5 Cover Letter Facts You Need to Know

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You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information, check out our privacy policy. Written by Caroline Forsey. But if you had to flip through a hundred cover letters a day, and each one began, "To whom it may concern, I am applying for the digital marketing position at your company," how important would you rank them?

A cover letter might not always be the most important thing to a hiring manager, but if your resume or connections aren't enough to get you through the door, a powerful cover letter could be the what gets you an interview. For instance, a hiring manager might only read your cover letter if your resume raised questions about why you're applying for the position, or why you're leaving your current role. In these cases, your cover letter can be a crucial factor in whether or not you move forward in the hiring process.

How to: Write a cover letter

Your cover letter is an opportunity to showcase your personality, display your interest in the job, and include relevant information that otherwise wouldn't be surfaced in your application. But there's a fine line between standing out and coming across as brash or gimmicky. An ideal cover letter leaves the hiring manager with a positive and memorable impression of you, something a resume alone won't always do. So, where do you begin when writing a cover letter?

More specifically, where should your beginning begin? Recruiters read a ton of cover letters -- especially if the company is growing quickly and hiring non-stop.


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  2. 1. Tell Them Why, Specifically, You’re Interested in the Company!
  3. An experienced hiring manager explains what makes her eyes glaze over and what grabs her attention.!
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  5. What does this mean for you? You need to get their attention right away. To help you overcome writer's block, and hook your reader right away, take a look at some sharp opening sentences you can use for inspiration. Read on to find out eight ways to grab an employer's attention with an exceptional cover letter introduction. Employers are humans too, and they'll often appreciate a good joke, pun, or funny opening line as much as the next person.

    If done tastefully and respectfully, starting your cover letter off with a joke can be an excellent way to stand out. Plus, a joke can still include a powerful explanation for why you're the right person for the job, without coming off as boastful. For instance, think about something you love to do or something you're really good at, and then imagine how friends or family might make a joke about it -- if you're really good at analyzing data, for example, a joke or pun related to that might be a good way to exemplify both your skills and personality.

    Right away, the personality displayed here grabs the reader's attention. Even better, this applicant uses humor to convey an important message to the employer -- she loves shopping, and she's well-versed in ecommerce as a consumer -- which might've otherwise not come up on her resume or phone screening. For an employer to know you'll stay dedicated to the role and company, they'll want to ensure you're passionate about what the job entails.

    Passion is more incentivizing than a paycheck. For an employer, demonstrating how your passion matches the required skillset is a promising sign that you'd enjoy your job -- if you enjoy your job, you're more likely to stick around longer, help drive company growth, and become a dedicated member of the team.

    Consider starting your cover letter with a few lines that showcase your passion: "I've been passionate about writing since I was ten years old. My love for writing has led me to write two personal travel blogs, get published in a local newspaper, and pursue two summer internships at publishing firms.

    1. Don't restate your entire resume

    Now, I'd love the opportunity to combine my writing skills with my interest in storytelling as a content marketer at Company A. If you don't have extensive work experience in the industry you're trying to break into, but you've been unofficially preparing for years, let the employer know. In the above example, the candidate's resume would probably look weak, with only internships indicating professional experience. Her cover letter introduction, however, shows the employer she's been writing for audiences and advancing her natural ability for years.

    Employers like seeing numbers. It isn't enough to mention you're a "digital marketer with proven success in SEO strategies. Okay, can we see? It's more powerful to provide statistics. You want to show the employer you're capable of solving for long-term results. How have you contributed to your company's bottom line?

    For instance, did your Facebook marketing campaign grow your social media following, or has your blog content increased organic traffic? Even if you don't have the work experience to report impressive numbers, you can still offer proof when opening with an accomplishment. Think about the qualitative feedback you've received from employers. For instance, how would your boss compliment you or tell you you're doing a good job? An accomplishment can be as simple as your boss sending you an appreciative email regarding your diligent meeting notes. In this example from The Muse , the applicant provides an example of a skill for which he's been previously acknowledged: "My last boss once told me that my phone manner could probably diffuse an international hostage situation.

    I've always had a knack for communicating with people -- the easygoing and the difficult alike -- and I'd love to bring that skill to the office manager position at Shutterstock. Even though the applicant doesn't offer numbers as proof of success, they do manage to highlight some proof of their past performance in the form of a former boss's praise.

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    The candidate's candid and funny explanation -- that his last boss liked his phone manners -- is another good way to brag about accomplishments without, well, bragging. Employers want to know why you like their company, and they'll appreciate an explanation on why you're interested. But it's imperative your reasoning is thoughtful and considerate, and specific to the company. For instance, if you're applying for a financial position, don't write about your interest in finance; write about how your interest in finance relates to the company's goals.

    You don't want to just say, "I'm excited to work at Company A because I'm passionate about finance, and I think my skills and experiences will be a good match. Instead, you'll want to mention something about the company and culture in correlation to your interest in finance. I've been waiting to find a company where I feel like I can make a difference while working as an accountant. Not only are your clients awesome, but the overall mission of your company is something I believe in, too.

    Strong cover letters portray a mix of your character, enthusiasm for the role, and unique background that qualifies you for this job above all others. While you want to stand out, some candidates take the opportunity for self-expression a little too far. You saved your clients money by implementing a new cost saving system?

    In order to truly make his cover letter stand out, the applicant should not only say how he is an asset but actually provide data that proves this. This is not a bad practice. However, far too often I see cover letters where the only thing that has been swapped out is the company name. Even for job roles that are similar, the companies have different cultures and different ideals and traits that they value. While it may be tempting to copy and paste the job title and company name into your letter and send it off, no job is the same and neither will each cover letter. Doing a little extra research to find the name of the hiring manager can make a difference in the cover letter as well as tailoring your previous work achievements to that of the job description.

    This helps you create a better structure for the cover letter-talk about the business, you, and then circle back to the business plus you.

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    10 Impressive Ways to Start a Cover Letter [+ Examples]

    Her cover letter told me most of all that she was someone who liked to talk a lot, and worse, she thought she had a lot to say. Whether on a cover letter or on a resume. Keep everything short clean and to the point. There are too many sources today to not find out. Not addressing how and why you are qualified for the actual job that is being hired for is another major mistake.