Write an Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter— Tips From a Hiring Manager

Your cover letter will almost certainly impact whether or not you get an interview, and those final sentences are a crucial part of your overall first impression. To be a good contender for the position you want, you need an impactful, compelling cover letter that grabs your hiring manager’s attention.

Here’s what you need to know:

What Should Be in a Cover Letter?

The #1 mistake most people make in creating an effective cover letter is trying to “reinvent the wheel” and including information that is not in their resume. A good cover letter is a complement to your resume and should be written specifically for the position you are applying for.

The main purpose of your cover letter is to highlight your relevant skills and accomplishments and show how they align with the job requirements.

The last paragraph is your chance to close on a positive, professional note to indicate how you can help the company succeed and express your genuine interest in the position.

How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter

Some hiring managers have read literally hundreds of cover letters in their careers — they’ve seen the good, the bad, and the boring dozens of times. So how can you stand out?

You want to demonstrate that you are professional, qualified, and competent, but you don’t want to be bland — you want to be memorable. Here’s how to leave the right impression in your final sentence as well as your entire cover letter:

Show passion and enthusiasm. Many people think that in order to sound professional they have to strip all the emotion and personality from their cover letter. While it is wise to avoid overly casual language, you can be both professional and enthusiastic. In fact, showing your drive and interest signals to hiring managers that you’ll be a dedicated and hardworking addition to the team.

Tell them specifically how you can contribute to the company’s success. This shows that you have done your research on the company, you have a solid understanding of the position you are applying for, and you have the necessary experience and accomplishments to do an excellent job. Try to be as specific as you can about your own skills and contribution without making ungrounded assumptions about the position itself or the company’s goals.

Be yourself. Personal stories are memorable. Did your grandmother inspire you to pursue the work you’re currently interested in? Did you overcome a serious hurdle to gain the skills and experience you have today? Do you have a unique philosophy or approach that has allowed you to succeed in the past? If it’s relevant to the position, mention it!

Leave out unnecessary information. A good cover letter should be concise. Everything you write should help convey why you are a good fit for the position. You have good reason to be proud of all your past accomplishments, but if you can’t easily and clearly relate an experience or skill set to the position you’re applying for, it’s better not to include it in your cover letter.

How to Sign Off Your Cover Letter

To recap, your last sentence or two should demonstrate how you hope to use your relevant skills and accomplishments to help the company succeed. Ideally, your writing should convey genuine passion for the job, company, and/or industry.

Once you are happy with the body of your letter, it’s time to sign off with a professional, polite, and respectful closing. In most situations, it’s best to avoid overly casual, email-style phrases, like “cheers,” and stick to something a little more formal, such as:

  • Sincerely
  • Respectfully
  • Thank you
  • Regards

Get Help from a Professional Resume and Cover Letter Coach

Rush Recruiting and HR offers professional career consulting services to help job seekers demonstrate their individual value, strengths, and accomplishments to potential employers. Together, we will create a stand-out resume and cover letter combination to help you present your best self and land the job you want.

Learn more about our career consulting services here or call us at (503) 481-1285 to get started.

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