Attn On Cover Letter

Traditional cover letter wisdom tells you to start a cover letter with something to the effect of:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to apply for the position of Marketing Manager with the Thomas Company.

We say: The days of cookie cutter cover letter intros are long gone.

Here’s the thing: Your cover letter is the best way to introduce to the hiring manager who you are, what you have to offer, and why you want the job—but you have an extremely limited amount of time to do all of those things. So, if you really want to get noticed, you’ve got to start right off the bat with something that grabs your reader’s attention.

What do we mean? Well, we won’t just tell you, we’ll show you—with 31 examples of original cover letter introductions. We don’t recommend copying and pasting them because, well, your cover letter should be unique to your stories, background, and interests, but you can most definitely use them to get inspired for your next application.

Don't worry—we've got you covered.

Career Coach to the rescue!

Start With a Passion

Many companies say that they’re looking for people who not only have the skills to do the job, but who are truly passionate about what they’re spending their time on every day. If that’s what your dream company is really looking for (hint: read the job description), try an intro that shows off why you’re so excited to be part of the team.

  1. If truly loving data is wrong, I don’t want to be right. It seems like the rest of the team at Chartbeat feels the same way—and that’s just one of the reasons why I think I’d be the perfect next hire for your sales team.
  2. I’ve been giving my friends and family free style advice since I was 10, and recently decided it’s time I get paid for it. That’s why I couldn’t believe it when I found a personal stylist position at J. Hilburn.

  3. After about three years of trying out different roles at early-stage startups around San Francisco, watching more “find your passion” keynotes than I’d like to admit, and assuring my parents that, yes, I really do have a real job, I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I’m only really good at two things: writing great content and getting it out into the world.

  4. When I was growing up, all I wanted to be was one of those people who pretend to be statues on the street. Thankfully, my career goals have become a little more aspirational over the years, but I love to draw a crowd and entertain the masses—passions that make me the perfect community manager.

  5. When I graduated from Ohio State last May, my career counselor gave me what I consider to be some pretty bad advice: “Just get any job, and figure the rest out later.” While I think I could have gained good transferrable skills and on-the-job experience anywhere, I wanted to make sure my first step gave me opportunities for professional development, mentorship, and rotations through different departments. Enter: Verizon.

  6. The other day, I took a career assessment, which told me I should be a maritime merchant. I’m not quite sure what that is, but it did get me thinking: A role that combines my skills in business development with my lifelong passion for the ocean would be my absolute dream. Which is how I found this role at Royal Caribbean.

Start With Your Love for the Company

Similarly, many companies want to hire people who already know, love, eat, and sleep their brand. And in these cases, what better to kick off your cover letter than a little flattery? Bonus points if you can tell a story—studies show that stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.

Of course, remember when you’re telling a company why you love it to be specific and genuine. Because, um, no one likes an overly crazed fangirl.

  1. I pretty much spent my childhood in the cheap seats at Cubs games, snacking on popcorn and cheering on the team with my grandfather. It’s that passion that’s shaped my career—from helping to establish the sports marketing major at my university to leading a college baseball team to an undefeated season as assistant coach—and what led me to apply for this position at the Chicago Cubs.
  2. Most candidates are drawn to startups for the free food, bean bag chairs, and loose dress code. And while all of those things sound awesome coming from my all-too-corporate cubicle, what really attracted me to Factual is the collaborative, international team.

  3. It was Rudy, my Golden Retriever, who first found the operations assistant opening (he’s really excited about the prospect of coming to work with me every day). But as I learned more about Zoosk and what it is doing to transform the mobile dating space, I couldn’t help but get excited to be part of the team, too.

  4. When I was seven, I wanted to be the GEICO gecko when I grew up. I eventually realized that wasn’t an option, but you can imagine my excitement when I came across the events manager position, which would have me working side by side with my favorite company mascot.

  5. When I attended Austin Film Festival for the first time last month, I didn’t want to leave. So I decided I shouldn’t—and immediately went to check out job openings at the company.

  6. If I could make the NYC apartment rental process better for just one person, I would feel like the horrors of my recent search would all be worth it. So, a customer service role at RentHop, where I could do it every day? I can’t think of anything more fulfilling.

  7. Having grown up with the Cincinnati Zoo (literally) in my backyard, I understand firsthand how you’ve earned your reputation as one of the most family-friendly venues in the State of Ohio. For 20 years, I’ve been impressed as your customer; now I want to impress visitors in the same way your team has so graciously done for me. (Via @JobJenny)

  8. I was an hour out from my first big dinner party when I realized I had forgotten to pick up the white wine. In a panic, I started Googling grocery delivery services, and that’s when I first stumbled across Instacart. I’ve been hooked ever since, so I couldn’t help but get excited by the idea of bringing the amazingness of Instacart to shoddy planners like me as your next social media and community manager.

  9. Though I’m happily employed as a marketing manager for OHC, seeing the job description for Warby Parker’s PR director stopped me in my tracks. I’ve been a Warby glasses wearer for many years, and have always been impressed by the way the company treats its customers, employees, and the community at large.

Start With an Attribute or Accomplishment

The unfortunate reality of the job hunting process is that, for any given job, you’re going to be competing with a lot of other people—presumably, a lot of other similarly qualified people. So, a great way to stand out in your cover letter is to highlight something about yourself—a character trait, an accomplishment, a really impressive skill—that’ll quickly show how you stand out among other applications.

  1. My last boss once told me that my phone manner could probably diffuse an international hostage situation. I’ve always had a knack for communicating with people—the easygoing and the difficult alike—and I’d love to bring that skill to the office manager position at Shutterstock.
  2. Among my colleagues, I’m known as the one who can pick up the pieces, no matter what amount of you-know-what hits the fan. Which is why I think there’s no one better to fill Birchbox’s customer service leader position.

  3. Last December, I ousted our company’s top salesperson from his spot—and he hasn’t seen it since. Which means, I’m ready for my next big challenge, and the sales manager role at LivingSocial just might be it.

  4. After spending three years managing the internal communications for a 2,000-person company, I could plan a quarterly town hall or draft an inter-office memo in my sleep. What I want to do next? Put that experience to work consulting executives on their communications strategy.

  5. While you won’t find the title “community manager” listed on my resume, I’ve actually been bringing people together online and off for three years while running my own blog and series of Meetups.

  6. If you’re looking for someone who can follow orders to the T and doesn’t like to rock the boat, I’m probably not the right candidate. But if you need someone who can dig in to data, see what’s working (and what’s not), and challenge the status quo, let’s talk.

  7. Ever since my first job at Dairy Queen (yes, they DO let you eat the ice cream!) I’ve been career-focused. I completed my first internship with a professional football team while I was still in college. I was hired full-time as soon as I graduated, and within six months I was promoted into a brand new department. I thought I knew it all. But as I’ve progressed in my career, I finally realized…I absolutely do not. Shocker, right? Enter The Muse. (Via @Kararuns729).

  8. You might be wondering what a 15-year veteran of the accounting world is doing applying to an operations role at a food startup like ZeroCater. While I agree the shift is a little strange, I know you’re looking for someone who’s equal parts foodie and financial guru, and I think that means I’m your guy.

  9. Over the last 10 years, I’ve built my career on one simple principle: Work smarter. I’m the person who looks for inefficient procedures, finds ways to streamline them, and consistently strives to boost the productivity of everyone around me. It’s what’s earned me three promotions in the supply chain department at my current company, and it’s what I know I can do as the new operations analyst for SevOne.

Start With Humor or Creativity

OK, before you read any of these, we feel we have to stamp them with a big disclaimer: Do your homework before trying anything like this—learning everything you can about the company, the hiring manager, and whether or not they’ll appreciate some sass or snark. If they do, it’s a great way to make them smile (then call you). If they don’t? Well, better luck next time.

  1. I’m interested in the freelance writer position. But before I blow you away with all the reasons I’m going to be your next writer, I would like to tell you a little about myself: I didn’t grow hair until I was about five years old, which made everyone who crossed my stroller’s path believe me to be a boy (my name is Casey, which definitely didn’t help). Hope I got your attention. (Via @CaseCav)
  2. Have you ever had your mom call five times a day asking for a status update on how your job search is going, and then sounding incredulous that not more progress has been made since the last phone call? That’s my life right now. But I’m hoping that soon my life will revolve around being your full-time social media manager. The good news is, I bring more to the table than just an overbearing mom. Let me tell you more.

  3. Thank you so much for offering me the marketing manager position at Airbnb! I wholeheartedly accept. OK, I know we’re not quite there yet. But if we were, here are just a few ideas of what I would do once in the role.

  4. You’ve slept on it. You’ve made lists of pros and cons. You’ve talked to your life coach, your hairdresser, and every barista on your block. So why haven’t you made your decision yet? When you’re looking for advice, what you need is not more, but better. If you’re constantly plagued with tough career decisions and presentation-day butterflies, you need an advocate, a listener, and sometimes, a kick in the pants. You need Rachel Elizabeth Maley. (Via @RE_Maley)

  5. I considered submitting my latest credit card statement as proof of just how much I love online shopping, but I thought a safer approach might be writing this cover letter, describing all the reasons why I’m the girl who can take STYLIGHT’s business to the next level.

  6. I never thought that accidentally dropping my iPhone out of a second story window would change my life (it’s a funny story—ask me about it). But thanks to my misfortune, I discovered iCracked—and found my dream job as an expansion associate.

  7. If we were playing “Two Truths and a Lie,” I’d say the following: I’ve exceeded my sales quotas by at least 20% every quarter this year, I once won an international pie-eating contest, and I have an amazing job at Yext. The last, of course, is the lie. For now.



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By Debbie Fledderjohann

17 Tips to Write a Cover Letter that Will Get You Noticed!

Below is a list of 17 Tips to create a perfect cover letter to get an interview.

Tip 1: Get into the Right Mindset – What is the Purpose of a Cover Letter?

It’s not just a structure you need to follow, like an “ABC” formula—it’s a mindset you need to get into, and I’m going to help you get into that mindset and show you how to put everything together. When we’re done today, you’re going to be able to write a great cover letter, comfortably and confidently.

On the surface, cover letters seem simple. But once you actually get into writing one, you start to understand that it’s deceptive. Your cover letter does need to be simple and quick, but when you really start to think about how this is probably your very first introduction to whoever it is that needs to give you a chance at a job, and it’s vitally important that you impress them—that you make them want to read your resume, and then call you for an interview—that’s when it starts to twist you up a little. And if it isn’t twisting you up at least a little bit, and then you just don’t understand how important this little introduction is.

Tip 2: Sell, Sell, Sell Yourself to a Hiring Manager, Recruiter or Human Resources

Let’s start off by setting up the playing field here. Overall, your job search is a sales process. You, the candidate, are the product you’re trying to sell to the hiring manager. You want him to buy your product, which means to hire you. In this analogy, the resume is your marketing brochure that tells the buyer about the product. So what’s the cover letter? It’s your “commercial” or your initial ad that’s going to get the attention of the buyer and make him want to read the marketing brochure. Your cover letter is a “teaser” for your resume. It’s the sign that says “look here!” It’s supposed to be brief but also grab attention and puts your resume in context. It’s the first impression of you for this person, and first impressions last. It demonstrates your professionalism, your personality, and your communication skills, right off the bat.

Tip 3: Don’t Make Your Cover Letter Generic… Target the Position You Are Applying For

The most common mistakes job seekers make when they write cover letters is that they make them too generic, they make them too long, and they put no effort into making them easy to read. Maybe they even go find a basic cover letter template online and just change out the names of the job title and company. The result is a letter that doesn’t make the reader want to dig a little deeper and read your resume, and doesn’t show good communication skills on your part. All that goes against everything I just told you is the goal of a good cover letter. So, you want to make sure that each cover letter you write is targeted to that job, at that company, to that hiring manager; that it gets your point across quickly; and that it’s very easy to skim and still get the most important facts from it. You want to be direct and get to the point quickly while being polite, friendly, and professional.

Tip 4: Make the Letter Addressed to Someone not Something

First, always make sure your letter is addressed to an actual person. Never “to whom it may concern,” or to a title like “Marketing Manager at ABC Corporation.” Make the effort to find out the actual name, with the right spelling, of the person who’s going to be reading it.

Tip 5: Write the Cover Letter to the Job, NOT Your Resume

With your first sentence or two, put the whole thing in context. What job are you interested in? Make that very clear. Remember, each cover letter you write is going to be written for that particular job. You’re writing to an actual person. Talk to that person. You want to be direct and aggressive with your language, but also use your own voice. That’s what puts your personality into it and resonates with the person reading it. And think about the person you’re sending this to. Is it a recruiter? Is it a hiring manager? Put yourself in their shoes. What pain are they experiencing right now? What problems are they having because that job is currently unfilled?

Tip 6: Address Their Problems and Your Solutions

Address that, and then show how you’re the solution to those problems. Your cover letter should always be focused on how you can help the employer. What’s in it for them? What are you bringing to the table? That’s your attention-grabbing opening. Think headline, almost. Or if someone they know has recommended that you contact this person, say that right up front.

Tip 7: Support Your Solutions

Then, in the body of the letter, you can go into a few details that support what you just told the reader. But don’t just copy and paste items from your resume. Don’t tell them what they’re going to be able to read on the next page. There are several different options you can go with.

Tip 8: Steal Their Job Description and Requirements

If you have a job description you’re working from, use the requirements they’re asking for. List a few of them, and note how you fit. For instance, if they’re looking for someone who “will drive the growth of XYZ division,” you say, “At ABC Company, I led my team to a 25% increase in revenue.” Or whatever it is. You’re answering their need. And as much as humanly possible, do it with numbers. If you don’t have a specific job description you’re applying for, feel free to just pull the stats that sell you. Put yourself in their shoes, figure out what they need, and show them why they should be interested in talking to you about meeting that need. Why are you good at what you do? And where’s your proof?

Tip 9: Quantify, Qualify & Measure

Numbers are what really get the attention of most hiring managers. For them, that proves that you’re not just all talk. You can back that up with measurable results. That’s either dollars, numbers, or percentages. Some way you can offer an objective measure of your achievement, in whatever form that takes for your industry. Hopefully, that’s a main focus of your resume. For your cover letter, you’re going to just sprinkle in a few of the more impressive figures to grab attention.

 

Tip 10: Don’t Copy and Paste from Your Resume into Your Cover Letter

Again, you don’t want to just restate what’s in your resume. Your cover letter should complement your resume. You can direct the hiring manager’s attention to the parts of your resume he would be most interested in, or you can add some details that don’t really “go” in your resume but that might be beneficial for the employer to know. Overall, you’re answering the question, “Why should I talk to you about this job?” Don’t copy and paste from your resume into your cover letter.

 

Tip 11: Use Bullet Points!

The easiest way for the reader to understand and focus on what you’re trying to say in the body of your letter is with bullet points. I love bullet points. They are easier to read than paragraphs and they naturally draw the eye down the list. They are bite-sized nuggets of information that are very easy to skim, take in, and digest. You have a much better chance of having your cover letter read if you incorporate bullet points into it.

 

Tip 12: Close with a Call To Action

Now: your closing. Sum up why they should see you, and let them know when you intend to follow up with a phone call. You can say something like: “I am very excited about the potential for this company and this position, and know that my skills in x, y, and z will advance your goals for this division. I look forward to discussing it with you, and I will call within a few days to set up a time to meet. Thank you for your consideration.” Basically, close with a call to action. What does that mean? You want to set up the next step in your closing statement. Is it a phone call, is it a meeting? Here is another example: “I look forward to speaking with you soon. The best number to reach me is 555-5555. Thank you for your time and consideration of my resume for XYZ position.” Make sure there is a next step or call to action.

 

Tip 13: Be Yourself, Let Your Personality Shine

That’s just an example. Whatever you say throughout your cover letter should be in your own words. You want it to be direct and aggressive and to the point, but you also want your own personality to shine through. That’s one reason you don’t want to use a cover letter template you can find online. That’s not your personality, that’s someone else’s. The other reason you don’t want to use a template is exactly because everyone else is doing it. You want your cover letter to stand out, and be unique. It’s going to stand out by acting as a selling document that grabs attention, and it’s going to be unique because you’ve written it yourself, using the words you would use if you were talking to the reader.

 

Tip 14: Spell-Check then Proofread Again and Again

OK. End the letter with “Sincerely,” then your name, and you’re done. Use an easy-to-read font, like Times New Roman, Ariel, or Helvetica. Make sure there are no errors in it. Proofread it, proofread it again, and then get someone else to proofread it. Spell-check doesn’t catch everything, so you need an actual person to go over it.

 

Tip 15: Never Attach Your Cover Letter

Once you’ve put all your blood and sweat into crafting the perfect cover letter, how do you make sure it actually gets read by the person you’re sending it to? If you’re mailing it, just print it on the same paper you’ve used for your resume and send it. You’re good to go. If you’re emailing your resume to a recruiter, Human Resources department, or hiring manager—never, never, never send your cover letter as an attachment. All of the work you just poured into your letter will go straight down the drain, because they’ll almost certainly never open it. You want to make it very, very easy for the reader to get the information he or she needs. You might think, “Well, how easy is it to click and open just one attachment?” But you’ve got to put yourself in the shoes of your reader. How many people are applying for that position? How many resumes and applications do they handle for all the positions they’re trying to fill? It could easily be hundreds. It is for me, on a weekly basis. That one little extra click starts to add up fast when you have to do it hundreds of times. So, when I get a cover letter that’s been sent as an attachment, I just don’t even open it. That’s just the cold, hard truth. And to be completely honest with you, it sometimes even edges toward annoyance that this person is trying to make my life more complicated with this extra, unnecessary step. I’m not saying that’s an attractive quality, I’m just telling you that’s why you’ve got to sort of put yourself in the position of the person who’s reading your email. Make life easy for them. But the way to get around that is very simple: just write your cover letter in the body of your email. Your email is your cover letter. I always read an email. Or at least skim it before I open the resume that’s attached. So that’s the ideal place for you to write whatever it is you need to say to me before I read your resume. Don’t let your cover letter and resume end up in the trash with everyone else’s.

 

Tip 16: Overcoming Follow-Up Issues

Now, what do you do if you’ve sent your resume with your cover letter and they don’t respond? You’ve called like you said you would, and couldn’t get through, or had to leave a message and they didn’t call you back. Wait a few weeks, write a new one, and send it again. If you can include some new piece of information you’ve learned about the company or the larger industry, or some new accomplishment of yours, or some conference you’ve attended that pertains to that position, all the better. Now, most folks would be a little afraid to take that step. The thinking is that “if they didn’t call me for an interview right away, they must not be interested in me.” Well, maybe. But maybe they just weren’t interested right now. What happens when right after they delete your resume, their best person comes in and turns in his two weeks’ notice? Now they need someone. You’ve got to remember, that recruiter or that hiring manager is a busy person, with a lot going on, with a whole lot of factors at play here. You don’t know what’s going on with them at any given moment. In August they might not be interested, but by September or even October, that might change. If you think that’s weird, just remember: the job search is a sales process. Advertisements don’t just run one time. They show up over and over again. That doesn’t mean you should email them every day, because then you’re definitely becoming a pest, or even stalker-ish. But reasonably periodic contacts that include something new and fresh won’t hurt.

 

Tip 17: Get Ready to Sell, even if YOU are NOT a Salesperson

So, keep in mind that the job search is a sales process, and your cover letter is the “ad” that’s going to encourage the reader to look at your resume. It should first grab the reader’s attention, highlight a few of your most relevant accomplishments and skills in the body of the letter using bullet points, and briefly close with a promise to make contact. Make it interesting and easy for the reader to get the information about why he should call you for the job, and you’ll have a great cover letter.

Text by Career Confidential

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