colorful or as monotone as you like—the point is to use them to symbolize your creativity to whoever is reading your letter.
5. Cover Letter Signatures
Signatures aren’t often thought of as visual elements but they can have as similar an impact as a photograph.
Instead of simply writing your name at the bottom of the cover letter, add a signature to your cover letter. This will make the cover letter more memorable but it will also give your document a personal touch.
Similar to a custom-header, a signature shows that you have put some thought into making your cover letter appealing to the person who is reading it.
But more importantly, a signature creates a personal connection between you and the reader. Printing your name at the bottom of the cover letter is an adequate way to sign off, but with a signature, you are inviting further conversation.
A signature evokes such a reaction because of the sentiment attached to it. Signatures are a callback to bygone days of letter-writing, and thus entices a response from the reader.
By adding a signature to your cover letter, you are inviting the reader—the HR manager—to consider writing back to you. This step will likely land you a job interview.
To make a memorable signature, take a look at these email signature examples for inspiration. They will also help you optimize your cover letter footers to make a bigger impact on your potential employers.
Your letter isn’t only a document that shares your skills and talents with the hiring manager. It also acts as a gateway to highlighting your personality and how well you will fit into a company.
Don’t rely solely on the text of your cover letter to get you to the next step of your job hunt. Instead, add strong visuals like a background image, a customized header, a personal logo, icons, and a signature, that will make your cover letter—and you—memorable to your employer.
All examples are sourced from Venngage.