All About Cover Letters

John Krautzel
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Writing a cover letter is slowly becoming a lost art, at least in the eyes of the corporate world. Recruiters and HR managers still value an introductory letter as a way to make employers want to peruse your resume. Read all about how to impress a recruiter with a personalized cover letter.

What Employers Look For

Employers look for several key items in a cover letter. Customize your abilities and skills to the job at hand, because organizations want to know what you bring the position. These skills should clearly state why you're the perfect fit for the job. Make every line in the letter is succinct and full of details that leave no doubt as to your value to the company.

The goal of your cover letter is to get recruiters to take a closer look at your skills and experience, which is outlined on your resume. Think of your letter as a gateway to your entire personal brand that you outline with a resume.

How to Personalize Your Cover Letter

Take several steps to personalize your letter. Begin with the format, and keep it simple so you can come back to the template later. Once you compose your opening and closing lines, go back and fill in the details with your specific experience that fits the job. Save this template as a file on your computer to save time later when you apply for another job.

Personalize the salutation with the name of the hiring manager. If you don't know this person's name, opening with "Dear Hiring Manager" is appropriate. Then, mention the job or position in the opening sentence. This puts your cover letter in the right frame of reference.

Customize your skills to the position. Employers look for transferable skills that flow from one job to the next. Take a look at the job description and the top-level responsibilities of the job. Your skills should fulfill those responsibilities easily. The goal is to convince a hiring manager, in just a few lines of text, that your skills make it easy for you to step into the role.

Show Your Value

Showing your value to the company is the key to sparking a manager's interest. Include a statistic about a past experience that shows hard numbers. For example, you can say, "My team leadership helped Acme Brick achieve 10 percent sales growth for 10 straight quarters." This sentence is short and to the point, and shows how you bring your top-level skills to an organization while conveying you're a team player.

Don't forget to edit the letter for grammar and spelling. Have a second set of eyes look over the letter to make sure it's error-free. A polished, cohesive piece of writing goes a long way to making a great first impression with a hiring manager.

Your cover letter is all about you and what you bring to a position. These tips give you a framework to fill in gaps with your specialized, top-level skill set that fulfills the employer's mission for the job.

Photo courtesy of Gualberto107 at


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