How to Write Effective PAS Cover Letters

The advent of the internet allowed us to create many different marketing tools to boost our campaigns. However, there’s one simple tool that seasoned marketers keep coming back to.

The PAS format is a tried and true writing method. This article explains the PAS copywriting formula and provides tips for writing an effective problem agitate solve cover letter.

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

But first, it’s crucial you fully understand the PAS format. Let’s begin.

What is the PAS Formula?

The PAS formula stands for “problem-agitate-solution.” It is a format that’s applicable to all forms of sales copy. This copywriting formula is used in marketing content such as:

  • Landing pages
  • Social media posts
  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • Cold emails

The PAS format is one of the most popular copywriting methods because it leverages human Psychology to understand the way prospects think and react.

This section will explain the three components of a PAS copy in detail.

“P” – Problem

The first component should emphasize the problem you aim to solve. It’s the most effective way to grab your audience’s attention. Make sure to find your customer’s pain points. This will define the angle for your copy and establish that your customer has a problem.

Simply reveal some facts and help your audience identify the real problem.

For example:

We are all wary of the way businesses collect, buy, and sell online user data. It’s less about the act of data collection and more about our lack of control over what companies collect.

“A” – Agitate

The second component focuses on how a problem can affect your prospects’ lives. It describes the disappointments, inconveniences, and regrets the problem creates. Writers use powerful imagery to give readers a reason to take the problem seriously.

This component establishes a sense of urgency in the mind of your reader. It convinces them to use emotive language to paint a clear picture of the effects of ignoring the problem. When prospects know the pain they’re actually in, they are more likely to make an active effort to resolve it.

For example:

Poor data security leaves you vulnerable to malicious elements on the internet who can steal confidential information. Hackers are real, and they are a real threat to your finances, reputation, and security. Your data can be used to steal your funds, impersonate you, or malign your reputation. These things can have a lasting adverse impact on your life and can close opportunities that you would otherwise enjoy.

“S” – Solution

The final component introduces the product or service that solves the problem and ends the pain point. This component should focus on the benefits of using your products or services. This is where you present your unique value proposition and attempt to earn the trust of your readers.

Here’s where human psychology plays a significant role in the decision-making process. 

Humans are inherently programmed to avoid pain. This makes your prospects more likely to engage your services as long as you’re able to convince them that:

  • They have a problem.
  • They urgently need a solution.
  • You have the solution to their problem. 

It leverages their desire to avoid trouble and allows copywriters to write compelling persuasive copy. Seasoned copywriters and publications stand by this formula because of its success rate. It is a staple writing formula that all aspiring copywriters must master.

Writers use the PAS format in a wide variety of scenarios. They aren’t only limited to cold emails and sales copy. They are also applicable to cover letters. The following section shows readers how to write a good problem agitate solve cover letter.

Problem Agitate Solve Cover Letter Writing Tips

This section will explain how you can apply the PAS format to your cover letters. Similar to ad copy, writers need to frame their content with the customer in mind. This means it’s essential to personalize your pitch to your reader.

Here are some tips to help applicants write cover letters that land them their next role.

Understand Your Reader

Again, all forms of copywriting focus on the reader. Thus, it’s imperative for writers to understand their reader. Make sure to research the company or client you want to offer your services to.

Identify the pain points that plague their business and use that as a starting point for your cover letter. If there’s no way to find specific problems, you can mention general but pressing issues. You can also use current events as a springboard for your cover letter.

Start by going over the responsibilities listed in the job description. Try to check why the task is vital to the company. 

  • Could they be launching a new product? 
  • Do they need more people for a particular project? 
  • Are they looking for a specific set of skills?
  • Who else faced this issue? 
  • How did they solve it?
  • Why did they open this position?
  • Do their marketing efforts get the likes, comments, and shares they need?

These are only some questions you can ask yourself. Finding the real problem will allow you to present yourself as someone who recognizes their need. Make sure to keep digging until you find the answer. 

Use Emotive Words

If you want to agitate your reader, it’s important to use descriptive words to show the urgency of the problem. Remind your prospect how painful a problem can be. Be specific. Try to show that you fully understand their pain and how urgent it is.

Present a Clear and Concise Solution

Next, here’s the part where you outline the skills and expertise you offer. Specify how you’re the best person for the job. Resist the urge to list your skills. Instead, try to tell a story of how your skills were essential to a relevant project. 

Talk about how you can benefit the project and business and how you can make day-to-day processes simpler. Try to provide examples and cases where you were integral to the success of a project.

Close with Confidence

Lastly, as with any great literary piece, it’s essential to close your cover letter with confidence. This final step will determine how your audience remembers you. Avoid using general closing statements like “I hope to hear from you soon.”

These are weak, and they break your image as the solution to their problems. Instead, try to be assertive and engaging. End your cover letter with a statement that offers help and shows enthusiasm. Think of it as a reverse call-to-action.

For example:

“I’d love to learn more about your content needs and how I can support your small business.”

PAS Cover Letter Example

If you need a bit more help writing a cover letter, don’t fret. We’ve taken the time to add a PAS cover letter example to our guide. Try to check how we write each component and pay attention to the words used. 

Dear Mr. Dylan,

I am [applicant name], and I’m applying for the [Role]. As a veteran of the Ca Superhuman Writing Club, I understand the importance of quality content. I have 15 years of writing experience, and I’ve worked with major publications, including [X1, X2, and X3].

If you’re looking for a team member who can produce accurate crypto and law-related content that’s also SEO-friendly, look no further.

With my experience working with [X1 and X2], I’ll be able to deliver better-written content that elicits a response from everyone reading it. My recent work speaks volumes of the work ethic, expertise, and literary mastery I offer. 

I’d love to learn more about your content needs and share how I can make your goals happen.

The Bottom Line

The PAS formula is a proven writing technique. It’s one of the first copywriting formulas every aspiring writer must master. There’s no easy way to learn this technique. It takes a lot of practice to master, but the benefits it yields are extremely valuable. Mastering this format will enable you to deliver clear cover letters that ultimately lead to success

Feel free to return to this guide if you run out of ideas. Remember to write your cover letter with the reader in mind. Make sure you know the right message to deliver. 

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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