Writing Cover Letters That Sizzle

Writing Cover Letters That Sizzle

Writing Cover Letters That Sizzle
Anything being sent to​ a​ decision-maker should sell you,​ not just state facts .​
When conducting a​ job search,​ your cover letter and resume are in​ a​ pile for the​ decision-maker to​ review,​ one by one,​ along with a​ vast number of​ other documents submitted by other hopeful individuals .​
The odds that YOUR document is​ the​ very first ones on​ the​ pile are about a​ zillion to​ one! This means the​ decision-maker has probably read X number of​ cover letters (and resumes) before reaching your set of​ documents .​
With that in​ mind,​ I​ never recommend you start the​ cover letter with the​ sentence used in​ so many other letters:
Pursuant to​ your recent advertisement in​ the​ New York Times for the​ position of​ Staff Accountant,​ I​ am enclosing my resume for your review .​
B-O-R-I-N-G!! Plus,​ the​ decision-maker probably just read this same (or very similar) sentence about five dozen times .​
Remember,​ you want to​ GRAB the​ decision-maker's attention and SELL yourself to​ them .​
Since the​ cover letter is​ designed to​ market you to​ potential employers,​ don't state the​ obvious .​
If the​ cover letter does not create a​ sense of​ excitement and entice the​ reader,​ it​ is​ a​ waste of​ your time for writing it​ and a​ waste of​ time for the​ reader reading it .​
Keep track of​ how many times you use the​ words I​ and/or my .​
After you write the​ letter,​ take a​ pen and circle all the​ I's and my's in​ the​ letter: more than five? Time to​ re-write some of​ the​ sentences .​
Here's an​ illustration of​ how to​ do that: instead of​ writing I​ am looking for an​ opportunity for advancement with a​ new employer .​
My background is​ in​ retail management and I​ feel well-qualified for the​ Store Manager position with your company you can write,​ a​ background in​ retail management and proven record of​ obtaining results as​ a​ Store Manager are key elements in​ qualifying me for consideration as​ part of​ your team .​
Remember the​ PURPOSE of​ the​ cover letter: to​ highlight your background in​ the​ right light,​ sell your skills,​ and show the​ potential employer you are worthy of​ an​ interview .​
Explaining what you WANT throughout the​ letter doesn't tell the​ reader the​ BENEFIT of​ what you can offer,​ which is​ imperative for you to​ be successful .​
One of​ the​ techniques I​ like to​ use in​ cover letters is​ to​ pull out the​ top 4 or​ 5 achievements and mention them in​ bullet form with the​ letter .​
It serves as​ a​ wonderful focus point for readers' eyes and draws their attention immediately to​ your strengths .​
Here's a​ brief highlight in​ what would naturally be a​ longer cover letter:
...Recognized as​ a​ top-performer and dedicated professional,​ my record of​ achievements include: · Generating a​ 58% increase in​ new business during tenure as​ Regional Advertising Manager · Boosting client media coverage 50% and developing partnerships with previously unsecured media contacts
There are many ways to​ say things but,​ as​ you can see,​ some words have a​ stronger impact on​ readers than others .​
In cover letters,​ e-resumes,​ and traditional resumes,​ you can change the​ reader's perception in​ a​ heartbeat by substituting various words or​ phrases for more traditional (and outdated) verbiage .​
See the​ outline below:
Set up entire department from scratch
Worked closely with department heads
Helped produce $3 million in​ sales
Helped new employees
In-depth knowledge of​ capital markets and corporate finance
Assisted marketing department in​ strategies and bids
Reduced expenses by 10%

Established department from inception through successful operation
Fostered relationships with department heads
Instrumental in​ generating $3 million in​ sales
Aided new employees
Expertise in​ capital markets and corporate finance
Actively participated in​ formulating marketing strategies
Slashed (or cut) expenses by 10%
In short,​ aggressive writing makes you SIZZLE,​ while passive writing tells your story .​
Remember your goal is​ to​ effectively market yourself,​ not to​ author your employment biography.

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