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Proven Tips for Writing a Resume Cover Letter That Works

– Posted in: Job Search Cover Letters

Standing out in a sea of applicants is usually difficult when applying for jobs. You are competing with countless other applicants, all doing everything possible to get an interview. With today’s tight job market, the details like a good resume cover letter can make all the difference in getting the interviews you really want and winning the opportunity to sell yourself in person.

Here are some proven tips for writing a winning cover letter that will get you on the radar of the companies you are most interested in:


In order to capture the attention of a decision maker you should tailor your resume cover letter to the specific job you are applying for and the company it is with.  Leave all the boilerplate language to your competition, too many HR professionals see that every day and justifiably ignore it. Instead, take the time to include the job title you are applying for, use the name of the company within the text, and discuss any relevant accomplishments you’ve achieved and how they relate to the position.


Too many cover letters crossing the desks of hiring managers come off as robotic and uninteresting.  If you truly want to separate yourself from your job-seeking competitors you need to personalize your resume cover letter and establish your own personality and uniqueness.  If you have one that is relevant, try telling a brief story about how you’ve followed the company or honed your career for this specific opportunity.  Do some research on the culture of the company you are applying to and use the resume cover letter to show how your personality will be a good fit for that culture. Any way in which you can paint a unique picture of yourself and differentiate yourself from the sea of other job hunters will aid you in getting to the next phase of the hiring process.

Name Drop

Nothing makes a cover letter jump off the page more than a reference to an insider germane to the hiring company or position you’re applying for.  It can be an employee of the company, an important customer, or just a well-known colleague. Such reference will get you noticed but be careful not to insinuate anything or do so dishonestly or in a heavy-handed manner.  Instead, briefly mention something like “Carol Smith from Accounting suggested I contact you”.  Doing so will help you to stand out without alienating the hiring manager or breaching protocol.

Keep it Short

Nothing spells doom for an aspiring job candidate more than a long, dense, unnecessarily wordy resume cover letter.  There is no need to recount all the details listed on your resume or oversell your skills before you get the opportunity in an interview.  Remember the purpose of the cover letter, to highlight a few key points to illustrate you are the candidate most able to help them solve their problems and meet their goals, and then to inspire the reader to pick up the phone and call you to schedule an interview.

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In summary, making your resume cover letter pertinent to the job you are applying for requires both customization and personalization. You can make yourself stand out even more by referencing known persons within the circle of the company you are applying with. In general, keep it brief and filled with the relevant accomplishments that highlight your strengths most in relation to the open job and you’ll enhance your chances of receiving the next call for an interview.

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About the author: Michelle Dumas is a multiply-certified, national-award-winning professional resume writer and career marketing expert widely recognized as pioneering thought-leader and trend-setter in the employment services industry. With 20 years of experience, Michelle has helped 10,000+ job seekers in all 50 U.S. states and across the world land rewarding jobs and build fulfilling careers.

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