How To Create a Cover Letter That Gets Read

How To Create a Cover Letter That Gets Read

Customizing a cover letter to meet the needs for a targeted open role at an employer is essential in today’s marketplace. Smearing the application landscape with generic cover letters for all your applications will only guarantee you Interview-less frustration. 

6 Tips for Creating a Meaningful Cover Letter

Instead, implement these six cover letter tips to create a concise, meaningful cover letter that will blow the doors off that recruiter’s office and make your inbox “ping” with notices that you have a coveted interview:

Ensure your cover letter is short and much shorter than it has ever been. Your cover letter nowadays is approximately 1/3 the size of a traditional cover letter.  It should be no longer than a computer screen shot or a couple of scrolls on a smart phone. That’s it! Hiring managers and associates do not read much more than that length initially when screening resumes and cover letters. If it is longer, you run the risk of your letter getting skipped over.

Send and address your cover letter to a person.   Do not send it “To Whom It May Concern” or “Hiring Manager.”  Do your homework and research who you should be addressing your cover letter to for your submission and email it to a specific person, addressing that person in the email note. 

Specify how you found the person that you are emailing. When approaching a contact cold, without an introduction or possibly no open role to references, be sure to shed some light on how you came to be emailing them. Upon receiving an unsolicited email, most people have an instinctive response like, “How did they get my name?” So address this anticipated concern proactively to be sure your email is received positively.

Indicate early on in the cover letter email how you came to discover the person in order to put the receiving party at immediate ease to continue reading. Whether it was research on LinkedIn or your former co-worker that led you to reach out to this person, informing the recipient of how your email landed in their inbox makes the person feel better.

Be explicit as to what job you are looking for. Note rather it’s an exploratory request or whether you are submitting to a job posting. Do not leave it up to the hiring manager to decide which job you are applying to or where you may fit within their organization. If you do, your cover letter may get filed under the “T” file (Trash).

Do not write the cover letter as a prose version of your resume. It is not meant to be a regurgitation of your resume. A cover letter is supposed to summarize to the reader the value you will bring to the prospective organization and how your background fills a need they have. Nothing will put your credentials in the ‘no’ pile faster than a lengthy synopsis of your career history with no ties as to how your credentials benefit the hiring organization.

Help the reader connect the dots as to why they should take action and call you for an interview or forward you to the right person to bring you in for a discussion. Use bullets, and no more than 3-5 bullets, to outline how you are a fit for the prospective position.

Lastly, of course, end your letter with the professional niceties of thanking the person for their time and assertively offering to follow up to set up an interview time. Polite enthusiasm and humble persistence are never out of style and always stand out in a positive light in today’s marketplace.

Lisa Rangel, Founder and Managing Director of Chamelon Resumes LLC (a Forbes Top 100 Career Website), is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Job Landing Consultant & 13-year Recruiter. Lisa is also a paid moderator for LinkedIn’s Premium Career Group, which has 1,300,000+ members. Chameleon Resumes reviews the goals of each client to ensure career documents serve their goals while meeting the needs of the prospective employers. She has been featured on Inc., CNN Business, Fast Company, Business Insider, Forbes, LinkedIn, CNBC, Time Money, BBC, Newsweek, Crain’s New York, Chicago Tribune, eFinancialCareers, CIO Magazine, Monster, US News & World Report, Good Morning America, Fox Business News, New York Post, and other reputable media outlets. Rangel has authored 16 career resources and has an active YouTube Channel with regular tips and advice.

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  • January 7, 2023