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Posts Tagged “cover letter”

via Time : What your cover letter should look like in 2017

Cover letters are a tough and tricky business.

Striking the right balance between formal and conversational—while differentiating yourself from every other job seeker on the market—is no small feat. And the monotony of filling out online applications can make the task downright exhausting.

But make no mistake: a stellar cover letter is still a job search must-have, and it could be key to catching a hiring manager’s attention. 

1. Personalize

Every cover letter you write should be tailored to the job you’re applying for — just like your resume. Study the job posting carefully, and make a quick list of any essential qualifications.
“Job seekers really struggle with what to say on a cover letter,” says Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, President and CEO of Great Resumes Fast. “Taking a second to think about why you’re applying, and why you’re a good fit for the company, makes the process a lot easier.”

If you’re adding a cover letter to an online application, use a business letter format with a header and contact information. If you’re sending an email, it’s OK to leave out the header, but be sure to provide a phone number (and an attached resume, of course). Make sure you’re clear about the position you’re applying for.

Avoid nameless salutations — it might take a little Google research, and some LinkedIn outreach, but finding the actual name of the position’s hiring manager will score you major brownie points. “Do not start a cover letter with, ‘to whom it may concern,’” Holbrook Hernandez says. “It concerns no one.”

2. Tell a Story

To grab a recruiter’s attention, a good narrative—with a killer opening line—is everything.

“The cover letter is a story,” says Satjot Sawhney, a resume and career strategist with Loft Resumes. “What is the most interesting thing you’re doing that’s relevant to this job?” Use that to guide your letter.

Ideally, the story that drives your resume will focus on a need at the company you’re applying for. If you’re a PR professional, maybe you have a list of clients in an industry the team wants to break into. If you’re in marketing, a successful promotional campaign might be the ticket in. “A hiring manager wants to see results-driven accomplishments with a past employer,” says Holbrook Hernandez. “If you’ve done it before, you can deliver it again.”

If you have a career gap or are switching industries, address it upfront. “If there’s anything unique in your career history, call that out in the beginning,” says professional resume writer Brooke Shipbaugh.

3. Use Bullet Points to Show Impact

Hiring managers are usually slammed with applications, so short, quick cover letters are preferable to bloated ones, says Paul Wolfe, Senior Vice President of human resources at job site Indeed.

“Make your cover letter a brief, bright reference tool,” he says. “The easier you can make it on the recruiter the better.”

Bullet points are a good tool for pulling out numbers-driven results. Job seekers in creative fields like art and design can use bullets to break down their most successful project. Those in more traditional roles (like the one in the template), can hammer off two or three of their most impressive accomplishments.

4. Highlight Culture Fit

It’s often overlooked, but a major function of the cover letter is to show a company how well you’d mesh with the culture.

As you research a potential employer, look for culture cues on the company website, social media, and review sites like Glassdoor. Oftentimes, employers will nod to culture in a job posting. If the ad mentions a “team environment,” it might be good to play up a recent, successful collaboration. If the company wants a “self-starter,” consider including an achievement that proves you don’t need to be micromanaged.

The tone of your letter can also play to culture. “The cover letter is a great place to show [an employer] how you fit into their world,” Shipbaugh says. “Show some personality.”

5. End with an Ask

The goal of a cover letter is to convince the person reading it to make the next move in the hiring process — with a phone call, interview, or otherwise. Ending on a question opens that door without groveling for it.

“You have to approach this with a non-beggar mentality,” Sawhney says. “Having an ‘ask’ levels the playing field.”

via Aol. : How to write a standout cover letter

How do you write a winning cover letter?

Well depending on how you look at it, this task may be easier or harder than you think. But long story short is it all comes down to strategy.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re not going to win if you write an average cover letter, with zero strategy behind it, that reads like it was thrown together in a 20-minute rush.

Recruiters and hiring managers have seen so many cover letters that it only takes a few seconds for them to recognize if it’s what they’re looking for or not. That means you can’t spend all week working on your resume and then allocate just one hour to write a cover letter—trust me, it won’t be any good.

I’d spend just as much time making my cover letter spectacular as I would my resume. And you should too if you want to give yourself the best chance to get a great job.

Because with tough competition, every element of your job search (mainly your resume, cover letter, and interview answers, but even your thank you note) needs to be executed at a high level. Nothing can be half done and roughly put together. Now that I’ve established the importance of the cover letter, here’s how to write a winner.


Based on my wildly successful job search, coaching other people, and reviewing resumes and cover letters myself, I have the experience to know what makes a winning cover letter.

The winning cover letter:

  • Makes it crystal clear why you want to work for their specific company
  • Provides specific evidence that you would succeed in the role (your relevant past experiences)
  • Shows your enthusiasm for the work
  • Hints that you’re very confident in your ability
  • Has zero grammar, punctuation, or accuracy mistakes
  • Supports your resume, doesn’t repeat it in paragraph form
  • Shines a light on your personality and people skills

That’s about all you need to write the winning cover letter.

Top candidates who win offers will have 6 to 7 of those traits in their cover letter, average candidates will have 3 to 4, and losing candidates will have 0 to 2. However, as you probably know, execution is the name of the game…


Thinking you want to take your cover letter, resume, and entire job search to the next level? Get this free guide I just published called 3 Proven Steps To Get Your Dream Job.

In this exclusive guide, you’ll learn the fundamental difference in what separates top candidates from those who go home without interviews and job offers. And this guide is completely free, just my gift to you—so you have nothing to lose.