Standing Out – How to Craft an Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter
- Cover letters, how we love to hate them
- The paragraph break down
- Avoiding common mistakes
- Prior Career Content by Ken Meeker
- About The Author
- Image Descriptions
Cover letters, how we love to hate them
For many job seekers, cover letters can be an overwhelmingly daunting and difficult task. Sometimes they feel outdated, unnecessary, or even a waste of time. But many successful job seekers understand that crafting a strong, attention-grabbing cover letter has the power to get you an interview, and even sometimes a job. In this article you will learn several tips that can help you craft a cover letter that is the envy of others.
Thinking about a cover letter as a “why me” statement that accompanies your resume can guide the writing process. A cover letter is an opportunity to in a few sentences let an organization know why they should take time to review your resume, and more importantly, call you for an interview. Strong cover letters put you in the spotlight as to why you are not just qualified for the job you are applying for, but also why you are the best candidate.
To determine what about you makes you stand out from other candidates, look to the specific job posting and see if there is a skill, ability, training, education, experience, knowledge, or something else specific to the position where you have more than the minimum being sought. Some jobs may not be asking for something specific, and in these situations, it can be helpful to ask yourself why do you want this particular job at the company? Answering that question with, “It’s a paycheck,” or “It’s just a job” doesn’t cut it. There is a reason that particular job posting is being applied to. What is that reason? Put another way, if the person reviewing resumes and applications can’t distinguish one applicant from another, what is the chance of landing an interview or the job?
When writing the cover letter, it is important to remember that length matters. The basic structure of a cover letter is that it should be no more than one page, typically five paragraphs, and written in a standard business letter format.
The paragraphs break down as follows:
1. Introduction – In this paragraph you introduce who you are, why you are contacting the company, for what position and where you learned of the job opening.
2. Background – This short paragraph should briefly explain your education, training, or other relevant information about what you can contribute to the organization.
3 & 4. Body – Use one or two paragraphs to highlight what about you is special. What major accomplishments do you have that you are proud of? Do you have a skill that you want to highlight? Is there something in your experience that sets you apart from other candidates? Tip: these paragraphs are an opportunity to make the cover letter personal. These paragraphs are your opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Remember to tie everything back to the job you are applying for and keep it relevant.
5. Conclusion – Wrap it all up in a brief paragraph thanking them for considering your application, remind them of your interest for the specific position by letting them know you hope to hear back for an interview.
Remember to include your email and phone number under your name at the bottom where your signature goes.
Also try to avoid these common mistakes on cover letters:
- Not proofreading
- Misspellings or bad grammar
- Content not relevant to the job
- Leaving off contact information
- Addressing the letter to the wrong person or using “To Whom It May Concern”
Following these tips when crafting your next cover letter should help make the task a little less challenging. Pace yourself and don’t rush writing a cover letter. Give yourself time to craft a cover letter that really lets you shine. Doing this makes it more likely to get the interview, and quite possibly the job.
By: Ken Meeker
Prior Career Content by Ken Meeker
- 3 Things to Consider When Crafting Your Resume
- Career Exploration – 5 Important Things to do When Considering Careers
About The Author:
Ken Meeker is a Certified Professional Coach, owner of Vitality Career Coaching LLC, and member of the NCDA. He specializes in executive and career coaching with a special emphasis on differently-abled individuals who want to return to work. He is a DEI consultant, Public Speaker, and advocates for inclusivity of marginalized groups. Ken is a 2021-2022 AFB Blind Leadership Development Program Fellow and will serve as a Mentor for the 2022-2023 program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.com/in/kenmeekeraz, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vitalitycareercoaching.com
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- Header – Closeup view of female hands on a laptop keyboard.
- Crumpled up cover letter and resume for the trash.
- Close up of a cover letter paragraph.
- A cropped view of a pencil eraser making corrections on a white background.
- Author photo: A professional waist shot of Ken a white man with arms folded across his chest. He has short dark hair and eyeglasses.