This week, LiveCareer reached out to our professional network to gather some resume advice and job search tips from those on the front lines of the process. Specifically, we targeted friends who have endured a challenging job search and made it across the finish line in style—Those who are currently accepting offers or stepping into positions that they consider "dream jobs." We asked these successful job seekers to share the moves and tips that paid off as they wrote and edited their cover letters. Here's how they responded.
"It was hard, but I put my ego aside and swallowed my pride and showed my letter to everyone in my family, including my mom. When they gave me advice, I didn't argue or get defensive. I kept an open mind and I stayed humble. I'm really glad I did."
"I used a template cover letter that I could send to every employer I contacted with just a few tweaks that kept my application from coming off like a mass mailing. But even though I used the template, I still changed every single letter a little bit. In each application, I rewrote a few sentences, and I adjusted my tone to fit the tone and culture suggested by the company's website. This actually worked so well that I only had to take this step with ten applications before I landed the perfect position."
"When my employers called me to invite me in for an interview, they told me this: "Your cover letter breaks every single rule…but it works. You really got our attention." During the interview, they used my letter to steer the conversation and determine what kinds of questions to ask me, and they kept mentioning my style and formatting decisions over and over again. Some people think these are minor decisions, but as it turns out, they can have a huge impact."
"I kept my cover letter brutally honest, and that worked out well for me. I think lots of people write cover letters that fawn all over the employer and say exactly what applicants think employers want to hear. But in my letter, I stayed very clear and direct, and I described exactly what I have to offer and exactly what I wanted from my next employer. I think they found that refreshing."
"I kept my letter positive from beginning to end. I was fired from my last job, but I didn't say a word about that in my letter. I decided that if these employers wanted to know why I left that position, they could ask me during the interview. They never asked. Two days later, they offered me the job."
"When I wrote my cover letter, I stuck to the simple facts and kept my message centered around my specific skill sets. I didn't get flowery or try too hard to come off as an all-around superstar. My employers liked this, and when they hired me, they said they were "impressed with my self-awareness and personal marketing skill." They said they couldn't wait to bring me on board."
Make a Lasting Impression
Use LiveCareer's Cover Letter Builder to draft a letter that leaves employers wanting more. Keep your message short, simple, clear, and unique.