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Cover Letter Secrets

In this post, we are going to cover (sorry had to do it) a few tips on how to write an effective the cover letter.  It is important to remember that hiring managers and recruiters typically have to go through so many applications that they usually don’t spend more than minute to skim and scan your cover letter.  Knowing this, the goal of your cover letter to quickly get their attention to get them to read more, peak their interest and ultimately to look at your resume.

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Cover letter tips:

Keep it short – as mentioned already, most hiring professionals have a stack of applications to review.  As such, keeping it short really serves you well.  Also by keeping it short, you will force yourself to include only the most relevant and eye catching information.  A good guideline is to keep it to one or two paragraphs.

Use bullets – using bullets again is very important since it highlights the important information.  It also allows the reader to scan easily which is what they will be doing.

Make it unique – here you want to use your cover letter to really make your cover letter stand out.  By making it unique, there is a better chance your application will be positively remembered.  Some people mention another employee currently working for the company.  For example, “my former colleague Tom Smith in Finance speaks highly of your department……..blah, blah, blah”.  While this can work for you, it may not be so effective in large companies.  Also be careful whose name you drop, and make sure the friend you mention is well liked and positively regarded.

Highlight a strategic strength – here you want to highlight a key strength that you bring to the employer and that is required of the job.  Think of something that would give you the edge over the competition, something that makes you unique.  A good idea here is to highlight your unique blend of skills and experiences.  So suppose you were applying for an accountion job at ABC Telco.  Rather than indicating that you have an accounting degree (since other applicants would have that), mention your combination of accounting and telecom experience puts you in a unique position to contribute the job.

Make it current – a great technique is to incorporate a current event from the company.  Do your research and learn about the current news and media and work that into your cover letter.  For example, “The launch of your KIDS.com site is exciting.  I look forward to meeting with you and discussing how my experience with youth will contribute to your team.” With the internet and almost every company having a website, you really have no excuse not to use this tip.

For more resume and cover letter resources see the links below.