Cover Letter Essentials: Four Ways to Stand Out

August 15th, 2014

What sets a good cover letter apart from a great one? And what sets a strong candidate apart from average middle-of-the-road applicant who holds the minimum requirements for the position, but not much else? Here are four cover letter moves that can set you apart from the crowd.

1. Set the right tone from the beginning.

Instead of launching your letter with a long, wordy, or apologetic preamble, just get the point. State the title of the job you’d like to apply for and how you found out about it, for example: “I’d like to apply for the marketing manager position posted on JobsForEveryOne.com.” Avoid openings like: “I’m so sorry to waste your time and I know you must be very busy, but if it wouldn’t trouble you too much, maybe you could consider me for the position of….etc, etc”.

2. Explain why you want this job.

In order to do this, you’ll have to provide a bit of your personal and professional background. Don’t talk about your family, marital, age, handicapped, race, or religious status, but feel free to share how you got into this business and what inspires your passion for this type of work. You can also explain what you’re looking for during the next step of your career and (so far) haven’t found.

3. Explain why you’re a perfect fit.

Visit the company website before you write your letter so you know how to tack this challenge. Explain what you know about this organization and its needs, and then tell your reader how you’re perfectly poised to meet those needs. If your skill sets, background, interests and ambitions all align with the company’s mission and goals, this is your moment to shine a spotlight on this alignment and draw it into focus.

4. Wrap it up.

Bring your letter to a polite conclusion and explain exactly what you’d like your readers to do next. Phrase your request in the form of an invitation. For example: “I believe I have the skills and experience necessary to thrive in this position and help your company reach its growth targets in the year ahead, and I’d welcome an opportunity to further explain my qualifications in person. I invite you to review my enclosed resume and contact me at your convenience. Thank you for your interest.”

At all times, keep your cover letter clear, concise, relevant and short. For more information, contact the Charlotte job search and employment experts at PSU.

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