cover letters

don’t start your cover letter with “my name is” and other rules

May 29, 2014

Some random thoughts from hiring work recently, in no particular order: * Do not start your cover letter with “My name is…” unless you are under the age of 10. This does not make you sound like a grown-up. * When a job posting asks for something like 2-3 years experience and you have 10+ […]

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“I am confident I am the best candidate for the job” is a ridiculous thing to say

April 22, 2014

Interesting fact: People who start their cover letters with “I am confident I am the best candidate for the job” never are. Literally, never. I’ve now seen it stated enough to state this with confidence.

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here’s a real-life example of a great cover letter (with before and after versions!)

February 10, 2014

I had sworn off sharing more examples of real-life resumes and cover letters for a while because when I’ve done it in the past, I’ve found it supremely frustrating that people want to tear them apart and quibble with details. But a reader just sent me a cover letter that I can’t resist posting, especially […]

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how to write a cover letter that will get you an interview

February 10, 2014

If you’re like most job seekers, you’re not taking advantage of one of the best ways to get a hiring manager’s attention: writing a great cover letter. Cover letters can be what gets you pulled out of a stack of applications and called for an interview. They can make the difference between hearing nothing from […]

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something your cover letter does not need to do

December 3, 2013

I’ve seen a few people lately advising others that a cover letter needs to address every single one of the qualifications listed in the job ad. This is not true, and it will usually make for a crowded, less effective cover letter. You do want to be sure that the qualifications described in the job posting […]

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this is a resume and cover letter that work

November 14, 2013

A reader recently shared with me the resume and cover letter she used to get a new job, and I liked them so much that I got her to agree to let me share them here. Note: Do not steal these and make them your own. The reason they work is because they’ve so customized […]

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does a cover letter have to sound like an informercial?

October 17, 2013

This post was originally published on October 25, 2010. A reader writes: I really appreciate your blog and your candor, and I have used your advice many times during my job search. In fact, the interview chapter from your e-book made a huge difference on my last interview and I really felt like I was […]

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what IS a cover letter, anyway?

July 29, 2013

A reader writes: This is a long email to ask a very short question: what is a cover letter? I know it’s really basic, but that’s why it’s throwing me so much! How would you explain what a cover letter is, to someone who had never heard of one? I just ran into this situation […]

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don’t start your cover letters with “if you’re looking for…”

July 8, 2013

I see a lot of cover letters that open with some variation of “If you are looking for a dynamic professional who can XYZ, you’ve found the right person.” You must stop this. It is salesy, it’s incredibly over-used, and it signals to the reader that whatever follows is likely to be boring and stilted […]

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is it time to close down college career centers?

February 25, 2013

I recently got a letter from a senior in college asking if her cover letters were too focused on herself and not enough on the organizations she was applying to. She showed me a typical letter, which included the following (pieces redacted to protect her privacy): “As a graduating senior double majoring in __ and […]

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