Share this article:
Bookmark and Share

Write a Great Cover Letter

Hiring managers agree-good cover letters are very influential. Often forgotten about when applying online, taking time to craft a good cover letter is a very good job hunting strategy to employ. What makes up a great letter is to have contact information-name, address, phone and home email as your top letterhead.

CEO Robert Waldt reiterates the importance of opening strongly, advising "A poor opening paragraph is why many job hunters fail. It is usually a common, general sentence noting they are responding to the ad or web listing. What is more effective is to immediately establish something unique about yourself. I like to see the particular reason-background or experience-that tells me why I should hire the person up front at the start of the letter."

Additionally, you must analyze the position and the skills needed to accomplish the job. "Applicants who do not address the qualifications or other information requested in the advertisement make a huge mistake," warns Kelly Bachman, Finance Manager for a large agricultural company. "Address each specific qualification and state the experience and skills you bring to perform that task or function. The bottom line is you must show HOW you are qualified, and if you truly are not, save your time and effort and don't apply," she said.

You can jump ahead of the pack by demonstrating your superior communication skills and write an attention-getting cover letter that begins with a strong opening such as, ten years of proven experience. Then, highlight all the needed criteria and your important accomplishments. If you plan to use it electronically in an email or online application, write your letter offline and make corrections, edit, SPELLCHECK, PROOFREAD, then copy and paste the letter online and send it in.

It is a bit more trouble creating a customized cover letter, but targeting each employer's specific needs will result in a stronger application and yield more job interviews. You'll easily send off better cover letters using Robin's Cover Letter book and computer templates that includes numerous samples in many fields or for almost any circumstances you might find, when you use her Creating Resumes & Cover Letters that Sell package.

-Robin Ryan

© Copyright 2003 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.

America's most popular career counselor, Robin Ryan, is the author of four bestselling books: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!, Winning Resumés, Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's appeared on over a thousand TV & radio shows including Oprah, Dr. Phil, and has been published in most major newspapers and magazines. Contact her at 425.226.0414; email: