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How to write a standout cover letter

10/25/2018

How to write a standout cover letter

Job seekers often run into an all-too-familiar problem when they're applying to multiple positions at the same time. While it can be easy to tailor a resume to specific job listings by simply moving around, adding or deleting a few key facts, that's often not the case with cover letters. Because these documents will typically have to be rewritten almost entirely for each new job, it's important to find ways to make them stand out from the crowd without taking too much time on each.

The fact of the matter is that hiring managers are likely getting dozens or more cover letters and resumes for every open position they post online, so they don't have a lot of time to spend with each document, according to The Muse. As such, job seekers have to do a better job of setting themselves apart as quickly as possible, since their work will usually only get a quick once-over before the reader moves on to the next option.

With that in mind, perhaps the most important thing is addressing the cover letter to a specific person whenever possible, the report said. While "Dear sir or madam" and "To whom it may concern" are common, they're also a bit of a turn-off for many hiring managers because it indicates that this is something the applicant hasn't really researched, or might have simply copied and pasted. Instead, finding out and jotting down the hiring manager's name - even if it isn't posted in the listing itself - should capture their attention.

Other good ideas
In addition, it's important for job seekers to make sure their cover letters are communicating different information than what's on their resumes - simply restating the same stuff twice can be annoying to readers, according to Hubspot. Instead, listing new details, or at least expanding on some of the more important details on the resume, can go a long way, but it's also wise to keep it brief. A few paragraphs should be sufficient.

Similarly, to simply say one has "years of experience" in their field[is potentially poor form, it's wiser to provide quantifiable information, such as how much they helped grow sales or how many awards they received for their work during that time, the report said.

Above and beyond
It's also worth noting that while people may not want to come across as boastful the whole point of a cover letter is to say why one is perfect for the open position, according to a separate report from The Muse. To that end, it's vital for people to highlight their expertise and accomplishments, and craft a story about why those skills make them uniquely qualified to help the company grow and succeed.

The truth is that most people are only going to be applying for jobs for which they are qualified, so the more they can do to highlight their capabilities in ways that are immediately engaging and demonstrate their preparedness, the more likely they will be to get an interview.

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