Writing a Unique Cover Letter

by Wheatman, Debra Thursday, March 01, 2012
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One reason so many job seekers hate writing cover letters is because they find it difficult to write something unique. There is a lot of pressure to write that one-in-a-million killer cover letter, especially in a crowded job market. So, how do you write something original and captivating?

Write a hook in the opening paragraph.
¡Start your letter with a startling fact or industry trend.
¡Congratulate the company or department for an honor or achievement.
¡Recognize the company for a recent expansion or new product.
¡Start with a testimonial from a client or partner.
¡If an external person referred you, mention that personfs name.

Include concrete examples of your accomplishments that are relevant to the opportunity.
¡Provide four to five examples from your recent history.
¡Share accomplishments that demonstrate how you solve problems and produce results.
¡Include measured results and the scope of the initiative. If possible, show actual figures rather than rounded estimates. (27% instead of 25%)

Personalize the closing paragraph.
¡Communicate why you would be of value to the company.
¡Express your interest in the company, using the companyfs name.
¡Indicate that you are going to make a follow-up call, and then do so.
¡Thank the reader for their time and consideration.

The secret is not a witty joke or a philosophical mind-bender to show your intelligence. The secret is to research the company and personalize the letter based on your knowledge of the company, then to connect that with your experience.