Article, Seize the Moment with a Compelling Cover Letter by Sharon Graham :

Seize the Moment with a Compelling Cover Letter
Sharon Graham, CRS, CIS, CCS, CPRW, CEIP


A cover letter is a critical component of your job search. It is all about attracting positive attention from the recruiter by making a great first impression.


As a professional résumé strategist, every once in a while, I’ll encounter someone who only wants a résumé and nothing more. Before agreeing to take on the assignment, I always take a moment to ascertain that individual’s ability to write powerful business correspondence. After all, if our organization is going to provide an impressive résumé, we sure don’t want our client to waste their investment by attaching a poor cover letter to it.


Your résumé can be virtually annihilated by adding a weak cover letter – so don’t do it. Just as your résumé is all about strategy, your cover letter is too. It requires that you provide an introduction, a sales pitch, and a proposal for further action, all in one document.


Your cover letter will command attention only if you have firmly established your goal. Most employers hire people to fulfil specific requirements. So, before starting on your cover letter, do your research. Study the job and company you are targeting. Then, when you have uncovered their needs, relate how your experience, credentials, achievements, and talents relate to them.


When writing your cover letter, don’t follow a formula. Instead, incorporate solid strategies throughout. Open your letter with a compelling sentence that entices the reader. Then, focus the rest of your opening paragraph to flatter the company and promise results. In the body of the letter, tell the reader why you should be selected instead of all the other qualified candidates. Talk more about what you can do for the prospective employer than about what they can do for you.


Here are some other tips on writing a compelling cover letter:


• Customize the header information with your complete contact information.


• Tailor your letter by dating it and addressing it to a specific person.


• Focus the wording specifically to the job, employer, and industry that you are targeting.


• Build rapport with the reader by showing passion for the company and what they do.


• Do not use the pronoun “I” excessively; use creative wording that makes you stand out.


• Back up your claims with examples that demonstrate the results that you can produce.


• Support what you say in the résumé without being repetitive in wording.


• Be brief and to the point; don’t use overly lengthy sentences or dense paragraphs.


• Ensure that all the spelling, grammar, and mechanics are impeccable.


• Avoid discussing any factors that might exclude you.


• Make your document irresistible by using future-focused wording.


• Wrap things up with a call to action – and hold up your end of the bargain.


Once you have created your cover letter, read your document aloud and make sure that everything flows the way it should. Have someone qualified proof and edit it to ensure that there are no errors at all.


To create a “branded” design, incorporate an upscale letterhead that matches your résumé. The look and feel of your complete package should present itself as if you are at the “top of your class.” Only when you are certain that the letter is spectacular, send it out with your résumé.


This all-important document is the very first thing a recruiter will see. A stunning cover letter is not just the introduction to your résumé – it is part of your complete presentation. If you present yourself well from start to end, you will not only make a powerful impression, but you will also show that you are worthy of the salary you command.



The foundations of any upward mobility plan or job search is articulating your unique promise of value online and in print. If you are not getting at least 20%-25% interview ratio when applying to new opportunities with your current resume, and/or if you are not getting headhunting inquiries from your LinkedIn profile, then connect with the HigherBracket Team - or 1-866-636-9400 and we can help figure out how to get your upward mobility back on track! Ask for Cara or Anthony.