How to Create a Standout Cover Letter

Nancy Anderson
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A cover letter provides a succinct, yet powerful, message from a prospect to an employer. Job seekers have just two or three paragraphs to make the best impression on firms, and relevant information in brief correspondence must stand out from the crowd. Try some of these tips to get your name noticed before landing that all-important interview.

Integrate powerful action words in your cover letter, and use them throughout. Write "I oversaw 20 employees who built a consistent rapport over five years" as opposed to "I was the boss over 20 people whom I knew very well in my time there." You do not have a lot of space in one page, so every word counts.

Plan ahead and strategize what to write. A cover letter is your introduction to a company that knows nothing about your personality, work ethic, experience and qualifications. Everything you write is relevant regarding the job you desire. A supervisor who wants an IT expert does not care about your sports trivia knowledge. Hobbies and avocations become small talk at the interview--there is no place for wasted words in this piece.

Narrow down your unique skills and attributes perfect for the job. Myriads of skills on the table are fantastic, but elucidate on three or four superlative qualities the company wants. Show the company you mean business by exceeding its expectations on the top qualifications needed for the position. If you have a college degree, tell the employer how you earned top honors in your class while pursuing academic excellence.

Customize your cover letter to the company and position you want. Invoke the company's ideals, such as a few words from its mission statement, to drive home your desire for the job. Incorporate key words and industry jargon to show your passion. The correspondence melds your goals with the company's.

Do not make the letter completely about you. This first impression is about how the company, and you, have a symbiotic relationship. Make your values the company's values. For instance, a delivery company relies on timely logistics to ensure packages arrive on time. Mention your punctuality, proximity to work and availability as possible assets to share with a firm that relies on timely situations.

Research examples of good cover letters. You are not the only person who has undergone a labor-intensive job search. Rely on those who successfully earned a position before you and follow those examples. Do not overtly mimic someone else's work, but instead edify the style of the letter and note the length, sentence structure and conciseness. Check over the piece for grammar and content before submitting it for consideration.

A cover letter is a snapshot of your ethic, drive and determination at work. Strike a balance between touting yourself and knowing the company as your words introduce yourself to a potential supervisor. A successful composition is an important first step to a satisfying job search.


Photo courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at


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  • Rich Milgram
    Rich Milgram

    Put in the thought and take the time to make it stand out. Spend a few minutes learning about the company and demonstrate an alignment of the mission/values of the company with your own

  • Sean Shepard
    Sean Shepard

    Thanks for the info.

  • LaToya J.
    LaToya J.

    Valuable information. Thanks

  • Randy  Pulayya
    Randy Pulayya

    thank you for sharing!

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