This how-to guide for crafting superior job-search cover letters describes current trends that result in cutting-edge cover letters, and is chock full of sample language and formatting ideas to crafting cover letters that stand out.
| A guide to developing an effective cover letter. Failing to submit a cover letter with your resume is no longer the deal breaker it once was, but submitting one is a differentiator for job-seekers.
The book examines and updates the basic cover-letter guidelines, describing current trends that result in cutting-edge cover letters. The guide is chock full of sample language and formatting ideas to crafting cover letters that stand out.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Cover Letters Rebooted
Chapter 1: The Rules Revisited: Examines some of the more significant rules of cover-letter writing via the opinions of current hiring decision-makers.
- Addressing your cover letter to a specific person by name can be a big plus, and some employers expect you to do so.
- Tailoring your cover letter very specifically to the targeted job is still and always the way to go; if you don’t, the cover letter has no point.
- Although hiring decision-makers vary wildly in what they want to see in a cover letter, some common themes emerge.
- Hiring decision-makers offer no consensus on how they want to receive cover letters (in the body of an e-mail message vs. as an attachment), so research on each employer’s preference is imperative.
- Prospecting/cold-contact cover letters will probably not yield fast results, but an excellent, well-researched letter that tells how you can address an employer’s challenges can be a terrific investment in the future.
- A referral letter that mentions the name of a mutual contact of you and the letter’s addressee will usually get your foot in the door, but you must be qualified for the targeted position.
- Hiring decision-makers have mixed opinions about two-column or T-formation cover letters; the more important writing and communication skills are required in the targeted job, the less effective this type of letter is likely to be.
- Careful attention to detail can help job-seekers avoid the most common — and disqualifying — cover-letter mistakes.
Chapter 2: Hiring Decision-Makers’ Cover-Letter Wish List: Who better to advise on what makes an effective cover letter than the hiring decision-makers who value them? Asked for the characteristics they want to see in a letter, they offered the opinions in this chapter.
Chapter 3: Characteristics of Cover Letters That Wowed Hiring Decision-Makers: What really stands out for hiring decision-makers in a cover letter? Asked to describe job-seeker cover letters they’ve received that really made them sit up and take notice, they provided the examples in this chapter.
Chapter 4: Back to Basics: A Review of Cover-Letter Essentials: A refresher on basic cover-letter guidelines
- Three Kinds of Cover Letters
- A Structure for Cover Letters
- Cover Letter Success is All About Specifics
- Additional tips
Chapter 5: Formats on the Cutting Edge: Special formats to make your letter more reader-friendly and enticing, as well as call attention to your qualifications and enable you to tailor them very sharply to the requirements of the position you’re applying for.
- Word Bullets
- Two-Column Cover Letter
- Letter with Testimonial Column
- 5-Point Power Note
- Creative Formats
Chapter 6: Content on the Cutting Edge: Ways to enhance the content of your cover letters.
- Use Storied Approaches in Cover Letters
- Offer a Preview of What You Can Contribute
- Portray Skills as Transferable and Applicable
- Start with Compelling Customizable Opening Paragraphs
- End with Compelling Customizable Closing Paragraphs
The Last Word: Cover Letter Checklist for Job-Seekers
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