Lindsay Olson

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Cover Letter Awesomeness

I got a cover letter from a candidate a few days ago that stood out from the rest. It's definitely share-worthy and a format that everyone should consider for their cover letter.

Most of the cover letters that I see tend to be bland and not written for the specific posting in mind. This cover letter was an exception.

To protect the identity of the candidate, I've edited the specific details and only posted a portion of it.

cvrltr Cover Letter Awesomeness

When I'm conducting a search, I don't generally post a detailed description online for a million reasons I'm not going to explain right now. The point is that this candidate took the tiny bit of information that she knew about the job  and matched her experience with exactly what we needed in her cover letter. With a specific job description, an applicant could get even more specific.

I didn't post the rest of the letter, but the candidate follows with: a paragraph about her other relevant experience that may not be as obvious in her resume, a statement about what she is known for by others (soft skills/personality) and a short list of places to find out more information about her and her recommendations (LinkedIn, etc.).

What I liked

  • The cover letter was specifically addressed to me, not a "To Whom It May Concern" or a "Dear Recruiter".
  • The Your Requirements, My Qualifications matching. This tells me that she has given some thought to the job and she is not lazily sending resumes for just any job. I feel confident that if I were to present her to a client she could give good examples of her previous experience and how those will help solve their void. It also makes it extremely easy to see how she fits my client's requirement before I even get to the resume. Remember, your job is to generate enough interest to get a call. Make it easy for the reader.
  • A paragraph detailing additional experience relating to the job that may not be as obvious in her resume.
  • A sentence about her soft-skills. Often this translates into cover letter "fluff", but keeping it at one, strong sentence is sufficient.
  • A LinkedIn address for quick access to recommendations and additional information.
  • A strong close.

She also sent the cover letter the body of her email rather than a separate attachment. I'm not the only person who, if given the choice to open a resume or a cover letter in attachments, will go straight to the resume. Since her cover letter already spelled out why I should consider her and was part of her email, my next step is to look at her resume and make the call.

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5 Comments - Add yours!

Jennifer Shanks (March 10th, 2010)

Really good post – especially glad you included the format. Thanks for sharing! And best of luck to the candidate.

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