Writing Cover Letters That Get Results

A cover letter should accompany each resume you email, snail mail, fax, or use when applying online. The cover letter allows you to highlight and amplify some of the information in your resume, address the employer’s specific needs and interests, and suggest areas where your skills match the organization’s needs.

Tailor your cover letter for each job that you apply to. It should be no more than one page and business-like in appearance. Whenever feasible, address the letter to a specific person, preferably the person likely to make the employment decision.

The cover letter is as important as the resume because it is the first thing the employer sees. An excellent cover letter can set you apart from others applying for the same position. To save time and produce the best possible cover letter, here you will find a successful cover letter structure and a cover letter example, which has all the components for an effective cover letter. Another resource for saving time writing is great cover letter is William Frank’s book, 200 Letters for Job Hunters. Here, you will find many good examples of letters, including cover letters for responding to online postings, letters for getting help from others, and examples of thank-you letters. One of the unique examples from his book shows a tailored response for a Senior Management position. This resource will provide you with all the cover letter formats you will most likely need. It will also help you use phrases and formats successfully used in producing job interviews.

Another resource that can assist you in crafting a cover letter is ChatGPT. It’s an AI-powered tool that can help you generate a draft of your cover letter based on the information you provide. This can be a useful starting point for your cover letter, which you can then personalize and refine.

Two other types of cover letters will help you find jobs in the “unadvertised” or “hidden” job market:

Personal Contact Cover Letter

Direct Employer Cover Letter

Here Are Overall Strategies For Writing Cover Letters That Get Results

1. Individualize each letter.

Create your basic format in a Word document, then personalize it for each employer. This personalization is crucial as it shows your specific interest in the job and organization, making the employer feel that you value their company and the role you’re applying for.

By setting up an account at Glassdoor.com, you can learn about the pros and cons of working at an organization.

Here is an example:

I am writing to express my enthusiasm for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name], as advertised on Indeed.com. With a solid background in [Your Field], I am particularly drawn to your company’s innovative approach and commitment to [specific aspect of the industry or values of the company] that I have read about on Glassdoor.com.

2. Address each employer by name and title.

3. Devote the center of your letter to brief facts about your experience and accomplishments that will arouse the employer’s curiosity.

This is where parts of your Strengths Summary can be used. Here is an example:

In my recent position as [Your Previous Job Title] at [Previous Company], I led a cross-functional team in implementing [specific project or initiative], resulting in a [percentage] increase in efficiency and a [monetary value] reduction in costs. This experience honed my ability to navigate complex challenges and deliver tangible, bottom-line results.

Furthermore, my proficiency in [relevant technology or skill] has been instrumental in optimizing processes at [Previous Company], contributing to a [percentage] improvement in overall productivity. These accomplishments are highlighted further in my enclosed resume, which includes detailed examples of my ability to drive innovation and achieve measurable outcomes.

You can also choose to put this information into bullet points for easier reading by the employer. Here is an example:

In my recent position as [Your Previous Job Title] at [Previous Company], I led a cross-functional team in implementing [specific project or initiative], resulting in a [percentage] increase in efficiency and a [monetary value] reduction in costs. This experience honed my ability to navigate complex challenges and deliver tangible, bottom-line results. Notable achievements include:

  • Spearheaded a [specific project] that led to a [percentage] increase in team efficiency.
  • Implemented cost-saving measures resulting in a [monetary value] reduction in operational expenses.

4. Appeal in your letter to the self-interest of the person you are writing to.

Include statements that indicate that hiring you will lead to higher production, greater efficiency, reduced waste, better sales, higher profits, etc. You want to show how you can help solve the employer’s problems. Here is an example:

I am eager to bring this track record of success to [Company Name] and contribute to overcoming any operational challenges you may be experiencing. By leveraging my skills in [Your Field], I am confident in my ability to enhance your organization’s productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

5. If possible, include some challenging thoughts that will make the employer feel that a discussion with you would be worthwhile.

Here is an example:

Furthermore, in researching your company, I couldn’t help but notice [specific aspect of the company or industry] where I have a proven track record of making substantial contributions. My background in [Your Field] positions me as a candidate who can bring fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to your team, potentially elevating [Company Name] to new heights.

6. Include quantified accomplishments to show the employer the results you can produce.

Ultimately, the only thing that employers are interested in is the results you can achieve. Use numbers, dollars, and percentages to show your accomplishments. Here are two examples:

In my previous role as [Your Previous Job Title] at [Previous Company], I spearheaded a strategic initiative that resulted in a 20% increase in production output, translating to a $500,000 boost in annual revenue. This accomplishment showcased my ability to drive efficiency and directly impacted the company’s bottom line.

Furthermore, my role involved optimizing supply chain processes, which resulted in a 15% reduction in operational costs and annual savings of $200,000. This demonstrated my proficiency in identifying cost-saving opportunities and implementing practical solutions.

7. Ask directly for an interview and indicate that you will call to arrange a suitable time.

Without being pompous, make them feel that declining your request would be irresponsible simply because you have so much to offer! Here is an example:

I believe that discussing how my background can benefit your team would be mutually beneficial. Therefore, I am requesting the opportunity for a formal interview. I will follow up with a phone call next week to arrange a suitable time for this conversation.

8. Keep your letter short to hold interest.

Typically, your cover letter should only be one page in length.

9. If you are sending your cover letter and resume by snail mail, use a professional business format for your cover letter.

10. As described above, end with a call to action indicating you will follow up with a phone call.

You can use two follow-up questions when you call: One, “Did you receive my cover letter and resume? And two, “Can we schedule a time to meet?

12. Finally, get someone to proofread your cover letters.

Avoid misspellings, typos, and grammatical errors. You can also use the online tool Grammarly to catch mistakes.

Next Step

After producing a cover letter for advertised jobs, developing a Personal Contact Cover Letter will help you find jobs in the “unadvertised” or “hidden” job market where most of the best jobs are located.