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  • Writer's pictureErin Bailey Lake

Cover Letter Tips: Clear First Impression, Positive Mindset

Most job seekers obsess over their resumes – but give little thought to the cover letter. Big mistake!

Hiring managers insist that the cover letter is vital. They see it as a first impression. If your cover letter is obviously generic, the hiring manager may conclude that you’re just shotgunning applications to anyone and everyone. But if the cover letter is thoughtfully written, it can create a positive mindset and set you apart.

Here are our keys to a powerful cover letter:

1. Your first sentence can make or break your application. One sure way to turn off the hiring manager is this opening sentence: “I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is…”

Instead, captivate the hiring manager with an imaginative setup – something like:

“Five years from now, (insert company name) will recognize me for my longevity of service and my excellent performance.”

Or this:

“Not only do I have the IT factor; I also have the FIT factor.

These are bold statements – but you’re competing for a job, so this is no time to be modest. They will backfire ONLY if you can’t back them up.

2. Support your opening sentence with evidence – but don’t simply cut and paste from your resume. “This job requires etc. As you’ll see in my resume, I’m an excellent match for the position.”

3. Write vigorously and succinctly! Use active voice and action verbs. “I’m a quick learner, a team player, and a hard worker. And I’ve learned much from both my successes and my mistakes.

4. There is no absolute length. Write at least 50 words, but no more than 100. And make every word count.

5. Let your confidence and enthusiasm shine through.

6. Project yourself into the position: Something like:

“I look forward to hearing from you – and I’m eager to go to work for XXX (company name). “

As our economy reopens, competition for the best jobs will be fierce. If you’d like help with your résumé and cover letter, we’re here for you.

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