Writing a Cover Letter: 3 Ways to Break Writer's Block

Don't you just hate getting hit with writer's block? It's especially daunting when you're trying to write a cover letter for a job you really want and you need your letter to make a good impression.

Writer's block happens to most of us, even professional writers. If you're staring at a blank screen (or piece of paper), not knowing what on earth to write, see if the following techniques will get your creative juices flowing. They've worked for me... and I hope that at least one of them will do the trick next time you need a cover letter.

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Writer's Block Technique #1: Dear Aunt Louise

Talking to my Aunt Louise has always been a great way for me to organize my thoughts. So sometimes when I can't think of what to say in a letter, I pull out a pad of paper (or a blank document on my computer) and scribble a quick "note to Aunt Louise," making the same points to her that I want to make to the employer in my cover letter. By the time I'm done writing to Aunt Louise, I've inadvertently created a rough draft of the cover letter that had me stymied just moments before. Of course, I never mail that version to an employer. Writing it is just a technique for getting my thoughts on paper.

Here's how you can use this technique to help you write a cover letter: Ask Aunt Louise to Help Write Your Cover Letter

Writer's Block Technique #2: A Recommendation

Some people have the toughest time saying nice things about themselves. If you have an "I can't brag" complex, consider what someone else might say about you (someone who thinks the world of you, of course). That's right, write down what your supervisor, coworker, friend, or relative might say about you — or has said about you, in a performance review by your supervisor, for example. Use your notes to create a knockout cover letter.

Here's how to do it: Writing a Cover Letter as a Letter of Recommendation for Yourself

Writer's Block Technique #3: Stretch the Rubber Band

This writing technique helps you stretch your imagination (like a rubber band) to come up with a unique approach for what to say with just the right amount of tension in your cover letter. “Tension” is any aspect of your writing style or content that challenges the reader. It could be a serious stand, a humorous approach, use of slang expressions, a thought-provoking statement, or some other element that is not what the reader expects. Incorporating tension into your writing is a good way to keep a reader engaged. In your cover letter, the right amount of tension can set you apart from the competition.

Follow these steps to break your writer's block and create good tension in your cover letter: Writing a Cover Letter Can Feel Like a Stretch

Susan Ireland, Resume Author