Just Keep Swimming: 4 Cover Letter Tips from Dory

Dory is wiser than she appears
Dory, the delightful, multitalented regal blue tang from Finding Nemo, touched our hearts during the first installment of the franchise. We couldn’t have been more excited when we heard the news: Dory is coming back! Finding Dory opened in theaters last week, and raked in a whopping $136.2 million in weekend ticket sales. While we wait for the line of kiddos to subside, let’s see what our lovable blue friend can teach us about cover letter writing. Though she lacks a short term memory, Dory is fearless, kind, and true to herself — just a few the qualities that can lead to a successful job search. Here are a few cover letter tips we can learn from her by watching Finding Nemo (for the 500th time).

Dive into the shark’s den

When Dory and Marlin are invited into a shark’s den (by Bruce, the resident shark), Marlin hesitates out of fear. Dory, on the other hand, stays positive and open minded. She expects only the best from everyone she meets. This philosophy wins when the friendly shark offers our protagonists some tips that help them on their quest. If you’re tempted to submit your letter to an employer that intimidates you, be like Dory. Ignore your fears and take a chance. You never know what might happen.

Don’t know something? Don’t worry

There are many aspects of your industry that you should probably know about, but don’t. That’s fine. There are faces and names in your network that you should remember, but you don’t. There are things you learned in school, but forgot. There are experiences you should have had by now. But you haven’t. And that’s okay. Go forward. Don’t try to hide anything in your cover letter. Just do the best you can with the knowledge you have. That’s how you gain more. Would Dory have gotten anywhere if she hadn’t admitted her lack of knowledge?

Just. Keep. Swimming.

This phrase has worked its way deeply into our culture. The wisdom and truth it carries will live with us long after this movie franchise has been forgotten. Dory’s determination to keep moving and keep thriving — no matter what — can inspire job seekers to continue their journey even when the next step seems impossible. When submitting your cover letter, don’t be deterred by rejection, impatience, or anything else. Continue writing, tweaking, editing, and submitting your cover letter no matter the outcome. Just keep swimming, and in time, you’ll get where you need to go.

Accept help

Asking for help and accepting it when it’s offered can be hard, especially if you’re skeptical (like Marlin) or too proud to admit when you could use a hand. But without the help of the Crush the sea turtle (not to mention the whale who blows them into the sky, the pelican who carries them, or the countless friends and strangers they meet on their journey), Marlin and Dory wouldn’t get far. And the movie would be pretty short. Reach out to those who know more than you do or have first-hand experience with the kinds of challenges you’re facing. Do you have a friend who recently just got a great job? See if you can grab some cover letter tips. Do you have a friend who is a professional editor? Perhaps your friend would be willing to edit your cover letter. Reach out to friends who have hired before, and see what they like in a cover letter. Put your trust in others and you’ll get the lay of the land much faster. For more on how to write a winning cover letter and land the interview you need, use the cover letter building tools on MyPerfectResume.


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