10 Cover Letter Tips: Making Yourself Irresistible

LANDON LONG 31 Comments;

Most employers could go their whole lives without reading another resume if it was up to them, so that’s when truly helpful cover letter tips come in handy.  If they are not in a hurry to hire, the last thing they want to do with their time is pick through anonymous resumes.  A cover letter gives you a quick chance to tell them why they should take a closer look at you.

Here are 10 cover letter tips to keep your resume from ending up in the trash can.

Before reading these cover letter tips, make sure you open that mind of yours and take note.

1.  If you’ve got connections, use them.

Name-dropping works.  For one, an employer feels a subconscious obligation to give you a solid chance if you have a mutual contact.  In fact, they will probably have to find a good reason not to hire you if it might affect their social life or business.  Also, human beings are ethnocentric creatures — which means they’re hesitant to let anyone into their world that they don’t know.  This is one of the oldest cover letter tips ever used, but it still works.   Establish a connection and they’re more likely to take a chance.

2.  Never address “To Whom it May Concern.”

This is one of the cover letter tips you need to keep at the forefront of your mind.  Even if they know you don’t know them, saying their name gets their attention, as if the letter is truly to them.  It makes it more personal.  Besides, if you don’t have the brains to research a name, they don’t want you.  It shows you care about the position and are willing to do some homework.  Otherwise you’re like that shameless spammer on Facebook who is always promoting his band that no one likes—“Be my friend!  Be my friend!”  No one likes that guy, so don’t act like him.

3.  Keep it Conversational.

Keeping the cover letter conversational is one of the best cover letter tips out there.  Show some personality and the reader is less likely to crumple it up and shoot a basket.  This type of language makes people feel like you have rapport even if you’ve never met.

4.  Brag about yourself.

While your dedication to telling the world how awesome you are hasn’t scored you many friends in the past, here is your chance to put it out there without everyone leaving the room talking about what a douche bag your are.  Finally.  Tell them why you’re the man or woman for the job.  Having the confidence to state it straight up sends the signal that you really are qualified.

The more specific, tangible, and measurable the better because it tells them you’re not just winging it.

5.  Always talk about your achievements.cover letter tips

They don’t just want another employee—they want the best, and achievements mark you as a high-value individual.  Use bullet points to cover more space, creating the illusion there is more information than there actually is.  Most cover letter tips will tell you not to list your accomplishments, but this is where you want to brag away.

6.  Don’t just parrot your resume.

Your cover letter, though short and simple, is an asset that will pave the way for your future income, and a lot of prospective employees make the mistake of writing exactly what is on the resume.  Don’t do this—it shows a lack of creativity.  Your cover letter should expand and serve as a bridge to your resume.  Since it’s the first thing they see, make it count.  This goes back to the previous point- it’s one of the crucial cover letter tips.  Brag and talk about how great you are but don’t just summarize your resume.

7.  Don’t come across as a Harvard prude, even if you are one.

Professionalism is nice, but no one wants to work with a pompous ass.  If that’s not how you talk on a daily basis, tone it down.  If that is how you talk, you’ve got bigger problems than I can solve.  Write like a kindergartner.  Okay, I don’t mean write sentences like “Jane likes jobs.  Jane wants money.”  I mean be clear and simple, and sound out your words while you write to make sure they aren’t too sophisticated.  And definitely don’t talk about how this is one of the awesome cover letter tips you found here.  You don’t have to spill the beans like a kindergartener would either, just be clear, concise and readable.

8.  Email letters should be short and sweet, like a one-night stand.

Long emails waste time that could be better spent on Facebook.  Once they open your resume they’ve decided to invest some time in you, so they are psychologically prepared for more information.  Einstein once said, “Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.”  Anything more will make you seem like a possible future headache.

9.  Attack them from all angles.

If you don’t have submission guidelines, send the resume as an attachment and an email.  Then point it out.  “I’m such a great fella I sent this as an email AND an attachment.”  The message is you are the type of person who will make their life easier.

10.  The most crucial of the cover letter tips- Don’t be weak.

“My professional resume is included if you would like to look at it.”   Subconsciously, you just told them you aren’t even sure if your resume is worth their time.  Grow a pair.  Say something direct and casual like, “As you can see in my resume, I’ve worked in the midget porn industry for forty-three years.”  EXPECT them to read it, and they are much more likely to do so.  Ok, so that actual line is not one of the cover letter tips you should utilize, but you get what I mean.

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What do you think
  1. inorryvaverie

    Great article. Keep on writing stuff like this Landon!

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  2. Sample Cover Letter
    Sample Cover Letter

    You made me to re-write my cover letter. thanks for your help.

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  3. Talha Jamshaid
    Talha Jamshaid

    This is a very informative and good article..I have made my effort in explaining How a Cover

    Letter plays vital role..You must read..The link is below..


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  4. lingwrino

    Content is good. Thanks for posting this. Resume Rebel videos are legit too, just checked out video 1.

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  5. km

    i would def. read a resume that said they worked in the midget porn industry! great tip! i guess need to find something in my work history that would play such a role

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  6. jonkraftsmall

    Thanks for info

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  7. Peg Fisher
    Peg Fisher

    Useful and helpful tips – thanks.

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  8. Chris

    I really liked this article. I have been trying to assemble my resume/cover letter recently since losing my job, and I just managed to stumble across this website. The 10 tips are really useful, and I think if we pair this with someone who has already written a successful resume and cover letter; then a job-seeker should be good! Oh, and thanks for not just reusing the same old things we can read anywhere else! Honestly, this is some of the better information on cover letters that I have seen on the internet.

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  9. Alan

    Writing up a resume/cover letter can really be a daunting task. I have saught out professional assistance in order to get my cover letter to look just right in the eyes of potential future employers, though I think with the information that can be found online (like right here for starters!) I could have avoided the hefty payments for assistance and just learned how to do it myself.

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  10. Jeff M.
    Jeff M.

    One thing I think that is often overlooked when it comes to writing a cover letter (and by extension, a resume) is having a variety of experiences that you can pull from. In a lot of ways, I view experiences as the different paints an artist has, and the cover letter is in essence what you intend to paint with them. It is undeniable that the resume and cover letter is really a sales pitch, and having past experience will really aid in driving that point home.

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  11. Jamie

    I recently stumbled upon your blog and this specific article stood out to me. I am currently unemployed (like so many others in this economy), and I feel the information being provided here is very critical for people to be aware of. While marketing oneself comes very naturally for some people, for others it undeniably takes a lot of work. This is especially difficult if a person has self-esteem problems, or has been unemployed for a long period of time. It can be difficult to gauge if your cover letter and resume are effective, or if there is little interest to hire regardless of skills.

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  12. Kevin

    How would you suggest someone who is just getting into the work force to go about writing a cover letter? I think they would be much easier to write if I had more experiences myself beyond some basic retail and volunteer work.

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  13. Roger Stein
    Roger Stein

    This is a great blog article. I run a business myself, and frequently see a variety of cover letters ranging from non-existent or mediocre to top notch. I think the points you highlight here are very important for people who are out writing articles. The most important I feel is strangely “keep it conversational.” There are so many cover letters which I have seen that feel like they were written by a robot. While many people have good things to offer, how they communicate is also valuable; and oftentimes more important than simply how they will perform on the job. For example, you may be a great graphic artist, but if you are unable to communicate your ideas effectively to your boss; how can you ever really succeed?

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  14. Gabrielle

    It is amazing to see what kind of information can be found just by searching the internet! Maybe that sounds childish in some ways, but I am very glad I was able to stumble upon your article. While I think some of the information is fairly “expected” by some standards, I think so many people miss out on the basic fundamental aspects of writing a cover letter that it is very important to highlight these 10 little issues when it comes to cover letter writing. Great job!

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  15. Daniel

    These days with the internet and social networking, it is amazing to think many people continue to try and pass off mediocre (and even frankly horrible) resume and cover letter combinations. There is so much information on the internet regarding how to put together these things, and even professional help that can be had as well. These things are all about presentation rather than just having skills in a particular field. In a way, having a cover letter is a way of personally connecting with a company and showing them that you have the skill to be a professional.

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  16. Vllad

    On the topic of seeking employment, I think many people overlook the potential benefit from social networking websites like Facebook with regards to seeking out new leads and finding new people. Even within our “mutual friend” network, we can potentially find so many different people from different backgrounds who could be very beneficial in helping out with finding a job. I don’t think someone should just send out messages without prior thought and purpose (surely no one wants a spammer), but there is definitely a benefit and a thought that many people may overlook.

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  17. CJ

    One topic so frequently discussed in many different areas on the internet (including here to a degree) is the need to personalize cover letters, and even resumes, to specific potential employers. This may be tiresome and undeniably boring if you are stuck in the unemployment line for a year or so, but it will definitely pay off. So many employers consistently insist that they hate when people just ship off their resume to everyone without much thought about the actual job requirements or the fact that real people are working there. In fact, somewhat humorously, I once read a story about how a hiring manager hired someone simply because they used a different color paper for their resume. Not that we would all recommend that as a marketing tactic, but it shows a firm reality that many would not expect when it comes to cover letters and resumes.

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  18. Kerrie F.
    Kerrie F.

    On bullet number 7 you essentially inform people not to be egotistical assholes (to use my choice of words!). This is such an extremely important thing to note when it comes to representing yourself with a cover letter, and even a more important thing when you are interacting with other human beings at all. Even if you are an absolute genius and have a lot of experience, no one is going to want to work with you if you have a hyper inflated sense of self. This is especially noticeable in low end jobs, like retail. A cashier will think they are so important, quit the job, then within a day or two a new person is there to take their place. It is quite amazing, but sometimes our selfish thoughts can really get in the way of our ability to being a good human being and market ourselves as someone who others want to work with.

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  19. Anthony

    Do you have any advice for going about sending potential employers e-mails? I know this might sound silly in some respects, but I think covering how to address to potential employers is important for your audience on this blog.

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  20. Nick B.
    Nick B.

    If you have things to be proud of which are included on your resume, then inevitably the process of writing out a cover letter and marketing yourself in general is going to come very naturally. I think the real concern when it comes down to writing these things comes from those who are less experienced, maybe even just getting out of college and trying to break into the work force. With so many needs at this point in life, being unsure about a resume or cover letter is the last thing a person really wants to deal with. Perhaps you should write some on how to cope with the stress of this time period as well?

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  21. Gary

    I just wanted to leave a comment to let you know that I have been following your blog for a few weeks now! You have really provided some great information on here, and in some strange way I really like your writing style as well. It feels very professional, but also casual in many ways (I’m looking at your occasional usage of profanities, it definitely makes things more interesting for me). To stay on topic, I think these 10 tips are really excellent starting points for people looking to write or revise their cover letters.

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  22. Elizabeth

    I really liked your sense of humor in this article. It is sort of refreshing amidst so many blogs that take business related things so seriously. I think if more people learned to relax a little bit around these topics, while also taking them seriously when they need to be, they would likely create a better cover letter than they would if they were just stressing the entire time. I guess in a way writing up a cover letter is sort of like making art. It takes time, and generally being overly serious is going to kill your drive.

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  23. Andria

    noticed that on number 10 you didn’t bold the text. You might want to do that. In fact, it threw me for a loop myself. WIth that said, bullet number 10 is very important. Many people send out resumes online, and expect responses without really attempting to contact the potential employer directly.

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  24. Carl Murr
    Carl Murr

    Very good article! I am following up to what Andria said in some ways. I feel that being aggressive is very important when it comes to seeking out a job. I remember so many news stories, especially from the beginning of our economic recession, that highlighted individuals who were being very aggressive in trying to get a job. If you have the skills to do a job, and are willing to get aggressive and “out there”, then a job should come in no time!

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  25. Rachel LaDore
    Rachel LaDore

    I’m surprised no one seemed to mention this here, but I saw your little link at the bottom of this article for the free resume course. I picked this up (as I like free things and why not?). I must say I found a lot of the information to be very useful. I think collecting information from various sources online about writing a resume can really help us make the write decisions while we’re writing ours out. I just wanted to say thank you for that course! Very useful!

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  26. April

    I was once a manager at Wal-Mart myself, and on occasion I would have to sift through applications, resumes, and so forth. Many of them were submitted online, and I think it is important to acknowledge the need for making your resume stand out from the crowd. As I am opening numerous files with resumes and so forth attached, it became obvious that most applicants were really just submitting “standard” resumes. So many of them just looked the same, and even to a company like Wal-Mart that is a turn off. Unless you want to be stuck in a low-end position all of your life, getting to work on your resume will really help!

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  27. Brandon S.
    Brandon S.

    This is a great blog! I’ve been browsing for a while today, and the articles on here are very well done! I am into online marketing myself, and while I have seen a few articles about cover letters and resumes in my time; I think your writing style and your “conversational” tone really help draw in newcomers. I just wanted to let you know that you seem to be doing your job well on here! Keep it up!

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  28. isaac

    These are the best tips I’ve ever heard. I am 54 and have revamp my entire pitch to students because of you. Great job young man!

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  29. Gandalf

    Thanks for the tips. I have a suggestion, though: avoid crude sexual references such as “Grow a pair” in a supposedly professional article. It makes you sound immature and unreliable.

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  30. allaroundfab

    Thanks so much! I never realized my cover letter was colorless until I read this. I’ve always hated the 3 paragraph template and now I can go infuse some life into it! (Also, love the midget porn line. It just oozes authority)

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  31. Ana

    I had confusions about sending a resume with cover letter or not when I was a fresher. Your tips are really helpful to clear the confusions and tips are surely helpful to write an impressive cover letter. I have more on cover letters here http://coverlettersexamples.blogspot.in/ .

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