Key Tips for Drafting a Cover Letter that Gets Interviews

Many professionals find writing cover letters to be one of the most challenging parts of the job search process. Even if you have developed excellent writing skills throughout your career, drafting a compelling cover letter can still seem daunting.

Cover letters are difficult for some people because they can feel so formulaic, yet they must be tailored to every single company you apply to. Trying to pack so much information into a very short piece of writing can be intimidating to some. Others feel challenged because they simply don’t know what goes in a cover letter.

The good news is that all these problems have solutions. In this guide, you’ll learn expert tips for writing cover letters that get hiring managers interested in learning more about you as a candidate. With a bit of help, you’ll have a well-crafted cover letter in hand in no time.

Contents

Don’t Let the Challenge of Drafting a Cover Letter Hold You Back from Your Dream Job
Understand the Company’s Needs
Don’t Repeat Your Resume
Use a Strong Opening
Highlight Your Unique Value
Show Excitement
Be Careful With Your Tone
Don’t Draw It Out
Ask for Feedback
Send It by Any Means Necessary
Confidence Is the Key to Drafting a Cover Letter That Gets Results
Drafting a Cover Letter Is Hard — Let YES Make It Easy for You

Don’t Let the Challenge of Drafting a Cover Letter Hold You Back From Your Dream Job

You can partner with the copywriting experts at YES to create a complete application package that helps you land interviews at your target companies—in fact, they guarantee you will get interviewed. They have packages that include the following:

What You Should Expect From a Premier Service

Included With YES?

Resume

Cover Letter

LinkedIn Profile

Interview and Career Coaching

Whether you just need them to write for you or are looking for career advice, book a free Career Success Consultation to discover how YES can help you get moving in the right direction.

Understand the Company’s Needs

As a professional looking for a new job, you must remember that the hiring process is less about your getting the job of your dreams and more about how your unique experience, skill set, and personality traits can benefit your target company. This understanding must come across in your resume, cover letter, and other application materials. The language you use should be focused on what you will do for the employer.

To convey that message successfully, you’ll need to do some research to find out about the company’s mission and values and any special projects or initiatives they’re working on. Getting this information from a direct recruiter or someone currently working at the company would be ideal. If you can’t find anyone to help with this, checking the company’s website and doing a Google search for recent news releases is always a good idea.

Don’t Repeat Your Resume

Your resume conveys your past experience to the hiring manager, telling them what you’ve already done to prove your skills and expertise. Don’t simply repeat this information in your cover letter; instead, put a spotlight on your most relevant and impressive accomplishments. 

Then focus on what you plan to achieve for the new organization. What will you use your skills to accomplish once you’re on the team? What results do you intend to generate in the new job? If you’re unsure how to do this effectively, consider investing in cover letter and resume writing services so that an expert can help you connect your intentions for the new job to your past experience.

Use a Strong Opening

As you’ll see in a later tip, your cover letter is short and doesn’t give you much space for rambling. Every word counts; that’s why you need a strong opening that captures the hiring manager’s attention and makes them want to read more. 

Don’t ease into the letter by telling the reader what job you’re applying for or where you saw the position listed. Instead, reference what could go wrong if they choose the wrong person for the position. This unusual method will engage your reader emotionally and show how seriously you take your work. Or, if you had a memorable interaction with the hiring manager, mention it in the opening to help them remember you. 

You’ll want to keep the tone professional and respectful throughout your cover letter, but don’t be afraid to use direct language. The reader will thank you for not wasting their time.

Highlight Your Unique Value

When a company looks to hire a new employee, they do so because there’s a problem their leadership team wants to solve or a goal they need help achieving. A hiring manager only wants to know why you’re the person to help the team get there.

This is where the research you conducted in a previous step becomes highly valuable. Begin by conveying your knowledge of the company’s needs. Then, tell the hiring manager why your skills and personality make you uniquely suited for the job. If you’re unsure, talk to a resume consultant or coach to help you figure out what's distinctive about you. 

Be sure to share the good results you generated in projects you’ve completed, as business leaders want to hire people who have provided proven solutions to pressing issues.

Show Excitement and Confidence

With so many disengaged employees working in offices across the world, managers don’t want to hire another person with lukewarm feelings about their job or what they bring to it. Instead, they’re seeking someone who demonstrates a passion and excitement for what they do, because they know the chances are higher that that person will stick around longer.

Your resume, cover letter, and overall application should be abundantly clear that you are confident that your tenure will benefit the company in all the ways it most wants to benefit. Using the keywords in the job posting, show them that you’re the person they want and need.

Be Careful With Your Tone

It’s important to be authentic when drafting a cover letter, but you also want to ensure that your tone remains professional at all times and never implies that their organization would be in trouble without you. If you don’t, you’re taking a huge risk in believing your language will land exactly how you want it to.

You’ll want to avoid too much flattery, as that can come across as desperation, which can be a huge turn-off for hiring professionals. Instead, think about how someone at the company would address a customer, and try to stick to that tone throughout your letter.

Don’t Draw It Out

When you are drafting a cover letter, you could get lost in explanations about your experience, a gap in it, or why you want to work at the company. Don’t. Your letter should be no more than one page; keeping it around 300 words is even better.

As you write, put yourself in the Human Resources Department’s and hiring manager's shoes. They have a lot of resumes and cover letters to read, interviews to conduct, job fairs to set up for, and communications to follow up with. They don’t have time to get entangled in long cover letters. Respect their time by keeping your letter brief.

Ask for Feedback

You may not realize it, but you likely have a bias with regard to your own writing. You may either like it and think you write well or believe everything you put on paper is a disaster. For this reason, avoid evaluating your cover letter on your own, and make sure to ask for feedback from a colleague. If you don’t trust anyone enough to read your letter, invest in cover letter and resume writing services to get help from experts.

If you decide to go it alone, make sure to have the person giving you feedback tell you whether they can ascertain your main point and assess your language and tone. Getting this kind of guidance before you send your application will help you catch and correct problems so your cover letter doesn’t stop you from getting hired for your dream job.

Send It by Any Means Necessary

In some cases, electronic application systems don’t allow you to include a cover letter. In this case, you can attach it as the front page in your resume file. 

Drafting a cover letter is hard work, and you want to ensure someone sees your enthusiasm for the job. Other options would be to email your letter to the hiring manager as a follow-up to your application or send it on LinkedIn if you don’t have the email address. This can make your application stand out from those of the hundreds of others applying for the same job.

Confidence Is the Key to Drafting a Cover Letter That Gets Results

While they can be difficult to write, the good news is that there’s plenty of expert advice out there to help you figure out what goes in a cover letter. One of the most valuable things that a good cover letter and resume writing service can do for you is to give you an understanding of and confidence in what you bring to the table.

If you’re having trouble communicating your value on paper, you’re not alone. Many people have difficulty in showing recruiters and hiring managers how they can help their target organization achieve its strategic goals. 

Unfortunately, your target employer may see little reason to move forward with the hiring process if you can’t communicate the tangible benefits you can bring to the team. The good news, though, is that investing in cover letter and resume writing services can help you get the results you want.

Drafting a Cover Letter Is Hard — Let YES Make It Easy for You

The resume writing packages at YES offer so much more than just run-of-the-mill templates. A resume consultant will customize your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to impress hiring professionals for the type of job you are targeting. As a result, you can expect …

  • Less stress

  • More confidence

  • An interview guarantee

Book a free Career Success Consultation today to learn how a YES resume writing and cover letter package will enable you to start getting calls from recruiters and hiring managers in your industry—guaranteed.

About the Authors

Katherine Metres Akbar is the founder and president of YES Career Coaching & Resume Writing Services, one of Washington metro’s two top-rated career success companies. She and her team have helped over 5,000 people and organizations perfect their resumes, master networking, get interviews, receive offers for dream jobs, resettle employees through outplacement, and optimize their teams. Katherine is the world’s only Interview AikidoTM coach, a Certified Talent Optimization Consultant, Certified Professional Career Coach, and a Certified Professional Interview Coach. An award-winning writer, she previously served as a U.S. diplomat and executive director of a civil rights non-profit. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University.

Michael Akbar is the co-owner and vice president of YES Career Coaching & Resume Writing Services. He is a Certified Professional Career Coach, Certified Federal Career Coach, Certified Business Advisor, and Certified Talent Optimization Consultant helping leaders build their dream teams. Michael leverages his business development background to help coachees get their dream job, often on the hidden job market. Michael has  spent 15 years as an entrepreneur coaching business owners to break through their barriers to success. After talking his way into two jobs in order to get a work visa, Michael was inspired to create Interview AikidoTM to help people get jobs, even when they are underqualified. He holds a Bachelor of Science from McGill University and a Master of Science from the City University of London.

The home team is completed by Farah Akbar, a joyful, stubborn, and—some say—adorable terrier/pitbull mix the Akbars adopted from the shelter after a traumatic early life.


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