3 Ways to Write Cover Letters that Win

March 31st, 2014 | Articles, Job Search | No Comments »

Cover Letter

Of the job application dynamic duo, the resume is definitely the most straightforward. It has a clear skeletal structure, requiring the inclusion of contact information, work experience, and education to stand on two legs. Cover letters, however, aren’t so obvious.

There’s a general consensus that they be short and sweet – no one wants to read a bloated manifesto – but limiting a cover letter to three paragraphs doesn’t give much guidance.

So, what essential rules will keep your job application from being in a permanent holding pattern?

Don’t let the message get lost

A cover letter tempt some candidates to kick open the levee and let all their credentials spill out. That approach does them a serious injustice.

Hiring managers don’t want to be left adrift in a sea of qualifications. They want to read a clear message that gives them clear incentive to arrange an interview. Limiting yourself to one or two key points can distinguish your cover letter from the babble of your competition.

Make your qualifications tangible

An ambiguous list of skills versus tangible achievements in your cover letter is the difference between drawing stick figures and having a dazzling world of 3D graphics. The hiring manager wants to be enthralled by what a candidate has to offer. Do you have the proof to back up your claims?

Your qualifications are most tangible when you provide specifics. That means, incorporating relevant examples of revenue earned, money saved, customers served, and awards won into your cover letter. What’s going to entice a hiring manager more?

I saved money for my company with software changes.


I saved $10,000 for my company by streamlining SaaS solutions into one neat package.

Enough about you…

A good cover letter creates parallels between your career and the company itself. Their vision, successes, and obstacles are all fodder for your cover letter. In fact, hiring managers will be looking for someone who already understands what they are up against and is ready to overcome those challenges.

The key is to connect your new knowledge of the company with the qualifications from your previous jobs. Then, it’s a quick reminder to read your resume for further details and you’re one step closer to getting that coveted interview.

by James Walsh

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