Between the sheets: “Dirty little secrets of cover letters revealed”

When it comes to cover letters no one seems willing to discuss what it takes to write a good one or much less a passable one, everyone just seems to think you’ll somehow “know” what to write and how to write it without a script or guidelines. Not surprisingly the results are cover letters so vague they end up saying little of anything or too personal they say way too much!

Let’s start with the basics

Resumes are like movie credits (where the movie was shot, who was involved, songs used etc.) while cover letters are the movie trailer or teaser (filled with drama and excitement that’ll draw a potential audience)

The teaser also makes it known immediately what kind of movie you’ll be watching. You wouldn’t expect lots of explosions in a romantic comedy now would you? So, you’ve gotta make sure that what you write fits with the reader’s expectations and is conveyed quickly.

You ever wonder why Hollywood keeps recycling blockbusters? Well, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! The same goes for cover letters. Don’t go too far outside the box and stay within the parameters of what the employer expects.

Why resume copycats get more interviews

What do you include in your cover letter?

Identify the Needs

Go through the job posting and highlight the things you’d consider to be the employers “needs,” these are what you must have to do the job.

Examples could be:

Driver’s License

CPR/First Aid

College Diploma

Identify the Wants

These are the “sexy extras.” They’re the additional skills or qualifications that’ll put your resume ahead of someone who’s only addressed the “needs.”

Examples could be:

Specific training in software or equipment

Experience leading a team

Knowledge in certain protocols

Now that you’ve identified the employer’s “wants” and “needs” you must tailor your cover letter to include this information. If you really want to grab their attention you should try to quantify the information with facts, figures and accomplishment statements.

How to develop Accomplishment Statements

Examples could be:

Knowledge of special protocols helped increased productivity by 40%

Led teams of 20 product developers in integrating new software program

Now don’t make your cover letter a snooze fest but the next sexy summer blockbuster everyone’s talking about! 

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