Job-winning cover letters remain a stumbling point for many job seekers. As a professional resume writer, I include cover letters in all the levels of my resume packages because I believe a cover letter is essential in almost every job search.

When do you need a cover letter?

An easier question to answer is when don’t you need a cover letter? If you drop a resume off to the recipient or emailing it directly to the decision-maker, you might drop the formal cover letter. However, in the case of emailing it to the decision-maker, you need a well-written note to the recipient about why you are qualified for the position.

What does the cover letter do for you?

If you consider the resume as a marketing document where the product is you, then you should consider the cover letter as the specific marketing notice that explains why you and your talents are exactly what the company needs in the position.

What do I need to know to write job-winning cover letters?

Know the industry and the company.

Do the research so that first, you understand the industry you target and then the specific company.

Know the products of the company inside and out to speak to their needs in the cover letter

Tailor your job-winning cover letters to the job

Mimic the job description early in the cover letter to allow the hiring manager to understand why you desire the specific job. Look at this example, transitioning from Hospitality to Financial Planning. She had 18 offers and is in her new role.

Throughout my career in the hospitality industry, I built a reputation for confidentiality and discretion while working with elite guests. My profitability-conscious focus and exceptional people management makes me an excellent candidate for an Associate Financial Advisor.

Find specific areas you match and answer the question: “why should I hire you?”

Below is a quote from an internal candidate’s cover letter.

Yes, even internal candidates should have a cover letter to reinforce their qualifications. This client is now the Executive Director of her non-profit organization.

If chosen for the role of Executive Director, I can help move the organization forward with the innovative momentum you and Nancy established. I deeply understand and appreciate the culture of the organization from the staff members, our client families, potential donors, and, of course, the club members.

Give specific examples of what you bring to the table.

This bullet point was in the cover letter example for a client who landed a key position in a national non-profit organization.

Secured Angel Investor for $16 million capital campaign, start-up costs, and three years of ongoing operating support.

Ask for the job in the cover letter.

Too many candidates leave off the ask. Both of these closes ask for the interview.

Overall, I bring many attributes you seek in the position of Executive Director. I would be thrilled to discuss my qualifications and our bright future with you in a personal interview soon.

I would enjoy the opportunity to discuss how I could help coordinate your annual fundraising programs and events. Please contact me to schedule an appointment at a mutually convenient time.

If you struggle to write your resume and cover letter to bring you to the next level, perhaps you should work with an expert.

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