Tag Archives: Cover Letter Writing

Your Cover Letter Should Include These Six Elements

When submitting a resume to a recruiter or hiring manager, it’s usually a good idea to include a cover letter, as well—even if you’ve been told that cover letters are “optional.” Simply put, a cover letter gives you an additional chance to pitch yourself; it’s one more piece of marketing collateral that can help you convey your value as an employee and stand out from the competition.

But all of this is contingent on your cover letter being well-constructed. If you’ve never drafted a cover letter before, you may wish to consider consulting with one of our resume writers, who can ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Or, consider these brief guidelines—six elements that characterize an effective cover letter.

Six Things Every Cover Letter Needs

  1. Specifics. Using bullet points, outline two to four of your most significant career accomplishments—and whenever possible, use statistics and numbers to lend those achievements some specificity. Hiring managers respond better to quantifiable accomplishments than to generalities; “increased sales by 35 percent” is always better than just “increased sales.”
  2. Personalization. Every cover letter you send out should be customized; don’t simply copy and paste the same text for every job opportunity. Whenever possible, do a little online research and find the name of the hiring manager or HR head who’s going to be receiving the cover letter, and address it to them individually.
  3. Brevity. This isn’t the place to tell your life story. It’s not even the place to outline your career history; that’s what your resume is for! A good cover letter is more like an elevator pitch, quick and punchy. You never want it to exceed a page; often, half a page is sufficient.
  4. Keywords. Another important way in which you can customize your cover letter? Look through the job description for the role you’re seeking, and try to incorporate some of that verbiage into your cover letter—emphasizing your fit for the position. If the job description uses the phrase “customer service” two or three times, that’s a phrase you should include in the cover letter.
  5. Contact information. Your name, address, phone number, and email address should all be included in the cover letter—always!
  6. Value. The big picture here is that you’re trying to show a potential employer the benefits you can offer them—and that means displaying the unique value you have as a professional. Try to articulate those things you believe make you special as an employee. This is where those specific accomplishments come in handy; and, where generalizations like hard-working and motivated generally come up short.

These guidelines should point you toward a strong cover letter—but if you still have questions, we’d love to look over your resume and cover letter and suggest some revisions. Reach out to the resume writing team at Grammar Chic, Inc. to schedule a consultation. Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Effective Cover Letters ALWAYS Avoid These 5 Words

Words are powerful.

So powerful, in fact, that all it takes is one to completely sink your cover letter—and with it, your prospects at landing your desired job interview.

It’s that important to be judicious in what you say, in how you present yourself to recruiters and hiring managers. We’ll show you what we mean: In this post, we’ll list the five words that can ruin an otherwise effective cover letter, and also offer some strategies on working around them.

“Never”

First: Remember that a cover letter is meant to showcase the things that make you a good, positive candidate for the job in question. Negative words have no place here, and no word is more negative than never.

A lot of entry-level or recently graduated jobseekers feel the need to over-explain their lack of experience. “While I have never worked for an accounting firm, I feel…” Our advice? Skip the explanation and focus more on the positives—the internships or volunteer experience that you’ve accumulated, the other work experience with transferable skills, etc.

“Always”

Frankly, absolute statements are highly suspect. They reek of BS. You may say that you always do detail-oriented work or that you always complete your work on time—but really, that’s probably an exaggeration. And recruiters will immediately raise their eyebrows.

Instead of absolute statements, provide concrete examples of your good work. Instead of saying that you’re always the best, prove it.

“Really”

There’s no need to come across as over-eager. You may really want the job, but that doesn’t mean you have to say as much on your cover letter. Again, show your enthusiasm. Channel your eagerness into an engaged and alert job interview, not empty words on a cover letter.

“Feel”

Recruiters and hiring managers probably don’t care how you feel. Yes, that’s harsh, but it’s also true. You may feel like you’ve found your dream job, or that you are the perfect candidate, but those points simply aren’t relevant to the company that’s looking to hire you. Focus on demonstrating why you’re such a good choice for the position, with concrete achievements rather than statements of feeling.

“Honestly”

Are you a liar? Do you often make statements that are misleading or erroneous? If not, then there’s no need to clarify the moments when you’re being honest. It should go without saying.

All five of these words very subtly undercut your authority and your value as a candidate—and a good cover letter will skip over them. To fill your cover letter with words of power and persuasion, we encourage you to call us today. The Grammar Chic team can help! Reach out at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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