How to Beat Cover Letter Writer's Block

Writing a cover letter, or any type of letter, can be intimidating at first. The good news is that the more you do it, the better you will get. If you are really stuck, try a few of these tips to help you get going.

Freewriting

In this technique, just start writing. It does not matter what comes out; you can pull out the good stuff later. Just start writing, making notes on the points you want to make. As you write, more ideas will come to you as you go along. Try to ignore that internal voice that wants everything to come out perfectly the first time. This is to help you put your thoughts on paper. Some you will use, and some will go in the trash. The point of this exercise is to get your brain moving and to get something out on the page—this may also help reduce many anxieties because you will be taking action rather than just worrying. When you are done, review what you have and pull out the best material. You can then go through your letter point by point, rewording as necessary. Remember that it may take a few drafts before you get your wording just the way you want it.

Record Your Letter

If you are more comfortable communicating orally than in writing, try recording yourself saying what you want to include in the letter. You can then play it back and type it into your computer. When you are done, rearrange and reword as needed.

Review Samples

Read through sample cover letters. While you do not want to use anything word-for-word because it will not be your own "voice," you may find something that is close to what you want to say or that sparks an idea for the perfect wording.

Hiring a Professional

Some people simply feel that they cannot write a letter of the quality they want or need. If you choose to use a professional, find a member of a professional organization, and research the credentials held by the professional you choose.

As with other types of writing, practice will help the process of cover letter writing become more comfortable. Remember to focus on your best “selling” qualities and outcomes, and focus the letter on how you can meet the company’s needs.