How to write a cover letter people will actually read

Taking the time to write a memorable, well thought-out cover letter optimized to the position and organization you are applying for can make a real difference in a close race with another applicant, yet to many people treat cover letters like a pro-forma, bland form letter. Don’t restate your resume, since if the hiring manager is interested at all they will read it anyway, and don’t use cliche generalities like “I’m a hard worker” that they’ve heard from every other applicant. Instead, research the company and he job and then lay out what specific things you can bring to both.

Reflect on these key points:

  • 1Don’t consider your cover letter a non-essential component of your application and never use a form letter.
  • 2Your cover letter is not a place to rehash the facts that are already detailed in your resume.
  • 3Don’t resort to cliches like ‘being a team player or a hard worker.” Instead, know what a company is looking for and specify how you can deliver that.

“The cover letter is your chance — most likely your only one — to stand out from many other candidates who have similar résumés.”

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