Writing a good cover letter

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by TSE, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. TSE macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #1
    Googling it just gives me lists of the basics and contradictory information, and I don't even know if the person writing it is legitimate and has written a plethora of successful cover letters.

    We have a lot of smart, successful people on this forum, so I'm wondering if anyone on MacRumors know how to write engaging, professional cover letters and can share some tricks (for lack of a better word) they acquired on the way?

    Thanks!
     
  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #2
    Use words and phrases from the ad in your cover letter. Tell them how your experience translates in their wants/needs from the ad. Write something that shows you researched the company. Something like, "In reading your website, I was drawn to your company policy/initiative of xxxxxxx".

    Stay away from the hackneyed **** you find online in sample cover letters like, 'Consider me an outstanding candidate for..."

    Sadly, most cover letters never get read. Good luck!
     
  3. willmtaylor, Mar 8, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017

    willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
    A Natural State
    #3
    1. Fill in the gaps of your resume. The resume contains the ingredient; explain how it's created you as an indispensable final product.
    2. Use your cover letter to explain why you're the best person for the position based both on the criteria they're looking for as well as the knowledge and experience you possess.
     
  4. MechaSpanky macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #4
    Do people still send cover letters? In the past 7 or 8 years whenever I have applied for a job, it was via a job recruiting site like Monster or Indeed and the majority of the time they don't even ask for cover letters. Some do but from what I've seen, the majority don't. I would guess that it is just more for them to read.
     
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #5
    Yes, they do, especially if you are not using a recruitment site or agency.
     
  6. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #6
    If I'm cold-calling, so to speak, then I send a cover letter - at the very least, it explains who I am, what position I'm looking for, and why I'm the best person to fill that role. If a company hasn't advertised for a position, sending them a resume without a cover letter, to me, is an invitation for the recipient to say, "what's this and why did I get it?" and file it in the round file.

    If I've already spoken to or emailed a hiring manager about a position and told them a bit about myself, I might just email my resume with a simple "As we discussed this morning, I'm attaching my resume for your review blah blah blah..." without a formal cover letter.
     
  7. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #7
    Do not begin your letter with "I am writing to you about..." It should be obvious why you're writing them. Begin with something like "I am interested in your position," or "this is the last resume you will need to review since I will be filling your vacant position."
     
  8. t.portis macrumors member

    t.portis

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2013
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    #8
    Use a brief cover letter to be friendly, professional and point out two or three main points as to why you are even qualified to be applying for the job.

    As someone else said above, avoid the over-used cliche. "Go-getter" or "results oriented" might get you rejected right away. Someone recently put "Lead, follow, or get out of the way" on a cover letter. That was an immediate rejection.
     
  9. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
    A Natural State
    #9
    It is, of course, a matter of personal preference and more about an applicant's qualifications, but when I chaired a hiring committee a couple of years back, I rolled my eyes every time I read something of that nature. For me, it smacked of insecurity or braggadocio or someone that had googled "cover letter strategies."

    Again, it's subjective though.
     
  10. yaxomoxay macrumors 68020

    yaxomoxay

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #10
    My suggestion ? Get boomsa on fiverr to review/edit your resume, CL, and LinkedIn. She did an outstanding job with both my resume (which just landed me a new job... and the previous one) and my wife's. It's worth every penny if you're looking for a decent job. Of course there is still some customization that you will have to do, but it's not much.

    https://www.fiverr.com/boomsa

    I am NOT affiliated with her, I am just a happy customer.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 9, 2017 ---
    How about: "If you don't hire me, it's your loss and it will show the world your lack of judgment. Plus, you would be a jerk." ;)

    Never had the above, but we had a guy applying for IT that on his application wrote:
    College: "Reluctantly."

    We hired him. Amazing worker.
     
  11. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #11
    In one of the positions I served in when I worked abroad, I was asked - on a number of occasions - to draw up shortlists, and to sit on interview boards.

    One guy's application letter - in answer to the question, or section, in the application form where you were invited to state why you should be considered for the position and what motivated you to apply for it, - in other words, the equivalent of the classical cover letter - wrote simply "I am bored in my job and the money [for the position sought] is very good".

    No, he wasn't selected and neither was he short listed. However, I do remember being helpless with laughter reading it.
     
  12. yaxomoxay macrumors 68020

    yaxomoxay

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #12
    That is fantastic! Kudos to the person for being honest... ;)
     
  13. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Jul 29, 2008
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    #13
    It was hilarious; the guy in question was a mid ranking police officer from a pretty poor country - however, my immediate boss at the time was a four star general and he was furious when he saw this.

    I was impressed by the honesty of the answer; however, it was equally clear that the guy had probably been ordered to apply for the position by his government - his application letter had that lazy but searing honesty you so rarely see.
     
  14. yaxomoxay macrumors 68020

    yaxomoxay

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #14
    Well, I can see the general's point. Obviously honesty should be appreciated, but the workplace has its own language. Instead of boredom you can say "looking for new challenges" or positive language instead of negative language. I see many people failing at this concept.
     
  15. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #15
    Oh, yes, so could I - it was why I made the decision not to shortlist the candidate; "looking for new challenges" is a wonderful expression as it covers so much, and I've used it myself.

    In truth, it wasn't just the honesty - which was hilarious - it was the almost contemptuous nature of the responses - both for the guy's existing job and for the position that he was applying for - he couldn't be bothered to even pretend to go through the motions - that made his rejection inevitable.

    But I do remember being helpless with laughter, and the general - who often - a few times a day - called into my office for a chat, or to discuss political stuff - I was his analyst, political advisor, speechwriter - coming in and exploding when he read that section of the letter and shouting "But this is not serious!"
     
  16. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #16

    As a hiring manager, that would turn me off.
     
  17. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #17
    I'm with @rdowns on this; that sort of cockiness would turn me off, too.
     
  18. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #18
    My point was to not start with "the reason I'm writing you," or "I'm writing because."
     
  19. Jnesbitt82 macrumors 6502

    Jnesbitt82

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    Location:
    Ohio
    #19
    If they still use bots to scan your cover letter or resume, we were always told to include key words that are normally scanned for but make them invisible. In other words, you could load your file with a ton of key words but put them in white font so they're invisible and not obvious. The system will flag you for review by a real person, increasing your chances of being hired.
     

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