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7 Experts Offer Their No. 1 Cover Letter Tip

The cover letter is a crucial lead-in to your resume that allows you to communicate directly with the employer about your skills and background. But some cover letters fall flat, and we have our theories why (which you can read about in our blog posts and in our Learning Center).

But this time, we looked beyond our in-house knowledge and queried authors of other career- and job search-related blogs that we read regularly. We asked them:

If you could offer job seekers just one cover letter tip,
 what would it be?

And here are their responses:

“Make sure the letter is targeted and specific. You can't just say ‘I'd be a great team member.’ You have to let the hiring manager know what specific skills you have that would make you a great marketing manager or office assistant.”

Anita Bruzzese
45 Things
Syndicated Columnist, "On The Job"
Author, Take This Job and Thrive

“Make it easy for the screener to quickly see why you are perfect for the job.  A screener only has a few seconds to look through each cover letter and resume and make the all-important decision. Your job is to grab their attention by tailoring your letter to their specific needs.”

Ronnie Ann
Blogger, Work Coach Café
Organizational Consultant and Workplace Coach

"Write a cover letter that helps me mentally place you in the job before I even review your qualifications."

Tim Tyrell-Smith
Blogger, Spin Strategy™ - Tools for Intelligent Job Search

"The whole point of a cover letter is to get the recipient to read your resume…. To achieve its goal, [the cover letter's] message needs to hint how your resume will prove your ability to go above and beyond the needs described in the job listing you're responding to. If you let people hear the sizzle, they'll come looking for the meat."

Jacob Share
Blogger, JobMob
Job Search Expert and Professional Blogging Consultant

"Always make your cover letter specific to the job being applied for. What a perfect place to describe a solution to a problem that - through research - you've found that the target company is having. (It doesn't matter if your solution is not workable or even executable ... the important thing is that you tried to offer up a business solution to a problem you discovered.)"

G.L. Hoffmann
Blogger, What Would Dad Say
Columnist, USNews.com
Author, Dig Your Job, The Not-So-Serious Career Handbook

“Make the letter more about them than about you. … Employers do not care about you and your needs.  They’re more concerned about themselves and their needs! That’s why a really good way to get an employer’s attention is to show that you understand the employer’s problems and priorities and you have some ideas about how you could help address them.”

Karen Burns
Blogger, WorkingGirl
Author, The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl:
Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use

"Be sure to edit and proofread your cover letter very carefully. Check your grammar, punctuation, and spelling thoroughly. This includes the spelling of the name of the person to whom the letter is addressed and the spelling of the company name."

Connie Komack
Blogger, LifeWork Enterprises
Developer/Author, Designing Your Life Program and Workbook

Did you find these tips valuable? Do you have a different viewpoint? Let us know in a comment.

RELATED LINKS
Reports of the Cover Letter’s Demise are 86% Wrong
Straight Talk about Writing Cover Letters
Good vs. Bad: Make the Best of Your Cover Letter
How to Email Your Cover Letter the Right Way

 

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