5 short online courses that can help you write a standout cover letter and get hired faster

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  • Cover letters are crucial to getting noticed as a job applicant, but can be intimidating to write.
  • Below are 5 classes to help you craft a cover letter that stands out to employers.
  • They also cover using keywords and formatting to help you get through screening software.

As the job application process has become even more virtual, the application pool grows more competitive, noisy, and faceless. 

While your resume markets your skills, qualities, and experiences like a tailored menu, the cover letter follows a less distinct code of production. It leaves space for you to make a memorable mark, infuse your personality, and forge some kind of personal connection while rounding out your applicable experiences — but it also offers a lot of ways to mess it all up. In other words, the cover letter can make or break your application. 

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On top of that, while you can usually submit the same resume you spent hours tweaking to similar jobs, the same can’t be said for cover letters. Each new job posting will likely require the patient — and potentially heart-wrenching — labor of crafting a new letter.

If you want expert advice and guidance on how to create the kind of cover letter that gets pulled to the top of the pile, you might want to invest a little time into a quick online course. Some options below are taught by HR veterans and professors who can tailor your application to perform well with screening software by showing you tips and tricks involving keywords and formatting.

While a course can seem like a bit of a time commitment, it’s faster than spending hours Googling cover letter templates or editing a letter that never makes it into a hiring manager’s hands. Moreover, it’ll help you feel confident that your approach to applying for jobs is the right one. 

5 online courses that teach you how to write a cover letter: 

If your goal is to get past screening software:

Coursera: Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters

This course aims to bring your resume to the top of the pile by zeroing in on what hiring managers want to see and adapting applications to resume screening software. It helps you present yourself to prospective employers using the language already spoken within the organization. You learn how to employ marketing strategies to make your cover letter work for you, as well as how to employ similar ones in writing follow-up letters after interviews. 

The class is free to audit. For a certificate, the class is free with a 7-day Coursera trial, then $49/month to keep learning.

If you're looking for a quick breakdown of a cover letter's structure:

LinkedIn Learning: Writing a Cover Letter

In under 30 minutes, career strategist Jenny Foss zooms through the basic structure of a strong cover letter, from an eye-catching intro to concise paragraphs that clearly align your skills with the job you’re applying to. As a bonus, she’ll close with some tips on how to increase the chances of your cover letter being seen by the people actually hiring for the role. 

The class is free with a 1-month LinkedIn Learning trial, then $29.99/month or $19.99/month annually to keep learning. You can also buy the course for $24.99.

If you want a detailed workshop on how to stand out as an applicant:

Udemy: 2021 Career Hacking: Resume, LinkedIn, Interviewing +More

This bestselling Udemy course focuses on teaching you how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, resume, and cover letter based on keywords. One standout feature is the focus on creating one mass-customizable cover letter template, so you don’t have to start from scratch for every job (but can still submit a letter that feels properly tailored to the specific position).

The class is currently on sale for $20.99 (originally $129.99).

If you want an overview of best job-hunting practices, including cover letter tips:

Skillshare: How to Get a Job: A Step-by-Step Guide | Learn with Glassdoor

In just over an hour, Glassdoor Community Expert Scott Dobrowski walks you through every step of the job-hunting process — including writing the cover letter (a section that’ll only take 8 minutes of your time). He guides you through the process and answers some common writing FAQs, making this a perfect quick hit to double-check that you’re on the right track.

The class is free with a 7-day Skillshare trial, then $19/month or $8.25/month annually to keep learning.

If you mostly feel confident and just want some quick pointers:

LinkedIn Learning: Cover Letter Tips

If your cover letters do get bites but you want some extra pointers, this video class is under 15 minutes and just answers some common questions, like addressing a career gap, explaining missing skills, and, most of all, actually getting the cover letter seen by the hiring manager.

The class is free with a 1-month LinkedIn Learning trial, then $29.99/month or $19.99/month annually to keep learning. You can also buy the course for $24.99.

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