cover letters

whoever told you to be creative in your cover letter has led you horribly astray

A reader sent me this real-life cover letter that she received from a job applicant: Hi. This very professionally-beginning cover letter should immediately alert you to my easy-going and comprehensive approach to task completion while making it strikingly obvious that I am both interested in and capable of performing HR duties with sophisticated exactitude. The […]

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here’s another example of a great cover letter

I often get asked for examples of good cover letters, and a reader recently sent me a great one that I want to share. One thing I like about this one is that it’s shorter than others I’ve previously shared and so is a good demonstration of how you can go shorter and still be […]

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how do I write a compelling cover letter when I don’t have much work experience?

A reader writes: I’m applying for administrative/production assistant jobs, and I don’t know how to start the cover letter. I hate starting with, “I was excited to see a position open…” or, “I’m writing in response to [position title] opening.” The third example I’ve seen, while ideal, doesn’t apply to me: “As [director/editor/higher up title] for […]

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do “pain letters” really work?

A reader writes: I wanted to know what your take is on “pain letters.” I have been reading up on career advice, and I ran across an article by a Forbes contributor who says that we should junk cover letters and resumes for “pain letters.” I’d advise against them. When I’ve received them, they’re generally cringingly […]

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end your doubts about cover letters, all ye who enter here

A reader writes: I’m sure you get tons of emails letting you know how helpful your site is, but I’d like to express my gratitude because your advice helped me land my dream job. As background, I was working for a large corporation with (what I felt was) a toxic work environment doing a job […]

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8 phrases that are killing your cover letters

Few people like writing cover letters, and as a result they tend to fall back on clichés and fluff that don’t strengthen their application and in many cases weaken it. At U.S. News & World Report today, I talk about 8 phrases that you might recognize from your own cover letters – and that you should remove […]

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did I commit a cardinal job-searching sin?

A reader writes: I think I have inadvertently committed a cardinal job-searching sin. Here’s the necessary backstory: I’m a recent college grad (June ’14) looking for a job in a STEM field. I signed up for a job-search group run by a local career counselor, and it was very helpful regarding resumes, cover letters, networking, […]

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how should I format a cover letter?

A reader writes: Could you elaborate more about how formatting should be done on a cover letter? For example, should paragraphs be justified or should they use a ragged right edge? I use a cover letter format that appears sort of as a form of my own custom stationary – the top of my letter […]

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