The Top 10 Strategies for Writing Winning Cover Letters

Category: Career Guide
Posted on: Thursday, April 19, 2018

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1. Make it easy for someone to understand “who” you are. Are you a sales representative, actuary, nurse, college professor, chemical engineer, restaurant manager, customer service agent, or architect? Be sure to clearly communicate that information at the beginning of your cover letter. Don’t make someone read three paragraphs to find this critical information. No one is going to take the time and energy to figure it out!

2. Use a unique and professional format when writing and typing your cover letters. Don’t fall into the trap of using cover letter formats that have been used for years and now appear worn out. Make your letters visually attractive and distinctive—not the overused “standard” formats. Take a look at all the samples in this book to see how creative yet professional you can be in writing the text and designing the presentation.

3. Highlight your most relevant qualifications. Use your cover letters to highlight your skills, experiences, qualifications, honors, awards, and credentials that are directly relevant to the company’s needs and the type of position and/or career path you are pursuing.

4. Shine a spotlight on your most relevant achievements. Be certain to highlight your career successes, results, and accomplishments that will be most meaningful to the letter’s intended audience.

5. Include information that you know about the company or the position for which you are applying. If you know any particulars about the company to which you are writing (for example, core issues, challenges, market opportunities, products, services, staffing changes, or management changes), be sure to address those items in your cover letter. What’s more, relate specifically how your experience can meet the company’s needs and provide solutions to its challenges.

6. Explain why you want to work for this company in particular. Do you want to work for the company because of its reputation, financial standing, products, services, personnel, location, or market potential? Why this company? Everyone likes a good “pat on the back” for a job well done. Companies are no different. Tell them what they’re doing right that caught your attention.

7. Be sure that your cover letters are neat, clean, and well presented. Remember, cover letters are business documents, not advertising materials. They should be attractive and relatively conservative, not “over-designed.”

8. Double-check, triple-check, and then have someone else check your letter to be sure that it is error-free! Remember, people don’t meet you; they meet a piece of paper. And that piece of paper—your cover letter—reflects the quality and caliber of the work you will do on their behalf. Even the smallest of errors is unacceptable.

9. Keep your cover letters short! Cover letters are not essays. We recommend a one-page letter in nearly all circumstances.

10. Always remind yourself why you are writing each cover letter and be sure to ask for the interview! Remember, securing an interview is your number-one objective for each cover letter that you write.