How to Write a Cover Letter that Will Stand Out

on January 16, 2023 in ABR Blog, Career and Job Search Tips


A cover letter is a one-page document (or email introduction) that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your CV or Resume). Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background, especially as it compares to any specific job opening you’re applying to. Here are our tips on writing a cover letter to stand out:

1. Find the Hiring Manager

While it’s smart to apply via the traditional route listed in the posting (with a traditional cover letter), don’t stop there. Do some research on LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, or the organization’s website to find out the name of your potential new boss.

2. Grab the Reader’s Attention

Set yourself apart from the first sentence. Instead of leading with the standard, “I came across your job posting…” start by acknowledging a recent accomplishment or newsworthy item you found about the company, the hiring manager, or their department. Don’t worry if the introduction isn’t directly related to the position you want; the idea is to capture the reader’s attention in a positive way, indicating you’ve done your research about the company.

3. Identify the Pain

Read between the lines when you see an intriguing job posting, looking beyond the essential requirements. Think about the business pain that’s driving the need for the ad. Is the organization growing rapidly? Dealing with talent or skills shortages in their market? Facing quality or distribution challenges? Threatened by new competition in their product category? Once you’ve identified the likely pain, name it. Understand it. Then explain what you bring to the table.

4. Tell a Good (True) Story

Give the hiring manager a taste of what you can really do. Review your measurable accomplishments to find an example of how you solved a problem similar to one the prospective employer may be facing. If none exists, explain how you can use your skills and experience to address the business challenges the hiring manager is currently experiencing.

5. Keep the Focus Where It Belongs

Write more about the hiring manager’s issues and less about your own skills and competencies. Skip the buzzwords and pat phrases like, “I’m a motivated, results-oriented professional.” The hiring manager can get specifics about your qualifications from your resume if he needs them.

6. Close Strong

End your letter with a one-sentence paragraph that expresses your interest in the position and clearly explains the next steps you will take.

On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long. A good cover letter should spark the HR manager’s interest and get them to read your resume.

A bad cover letter, on the other hand, might mean that your application is going directly to the trash bin. So, follow our tips above to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter. See Cover Letter Samples here.

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