I’m a Career Coach — I Always Tell My Clients to Use These Four Cover Letter Hacks

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The Career Counter554
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May 20, 2024 at 9:45PM UTC

You’ve just spent many agonizing hours updating your resume (or paying a resume writer good money to do it for you). 

Now, you’re faced with the agony of writing your cover letter. I can empathize with the pain you’re feeling. Although I’m a career coach, I’ve also been there. I’ve had to write dozens upon dozens of cover letters (and I’m not just talking about clients’ letters – I’m referring to my own)! 

The most common pushback regarding cover letters I hear from clients and job seekers is – do employers even read cover letters?

My response is always the same: many employers do not read cover letters. But many do.

If an employer is looking at 20 resumes that all feature similar skillsets and achievements, having a well-written, targeted cover letter will surely set you miles ahead of the pack.

Here are the four cover letter hacks I always tell my clients to use.

1. Show some personality.

Want to impress a hiring manager, especially one who has been spending all day reading a giant stack of dry resumes? In your letter, write about why you’re passionate about your field —and how your passions align with the organization’s — or what makes you a rockstar at what you do.

You can even add a little humor if it’s appropriate (nothing too off-beat) or mention a fun fact about yourself in your opening paragraph that the recruiter or hiring manager might relate to — some quick research on LinkedIn will tell you if you’ve got anything in common.

2. Don’t repeat your resume.

I know it’s tempting to just cut and paste some information from your resume. But if you’re just repeating everything that’s on your resume, what’s the point of even writing a cover letter?

In order to not repeat your resume, I recommend choosing an experience or skillset you’ve listed on your resume and elaborating on it. For example, let’s say you listed on your resume that you’ve delivered 50+ presentations. In your cover letter, you could provide more detail, like a specific time that you were able to capture the attention of an unengaged audience. 

3. Address your letter to a specific person.

If possible, find the name of the hiring manager or recruiter (you can use LinkedIn or the company website to do some digging) and address your letter to that person. Make sure to spell their name correctly!

If you’ve got a contact at the company, mention their name in the very first line of your letter. A contact is like gold. Let’s say you met someone at a networking event who encouraged you to apply for the position — you can also mention their name in your letter.

4. Make your letter employer-centered. 

Rather than talking about what you hope to gain from the job, make sure to give specific examples throughout your letter of how you can help the company achieve its goals and why you’re a great fit for the role. 

For example, “I read in the recent press release XYZ Initiative to Launch Soon that you are seeking dynamic, team-oriented employees who can think outside the box. While working on XYZ project in my current job, I was able to deliver ABC outcome X2 faster than expected by collaborating successfully with numerous cross-functional teams to reach a fast consensus.”

Although writing a stellar, targeted cover letter can be time-consuming, it’s definitely worth it if it helps you stand out among most other candidates — especially those who either write generic letters or who don’t write a letter at all.


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Lee Cristina Beaser is a career coach and certified professional resume writer (CPRW). She is the founder of The Career Counter, where she empowers women to find happiness and fulfillment in their careers. For tips and tools to help you change careers or jobs or return to work after a career pause, click here

What’s your no. 1 piece of cover letter advice? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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