Infographic: Expert guidance for writing eye-catching cover letters

A personalized, concise and compelling summation of your credentials can give you a leg up and a foot in the door for that dream job. Arm yourself with these tips.

A tidy, tight résumé is table stakes for today’s job seekers.

However, the secret to catching a recruiter’s eye is crafting a compelling cover letter.

Zety offers a slew of helpful guidance for writing an outstanding cover letter that will get you moved to the “serious candidate” stack.

Zety’s tutorial includes the following advice:

  • Heading. Include your phone number, email address (not the one you created in middle school), your professional title and links to your website(s). Zety also says to “left justify all the details in your cover letter header” and not to use your current work email.
  • Salutation. Deposit your generic “To whom it may concern” into the nearest trashcan. Address the hiring manager by name. As Zety explains: “Once the hiring manager sees her name in the greeting of your application letter, she’s going to feel like she’s found something tailored specifically for her. It will feel personal, and she’ll know whatever comes next might just be the exact information she’s been looking for.”
  • Opening paragraph. Zety says that “the opening line of your cover letter will determine whether the hiring manager will read on,” so write a spicy lede, as you would for any other story. Grab your reader (in this case, a busy recruiter looking to narrow the candidate pool) from the get-go with visceral emotion and a lively description of your bona fides. Be specific about your achievements, and clearly demonstrate how you’d be a tremendous addition to the team.
  • Closing paragraph. According to Zety:

The two worst cover letter mistakes you can make in the final paragraph are:

Coming off needy—focusing on how much you want the job, not on what you have to offer.

Repeating the clichéd phrase, ‘Thank you for your consideration and your time.’”

Instead, finish with a compelling, confident case of why you’d be the perfect fit for the position. Hammer home how your specific skills could benefit the company’s culture and bottom line.

Half-hearted, generic cover letters could be preventing you from landing the job of your dreams. Read the rest of Zety’s guidance to improve your chances of getting a foot in the door.


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