Five Tips For Writing Attention-Grabbing Cover Letters

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A cover letter is perhaps the trickiest letter you will ever have to write as a job seeker. It can’t be too long so as to bore the reader while at the same time; it can’t be too short either. If you really look at it, you won’t be writing anything more than who you are and why are you writing the cover letter, yet you still want to make it impressive by making it different from the tons that might be fighting to be on top. So what are the secrets to writing that magical cover letter? Top Five Tips To Writing Cover Letters That Get Results Let’s look at the five most important tips that will make your cover letter get attention: 1. Please don’t use a standard cover letter (read: template) with blank spaces for addresses and date insertions. For god’s sake, avoid this as it is going to drive the recruitment manager nuts. If they have read a thousand resumes before they get to yours and they find a cover letter which is not exactly and specifically made for them, they will possibly lose interest and not continue with your resume any further. But seriously speaking, this kind of template gives a feeling of being disregarded to the reader. Can you afford to let this happen? 2. Don’t let all the goodies out of the bag in the cover letter itself. Writing all about yourself in the cover letter is meaningless when you are enclosing your resume as well. Also, a lengthy cover letter is boring and frustrating. The most a hiring manager will do is throw it aside for the circular file. This effectively means you are out of the running. So avoid lengthy cover letters, and keep it brief and to the point. 3. Clearly specify the job code (if it is provided), and give the reference as to whether you are writing the cover letter in response to an advertisement. This prevents your letter from being delivered to the wrong person/department. The right person will understand the position that you have applied for, which makes it easier for him or her to contact you. 4. Personalizing and proofreading the cover letter – this goes without saying. You may argue that perfect spelling and grammar in the cover letter are not evidence of your talents, skills and abilities. Well, look at it this way; what will you do if your talents get buried under unintentional and silly errors? Better yet, how will you know – because if they are, you certainly aren’t going to get called for an interview. 5. Grab attention in the opening sentence itself - This will grab the reader immediately and entice them to read your cover letter carefully and with interest. Think of this as sales – if you don’t get the reader’s attention from the very start, the sale (i.e. – your candidacy) is lost. Because the cover letter is the first contact that you will have with a company or recruiter, it is absolutely essential that it gets the right kind of attention from the get go. By following the five tips above, you will ensure that your resume ends up at the top of the “yes” heap.

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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to leave a comment. This article has some great ideas for how to format and organize a cover letter. Take a look at the archives here at Beyond, there are so many great blogs and articles that give more in depth information about particular parts of the letter, including samples. We'd like to include everything on one page but it just isn't possible. Even if you feel that your cover letter isn't getting you any additional attention, why not try editing it and making it more exciting? It certainly can't hurt and it just might be the little push your personal marketing campaign needed.
  • Maxine Russell
    Maxine Russell
    It would be nice to give an example of what a perfect cover letter should be.
  • Sharon Stewart
    Sharon Stewart
    I would like to see a few examples of an "attention grabbing" openings for cover letters.  Thank you
  • Juan A. Hernandez
    Juan A. Hernandez
    For people who use a standard cover letter format, what have you no IMAGINATION?! I believe that a cover letter speaks volumes about who you are and you're style. Just be aware, don't use the word "I", too many times. No sample cover letters, every job is different and demands individual attention! Tips help to fine tune!
  • Kimberly
    I should give the tips a try. ?I have to admit that I've been using a standard cover letter to accompany my resume. ?I'll send out a few personalized letters and provide an update as to the usefulness of personalization with regard to gaining employment. ?Thanks again,Kimberly
  • MissBee
    I have written many cover letters and got tired of writting them. Companies normally have a large questionnaire that is used to weed out people who are not qualified, or least qualified. In a case like this, I would not bother writing a cover letter, specially if your candidacy is weak. I am finding that companies are looking for very specific skills and only those who have them will be considered. The other option is to network, and try to bypass HR - directly into the hiring manager or someone in the company. At a time when most of us are trying to use transferable skills, it is harder than ever to find a job. It is almost as though we have to stay in the same hateful type of job we had previously.  Employers need to realize that people may be trying to find a slightly different line of work and would like an opportunity to learn something new. Not everyone who is unemployed was laid off. Most of us disliked with passion the line of work we were doing.  This is why employees do not stay at their jobs long term. So as for cover letters, I was told they are only read if the resume is chosen as a qualifier. If this is not true please let us know.
  • judy
    Please, please send us some examples of good cover letters.
  • bhisham kumar
    bhisham kumar
    i am electrical enginer with multi national company fertilizer company work as electrical enigneer inspaection department, electrical mainatanance engineer, on gas terbine,preventive  maintanance transformenrs motors and all kinds of equipments safety department, work at civildepartment, work at fabrication workshop vessel oil and water tanks, cleaning/ inspection of vessel etc  
  • Annettea J.
    Annettea J.
  • Jacqueline M.
    Jacqueline M.
    I’d just like to echo what everyone else is asking – is there an sample cover letter you could show?
  • Rick
    The biggest thing I have is individual letters to each company - thus having writer's block. Looks like this article suffers from the same thing - no sample cover letter to back up the good suggestions.
  • Sheila M.
    Sheila M.
    Your article was very helpful.  If you could, like some others mentioned, add some examples of opening sentences and/or a cover letter.  Thank you for all your help.
  • Thea
    I was unimpressed with the information given in the article-there was nothing specific TO do, however, I thought GlenP's advice about focusing on the bottom line was a great thing and I am going to talk about how my experience means the learning curve is shorter 9 less training cost) and that I want to stay in a position long term (which cuts potential turn over cost) I know we can't use form letter but examples of creativity in the letter would have been great.
  • Kristi
    Those sound like great suggestions.  Can you provide a sample cover letter or tell me where to find one?
  • Michelle McBay
    Michelle McBay
    Yes...where can one go for examples!  I have read plenty of great do's and don'ts, but really would like key words, starter sentences, phrases...etc. Anyone willing to share?
  • Susan Boyes
    Susan Boyes
    Everyone is asking the same question.  How about some examples!?  Is it still proper to use "Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,"  "To whom it may concern,"  Dear Sir or Madam,"?  Never start out with "I" (am just what you need!)  Please don't tell me we've lost all manners, and allow "Yo!,dude, whatsup"!

    Just a few simple samples would be especially helpful to those new to the job market, and those re-entering after several years of being at home. Thank you for your time.
  • tom
    What can I do if no name is posted in the job announcment to direct the cover letter to? What are you supposed to put in it's place?
  • Michael Toole
    Michael Toole
    I agree with every one.  Not every one knows how to do a cover letter or even knows how to create one.
  • Malik
    Would you be kind enough to refer me to some good sample cover letters?
  • sheila k-s.
    sheila k-s.
    I'm adding another request for samples of cover letters.    Thanks.
  • Harlevy
    The cover letter is an important and powerful tool between the seeker and the employer, the interface and the first opportunities for a interview
  • Chien-sheng T.
    Chien-sheng T.
    Examples of good cover letters or opening lines would be helpful.  This seems like a come-on to purchase something--a teaser to get one to buy.
  • Walter H.
    Walter H.
    Do you have sample cover letters available?  I sure would like to view a couple of them.  Thank you very much.
  • Rick D.
    Rick D.
    Please send me and example of a good cover letter or a template of a good cover letter
  • Elizabeth G.
    Elizabeth G.
    I need a example on how to write a cover page for my resume.  I have plenty of experiences in Data Processing and Computer Operation and completed a training course in medical coding and billing. I just siimply need to work at a hospital using my skills. I am looking for advice on how to write a cover page for my resume. Thank-you.

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