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Elements of Eye-Catching Cover Letters

Part of the Cover Letters For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Avoid sending a generic cover letter and instead submit one that stands out, inspires intrigue, and gets noticed by employers. To ensure that your cover letter is a memorable one, ask yourself if it covers these critical points:

  • Addresses its reader by name; if a name is absolutely, positively unavailable, it addresses by the best alternative title.

  • Introduces me by mentioning a mutual contact, previous telephone conversation or meeting, or by using a "hook" statement that sells my hottest, most relevant qualifications.

  • Centers on the employer. As much as possible, it matches point-by-point what the employer wants; in effect, my letter says, "You want, I offer."

  • Specifically tells an employer how I can make money or save money for the company while doing the job the employer wants done.

  • Is rich with accomplishments and achievements. I measure them with real numbers, percentages, or dollar amounts.

  • Has no typos.

  • Is filled with powerful, selling words for extra bite.

  • Illustrates specific product, company, and industry knowledge — showing I did my homework.

  • Translates acronyms, technical jargon, or military lingo into plain English.

  • Closes by asking for an interview, promising to follow up at a given time.

  • Carefully measures the amount of personal data posted online, guarding against identity theft.

  • Contains keywords that software systems can easily pick up.

  • Informs the reader of the position I want near its top or in the "Regarding" space; if not, it gives ample clues to how I could fit in well to any of several positions.

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Cover Letters For Dummies Cheat Sheet


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