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Toward Cover Letters that Help You Make the Cut


Cover-letter articles seem to be popular this year; two more we’ve seen include Crack the Cover Letter Code in 7 Easy Steps by Whitney Parker and 3 Attention-Getting Tactics for Cover Letters by the Monster+HotJobs staff. Both offer tips you can find in our recent cover-letter reboot package (see bottom of post), but those always bear repeating — plus the articles provide some new ideas. Here’s a summary:
  • Personalize your letter. As we’ve written countless times, address the latter to a named individual whenever possible.
  • Talk about what you can do for the employer, not what the employer can do for you.
  • Drop names. Referral cover letters frequently result in interviews.
  • Keep it concise.
  • Use bullet points to aid readability, but don’t overdo or rehash the bullets in your resume.
  • Mirror language from the job posting you’re responding to.
  • Proofread and spellcheck.
  • Add a slogan, say at the top of you letter under your name, or at the bottom. A branding statement is another name for this embellishment.
  • Include testimonials. When we do so, we like to create a narrow left-hand column in the letter for the testimonials.
  • Incorporate a mission statement.
For more detail on how to implement any of these tips, see the two referenced articles. And see our new, free white paper, Cover Letter Reboot: A Crowdsourced Update of Traditional Cover-letter Advice for Today’s Job Search, which you can download here. If you prefer not to download, you can read the contents here. WhitePaperScreenshot.jpg See all the parts of the white paper/Cover Letter Reboot package: Cover Letter Wish List: Hiring Decision-Makers Reveal What They Want to See in Cover Letters, Hiring Decision-Makers Cite Top Cover-Letter Mistakes that Disqualify Job-Seekers, and Cover Letters That Wowed: Hiring Decision-Makers Describe Winning Cover Letters.