3 tips to writing better cover letters

Writing better cover letters is an issue for many job seekers. Let's look at how most people write cover letters and how to write better cover letters to achieve better results!

Let's get something clear first. A cover letter only has value if it is targeted to a specific job or role. You can use a cover letter for networking, but you must be specific in the value you offer.

 Old Approach Cover Letter First Paragraph:

I found your advertisement in the Times Gazette for the position of Regional Market Manager, and I would like to be considered for the position.

All this does is confirm the effectiveness of their marketing. With so many jobs posted online and through social media, there is analytics tracking for the employer. You don't have to waste valuable cover letter verbiage telling them where you found the job. Better use that verbiage to tell them why you fit the job description

Writing Better Cover Letters Tip # 1 — Infuse your cover letter's first paragraph with More Value

You seek a Claims Specialist III for your office in Philadelphia, PA responsible for case results on selectively assigned high-exposure and/or special risk complex claims. I am drawn to this position because of the role I have had as Practice Manager at New York Orthopedic Medical Group.

In this cover letter, you let the reader know you understand their expectations and how your former role correlates with the job description. There are many ways to do this, but I like to parrot the job description early on.

Old Middle Paragraph Cover Letter Content

The middle paragraph or paragraphs of your cover letter are the sale pieces. But most people tend to make this very bland and boring and not at all specific. Here is an example of one I wrote in 2002, which is better than average but still not on target:

As my resume indicates, I am a Manager II with Wausau Benefits, Inc. after departments moved from Wausau Insurance to Wausau Benefits. Prior to the corporate transition, I was the Unit Manager in the Group Claim Administration Department at Wausau Insurance. My position requires strong analytical, organizational, communication, and supervisory skills. In addition, I have strong background in training and motivating staff.

Writing Better Cover Letters Tip # 2 —  Use your cover letter's Second paragraph(s) to create a robust response about why you fit the job

This is the area you really want to dig deep into the job description and sell exactly what value you bring and what makes you unique in the cover letter. Get specific!

At ABC Industries, my team achieved #1 profit-producing region five years running, beating competing US regions by two times. I maximized the sales volume of three key national accounts, improving revenue by 50% and profitability by 30% for the largest national account.

Throughout my career, I delivered solutions to drive business results. My expertise in new business development, consultative sales training, and sales forecasting created success stories in the most challenging economic climates. My solid background is in engineering, steel fabrication, and installation. I can transition that knowledge to your needs at Y&Z Process Systems.

Old Ending Paragraph Cover Letter Content

Omitting the ask for the interview or reselling your value are the two most common errors in the last paragraph.

Thank you for your consideration.

Writing Better Cover Letters Tip # 3 —  Close your cover letter's ending paragraph by asking for the interview

What can I say? You need to let them know you want the job in the cover letter.

An easy close:

I welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications with you in an interview. I will call you to follow-up in three to five days to determine the next step in your interview process.

If you ask for follow-up or tell them you will call, you are the one in control of the process. You aren't being too aggressive if they are looking for a Sales Manager. Many people are afraid to follow up.

Need help? Hire me, Julie Walraven, Certified Master Resume Writer. I can take the pain out of writing your resume and even make it fun. We work together to discover those forgotten contributions and position you to win your next role. To find out how, Click Here

3 tips to writing better cover letters

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