Always Remember That The Cover Letter is NOT About You

Nancy Anderson
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You might think a cover letter is all about you and your skills, but this is not entirely true. The purpose of a cover letter is to explain why you are a good fit for a particular role in the hiring organization. Convincing the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the job does involve talking about your skills and experiences, but you also need to tie that information to the advertised role.

As well as conveying information about yourself, your cover letter must express passion about the organization to which you are applying. Hiring managers are looking for someone who is a good fit for the organization, which means you need to show that you understand the philosophy and mission of the company. Use the first paragraph of your cover letter to explain why you want to work for this organization. Show that you have taken the time to research the company and that you are enthusiastic about working there.

You also need to explain what you plan to do if you get the job. Instead of vague statements such as "I can use my social media expertise to help your marketing efforts," give a few ideas of campaigns that you could actually run. This approach shows that you are able to think independently and that you are enthusiastic about the role for which you are applying. To give weight to your statements, back them up with examples of accomplishments that you achieved while working in your previous roles.

It's not only what you write in your cover letter that communicates whether you fit in well with the organization's workplace culture but also how you write it. Tailor your language to suit the kind of organization to which you are applying. For example, if you are applying to work in a big corporation with a slick, professional image, keep your language formal and professional throughout your cover letter. On the other hand, if you're applying to a startup that has a fun and creative image, you can use less formal language and structures in your cover letter. In either case, avoid using language that could be interpreted as being offensive, and always check your cover letter for spelling errors or mistyped words. Not being able to spell is never a desirable trait, even in a less formal environment.

Your cover letter is your opportunity to talk about your skills and experiences, but these shouldn't be the only topics you discuss. Use your cover letter to express your passion for the advertised role and to explain how your background and personality make you the perfect fit for the organization. This approach can help you get the attention of a potential employer and improve your chance of landing your dream job.

Photo courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul at



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  • Saber P.
    Saber P.

    Well written, accurate and concise. Nice work Nancy

  • Kevin R.
    Kevin R.

    This exact topic was discussed at a networking resource meeting I attend each Tuesday. Great to see this important topic being reinforced. Thank you.


    Thanks for the positive word.

  • Karl.  M D.
    Karl. M D.

    Thanks great information. Respectfully grateful.

  • Mala Williams
    Mala Williams

    Great info! Thanks

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Michael Capristo thanks for the comment. That's a great way to look at the cover letter. Most job seekers get really stressed when it comes to writing a cover letter. You seem to have taken it in stride and found a beautiful way to think of weaving the cover letter in with the resume. Thank you.

  • Michael Capristo, M.H.A., B.S.B.A.

    Great article with excellent points and examples. I like to think of cover letters as the weave that demonstrates the connection between the job posting and our resume...the more threads we can connect, the stronger we are as a candidate.

  • David Frett
    David Frett

    Good information,, thanks

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