Writing A Good Cover Letter
That Is Powerful and Attention-Grabbing!

Writing a good cover letter to be sent with every resume is expected; it is a sign of being inattentive to details sending a resume without one that caters to the specific company and opportunity you are pursuing. Whether you are relocating or thinking about a career change...regardless of the situation -- the cover letter is important.

You need to remember that employers and recruiters must screen hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of resumes for every job opening.  Use this opportunity to start building your personal brand.

When screening resumes they look for reasons to trash resumes...they need to narrow down candidates...and poor cover letters or poorly written resumes, regardless of your qualifications, will just get trashed!

In its basic form, it is a letter of introduction that accompanies a resume or curriculum vitae (CA). It formally introduces you to recruiters or prospective employers and expresses your interest in the company and position.

It allows you the chance to show the recruiter or hiring manager how thorough you are...do your research of the company and tell them why you want to work for them, how you can fill the need and solve their problem.

Stand-out from the crowd...don't give generic text-book answers, it's insulting and not very thoughtful.

Use this simple cover letter to get you started.

Writing a good cover letter highlights and amplifies what is in the resume, and explains why you are excited about the job and why you would be of value to the employer.

It also highlights any noteworthy special items of interest such as your availability, education, certifications, special skills or other qualifications that are of importance to note, before reading the resume

I can not stress this enough PROOF READ, and then have someone proof read you; you only have that ONE chance to impress, why blow it on a silly grammatical error!

Time for a quick analogy…”Don’t be lazy!”

Laziness tends to go right along with the summer, doesn’t it?  After a long day in the hot sun, it is easy to forget that this “thing” on which your life depends may need some attention when you would much rather head off to the beach, a pool party or grab a frozen drink.  BAD idea!

Think of it this way. 

Laziness when hiking can be disastrous...Not getting everything in-order, trying to account for every possible scenario, before you do take off into the deep woods, can turn a very enjoyable activity into a bad nightmare or even life threatening.

Not getting everything in its proper place, accounting for all the food, water and other essentials needed for every encounter you may come across out in the wild. 

Not paying close attention to your upcoming adventure, only leaves you open for bad things later on.

Get it right the first time...as you may only have one shot!

I am always shocked at the casualness that people put into writing a good cover letter.  I still can’t believe that there are so many that fail at this basics task because of laziness. 

It is also hard to believe how many people don’t have enough common sense to rename files they send with their name – “MGhibaudi.doc” and not “resume.doc”.

Like being out in the wilderness, a job search is a time when you are out from your usual comfort zone and normal securities. There are frequently no safety nets of an administrative assistant to correct your spelling and check your grammar.

No, all of the details are now in your hands.

So, don’t get lazy on yourself.  Your fate is in your hands, and EVERYTHING that comes from you will ALWAYS be a reflection of you, and the quality of (or lack of) your work.  

If you have failed to take the time to write “Dear Mike” or “Dear Mr. Ghibaudi,” shame on you.  “Current occupant” or “Dear Sir or Madam,” when you should know the difference, doesn’t reflect well on you or your candidacy.

Make the commitment NOW in writing a good cover letter, one that will make them WANT to call you!

Writing a good cover letter is most likely your FIRST introduction to the reader, make the most of it

Employers want an individualized thoughtfully written cover letters.  Cookie cutter template formats won't cut it; they only show laziness, and lack of attention...and are BORING to read.

There okay to help get you going, but then MAKE IT YOUR OWN...let your uniqueness shine through!

Writing a good cover letter is your chance to send a personalized message to the recruiter or hiring manager and demonstrate why they need bring you in and talk to you; think of a TV commercial and how it motivates you to action. 

Your cover letter needs to do the same, it's NOT just a formality...it shows your interest, professionalism and attention to detail!

Convey your brand in your letter — your unique skills and strengths that make you attractive to an employer. 

An important marketing device

Writing a good cover letter serves the purpose of trying to catch the reader's interest. It is to a resume or CV (Curriculum Vitae) what a headline is to a book or article. Write a bad one, or worse yet, not one at all, then no matter how well written your resume is, the recruiter, hiring manager or potential employer will never see it -- because it will be tossed in the trash can!

A good one introduces your resume to the company or organization (see our examples here).

It will emphasize why you want to work for that particular company and why you would be a good fit. An effective cover letter engages the reader and encourages him or her to invite you for an interview.

You want the letter to demonstrate in both form and style that you are neat, organized, efficient, and intelligent.

Click here and use our simple cover letter to get you started.

Here is what to include, and what NOT to include:

What you NEED include:

  • ALWAY address your letter it to a specific person, not just a title or department
  • Refer to the exact job (list title) you are applying for, and include a reference number if one is given
  • Describe why you’re uniquely qualified. Give relevant skills, experience and accomplishments, but don’t simply repeat your résumé. This is a chance to sell yourself!
  • Tell the employer something about yourself that might not be clear from your resume
  • Use keywords and industry "buzz" words or terminology from the job posting or recruiter (as you should also do in your resume)
  • After you've written your cover letter draft...put it down, do something else to clear and reset your eyes and mind.  Then proofread your cover letter several times for correct spelling and grammar, then give it to someone else who can proofread it and give you an honest unbiased opinion.

Also, when writing a good cover letter let’s not forget those of us that are dealing with the added challenge of age, the cover letter allows us to highlight our strengths and minimize the age factor. 

Emphasize results, accomplishments, and achievements.

When writing a good cover letter list accomplishments that set you apart from other job candidates...this will be a BIG advantage you will have over younger applicants.

Things to AVOID at all costs:

  • Don't ramble or provide too much information! Three to four paragraphs is plenty. 
  • Generic language. Tailor your letter to the specific position. 
  • Don't ramble or use filler language, such as, “I am writing to…” or “Let me introduce myself….” Get right to your point.
  • Avoid any references, terminology, or wording that may age you. Rather than talk about your 30 or 40 years of experience, focus on your skills, how they were applied, and the outcomes as they relate to the position you are seeking.
  • Salary requirements. Save this discussion for the interview process!

Also when writing a good cover letter tone down past job titles so you won’t seem overqualified.  Instead of “vice president, say “senior manager”, or "experienced senior executive" 

It's also important to show that you are eager and willing to invest in yourself to stay relevant, and keeping yourself up-to-date...so make sure you to highlight any courses or professional-development activities that proves this point. 

Too many of us let our skills fall behind the times...so keep-up with the times and invest in your skills and industry knowledge if you have not been doing so -- stay relevant!

When all is said and done...the final test is to honestly ask yourself if your letter makes the reader want to know more about you? If not, revise it, then revise it again until you have highlighted all the things that make you the best candidate for the job.  Remember that 30 second commercial and book cover analogies!

Try being bold and create a more creative cover letter which is an effective way to GRAB the attention of the reader, much like an attention grabbing headline, or an like an attractive exciting book cover. 

It's the best way to guarantee that your work experience and accomplishments don't get lost and negatively impact decisions of employers, recruiters (internal or external) and hiring managers.

What's on your mind? Is there something specific I can help you with?

This site's success will hinge on me helping you solve problems. For those of us over 50, we face more challenges than others younger than us when competing for jobs and getting doors to open.

I invite you all to share your stories of challenge and successes. We all can learn from those who have faced the same challenges. The idea here is to help and be helped - so please add your comment or insight!

Thank you for your contribution.

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