What to Cover in a Cover Letter

Cover letters can be intimidating. You want to help your resume stand out, yet it seems you’ve already said all the good stuff in the resume. Do you even need a cover letter today? Some experts say “yes” and some say “no.” It’s better to err on the side of safety and write a great cover letter (cover email) that is personalized to every job

Tell the job you are applying for. Begin by stating something like: “I am proud to submit my resume for the position of Regional Marketing Director.” Most companies have several openings. Be sure you state which one is of interest to you.

Tell how you learned about the job. HR managers want to know if their internet listings are generating qualified applicants. If you learned about the position from CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed, or even the company website, say so.

Use names. Let people open doors. If you have a contact within the company, be sure to use his/her name. Having a contact gives you an implied endorsement. You might say something like: “Mary Jones in purchasing suggested I apply for the position of Senior Marketing Director. Mary and I worked together for at XYZ Manufacturing years ago.” The HR manager will call Mary and get a reference. This is your ticket to the top of the pile!

Give 3 reasons why you can contribute more than other candidates. Write a short paragraph about three qualities that make you a great employee. Elaborate by giving an example for each one.  Here’s a sample:  “Accountability – I hold myself to a high standard, and train my salespeople to look to their own activities, sales techniques, and follow-up to gage their success. I am certified and train all my agents in the XYZ Follow Up system. The result is a team of agents who achieved 3% growth during a time when our market experienced an 8% decline in home sales.”

Ask for an in-person interview.  In sales, it’s called “Asking for the order.” At the end of your letter, state your desire to contribute to the company. Then, close with something like: “I’m excited about this opportunity and look forward to the interview process.”

Passion is always in fashion. Your resume should be professional, fact-based, and devoid of emotion. The cover letter is a place to show a little personality and passion for the work and the job at hand. It’s very appealing to hire a job seeker who really wants the work.  Be sure to include your personal commitment, if you can. One winning cover letter ended this way: “As the mother of a diabetic child, I know the struggles each family faces. I hope to work for your organization, both to inform and support the families facing this challenge.”

If you’d like a packet of three winning cover letters, send me an email. [email protected].

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