cover letters

“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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10 phrases that don’t belong in your cover letter

January 28, 2013

Do you have any of these phrases in your cover letter? “I meet the requirements for the position.” “I’m hard-working and a great communicator.” “You won’t find a candidate better qualified than me.” “Dear sir or madam.” Over at U.S. News & World Report today, I talk about 10 phrases that don’t belong in your […]

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