May 22, 2018

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Employer Formula for Writing an Attention Grabbing Cover Letter

Hiring managers agree that good cover letters are very influential. Since the average professional position usually competes against many other applicants, you absolutely MUST grab the employer’s attention in your first opening sentence. Two typical openings fail miserably.

The worst culprit is, “I am writing to apply for the ad that I saw in Sunday’s paper.” This opening is used by most candidates, so when an employer is reviewing dozens of applicants they see these words so often their mind automatically just skims by it and everything else on the page.

Likewise, the second opening — “You’re a great company” — tells the employer something they already know.

Neither opening captures the employer’s attention. The Power Impact Technique begins with a strong opening which focuses on filling the employer’s needs. 96% of the hiring managers participating in our national survey, conducted for my book Winning Cover Letters selected The Power Impact Technique as their preferred letter writing style. Once you’ve learned this writing style, you’ll never spend hours slaving over a cover letter again.

“A poor opening paragraph is why many job hunters fail,” said CEO Robert Waldt. “It is usually a common, general sentence. You need to immediately establish something unique about the candidate. I like to see the particular reason — background or experience — that tells me why I should hire the person right at the beginning of the letter.”

The Power Impact Technique is basically a two-step process in which you:

  1. Analyze the job — both the noted and assumed needs — and determine the most important skills the employer is looking for.

  2. Immediately address how you will meet the employer’s needs.

    The Power Impact Technique™ begins your letter with a strong opening sentence emphasizing the major selling points and skills that you would bring to the job. It offers actions and results, the winning formula that really has employers taking notice. Look at the difference between the typical opening, “I’m applying for the ad in Sunday’s paper” and a couple of openings using The Power Impact Technique™ :

    • Ten years in senior management with proven expertise in international finance for a Fortune 100 company…

    • A proven track record in tax accounting….

    • Strong managed care management experience with proven expertise to improve customer service and contain costs….
  3. These openers are eye-catching, designed to get the employer to see what you can do. The secret lies in simply addressing their needs right up front. After all, these are the necessary skills and experience they are seeking.

    The body of your letter is used to demonstrate “proof” that you can perform the duties desired. To develop this “proof,” make an outline of the important points that the employer wants. Just underline the major items from the want ad or job opening announcement. Whenever possible, use your network to gather any inside information on what’s most important to that employer for that job. Always keep in mind this one thing:; What is it that they need me to do in this job to do it well? Then consider what you have done in your previous jobs that are transferable to the new position. It is this experience that you want to emphasize.

    The next step is to ask yourself, “What were the RESULTS of my efforts on previous jobs, projects, or tasks that I’ve undertaken?” There’s the key — to compose your letter, just highlight the duties and skills needed by referencing your abilities to perform them plus offer any known results from your past efforts as the proof that you CAN do the job.

    Hiring managers want concise letters. Keep the body of the letter short, not more than one page. Conclude your letter with the power phrase, “I would like to discuss in greater detail the valuable contributions I’d bring to your organization.” This shows you’re a team player who’s productive and focused on being an asset to the employer.

    Your cover letter must develop enough interest to get the employer to want to turn the page, look at your resume and say, “Let’s call this one in for an interview,” Implement this technique, and employers will start calling you.

    - Robin Ryan

    Source: Winning Cover Letters, 2nd Edition Book by Robin Ryan

    Robin Ryan has appeared on Oprah and Dr. Phil is considered America’s top career coach. Robin has a busy career counseling practice providing individual career coaching, resume writing services, interview preparation, salary negotiations, and outplacement, to clients nationwide. She is the best-selling author of: ” 60 Seconds & You’re Hired!“, ” Soaring On Your Strengths“, ” What to Do with the Rest of Your Life“, ” Winning Resumes” and, “Winning Cover Letters“. A dynamic national speaker, Robin has spoken to over 1200 audiences sharing her insights on how to improve their lives and obtain greater success. Contact Robin at: 425.226.0414, or email:, or visit her website:

    © Copyright 2012 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.

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