Your Cover Letter Can Make the Difference

John Krautzel
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You only have one chance to make a stellar first impression when you apply for a job. Although your resume is an important part of the job application process, your customized cover letter is solely responsible for enticing the recruiting manager to want to learn more about you. Learn what components to include in your job-specific cover letter to maximize your chances of being interviewed for the position.

According to a recent Nexxt article, sending out a generic cover letter with your resume is a "don't" in the modern job-hunting world. Instead, the article advocates that you compose a customized cover letter for each position that addresses the specifics of the job, and why you are worthy to interview for the position.

According to business executives Susan Davis-Ali and Patrick O'Brien, your cover letter should relay eight key components that separate you from the job-seeking pack:

  1. Compose an Easy, Effortless Read. Don't make your cover letter look like an epic novel. Use short paragraphs and bullet points to make it flow well from the beginning to the end.
  2. Be Succinct. Eliminate unnecessary personal information, such as your age, marital status or unrelated skills within the customized cover letter that have nothing to do with the posted position.
  3. Create a Bond Between You and the Reader. If you are applying for a position based upon a referral, mention the name of the mutual contact as soon as possible in the customized cover letter. If you know the person who is hiring for the position, mention how and when you met him to refresh his memory of you. Skip this step if you are answering a blind ad.
  4. Be Down to Earth. Write a professional, customized cover letter that sounds like it is coming from a real person. Let your personality shine through a little bit by indulging a few interesting facts about yourself within the first two sentences.
  5. Pinpoint Your Unique Abilities. This section of your cover letter explains why you are uniquely qualified for the position. For example, if you are applying for a pediatric nursing job, convey what specific education or experience you have administering medical care to infants.
  6. Feature "Soft" Skills. Are you an eager learner or able to work long hours without struggling to keep up with your workload? Mention qualities such as these, and back them up with cold hard facts, if possible, to make an even greater impact.
  7. Allow Your Passion for the Position to Come Through. Let your passion for the position resonate throughout your customized cover letter. Choose words that allow the reader to clearly identify with your deep love for the nature of the work.
  8. Sell Yourself. Don't forget that the point of a customized cover letter is to get an interview. Therefore, you must sell yourself in such a way that you make a good impression without sounding overly prideful or exaggerating your accomplishments.

Throw out your old, generic cover letter, and use these tips to create customized cover letters that cultivate a sincere interest in you. Help yourself write them with ease by keeping lists of your accomplishments in your field, and the unique skills you can bring to different positions within your field of expertise.

(Photo courtesy of Gualberto 107 at


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