Four Must Haves for a Strong Cover Letter

As a leading cover letter writing service, ResumeSpice has seen firsthand how a strong cover letter can set a candidate apart. A strong cover letter includes a few key essentials:

The hiring manager’s name.

Don’t write the letter “To Whom It May Concern.” Instead, address it directly to the hiring manager (double check that you’ve spelled their name correctly). If the name isn’t included in the job description, you should still be able to find it online or with a quick call to the company. When you make this extra effort – and the letter is actually addressed to the specific hiring manager – it’s going to stand out relative to all the other letters with generic salutations.

A focus on the employer.

Many job candidates make the mistake of rehashing their resume details in their cover letters. Don’t make that mistake. Your letter should be about the value you can offer the company, not about regurgitating your background information. Placing yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager, review the job description again. Read through the company website. And then ask yourself what the hiring manager needs for the person in this role to be successful. Make a list and use it as a guide as you’re writing your cover letter.

Enthusiasm.

When you submit a cover letter that sounds like you copied and pasted it from the web, it’s not going to get the attention of the hiring manager. Instead, cut through the clutter with a little enthusiasm. That doesn’t mean you need to profess your love for the company. It does, however, mean explaining what excites you most about the position.

Accomplishments.

A cover letter is not the place to simply state that you’re qualified for a position. Use the opportunity to demonstrate that you’re more qualified than other candidates. Offer one or two specific examples of past accomplishments that are most relevant to the job opening. These should showcase your proven track record and make your more memorable when the hiring manager is evaluating candidates to potentially interview. 

For many job candidates, writing a cover letter can be a struggle. If that’s true for you, let the cover letter writing experts at ResumeSpice help. We can work with you to best describe what makes you uniquely qualified for a particular role, all so you can stand out from the crowd and secure an interview. Call 832.930.7378 today to learn more.

How to Write a Cover Letter That Will Get You Hired

For most job candidates, the only thing worse than writing a resume is crafting a cover letter. What are you supposed to say in it? How long should it be? What are hiring managers on the lookout for?

You have questions; at ResumeSpice, we have answers on how to write a cover letter. Here are some tried-and-true tips for creating a cover letter that will get you hired:

Customize it.

You know your resume should be tailored to each job to which you’re applying. So should your cover letter. If it’s not, there’s a good chance you’re doing more harm than good by submitting one. 

So, before you begin writing a cover letter for a job application, make sure you review the job description and jot down some of the key qualities the company is seeking. Also, do your homework – research the company online so you can gain an understanding of what they do and the market they serve. With this knowledge in place, you should have a better understanding of why you want to work there, why you’d be a good fit for the position, and how to communicate that in your cover letter.

Talk about benefits.

In other words, what can you do for the company? Tie your background to the specifics you’ve found out about the company and where you can make the biggest impact.

For instance, explain how you can help them achieve a certain goal, or how you have experience with a certain obstacle they’ve been facing. When hiring managers are reviewing your cover letter, they’ll be wondering why they should hire you. Connect the dots and make it easy by focusing on the company’s needs and how you can meet them.

Check the basics.

When you’re writing your cover letter, format is key. Make sure you address it to the correct person and that their name is spelled right. Also, make sure you reference the name of the company accurately, using the job description as a guide. If you use the wrong name, or spell it incorrectly, hiring managers will take notice.

Proofread it.

Another tip when you’re wondering how to make your cover letter stand out? Proofread it. Just as you would your resume, make sure you carefully review your letter before sending it out. Even better, ask a friend or relative to do the same, so they can catch any errors you might have missed.

Need more help on how to write a cover letter for a job?

Call in the experts at ResumeSpice. We can help you identify your key strengths, write about them effectively in your cover letter, and increase your odds for landing the interview – and the job. Contact us at 832.930.7378 to learn more about how to write a cover letter.

Why Is a Cover Letter Important?

In today’s day and age of job searching on social media, video interviewing, and applying through LinkedIn, you may be wondering whether a cover letter is really needed – or if it’s outdated? At ResumeSpice, we can tell you that a cover letter still has plenty of value, if you take the right approach.

That means you can’t regurgitate what’s on your resume, or copy and paste a boilerplate letter from the Internet. However, if you put the following tips into action, you can create a cover letter that gets noticed – and gets results.

Tip #1: Tell a story.

One of the best ways to make an impression on a hiring manager is to tell a story in your cover letter. For instance, have you been a fan of the company for a while, or always wanted to work there? If that’s the case, talk about what attracts you to the organization and what value you can add to it. Stories are unique and compelling ways to bring your experience to life and stand out to a hiring manager.

Tip #2: Talk about the contributions you can make.

Hiring managers want to know what’s in it for them if they hire you. So don’t talk about what a great opportunity the job would be for your career. Instead, talk about the challenges or opportunities you see at the company – and how you can make a positive difference if hired.

Tip #3: Focus on a key accomplishment.

Think about a career accomplishment that you’re 1) proud of and 2) that’s relevant to the company and job opportunity. Write about what you learned, how you went out about solving the problem or producing positive results, and how you can do the same for the hiring company. Whenever possible, use facts and figures to underscore your claims.

Tip #4: Don’t talk about what you don’t have.

If there’s a skill the job posting lists that you don’t have, don’t focus on it. Instead, discuss the skills and experience that you do have that are most relevant to the opportunity. If the skill gap is important to the hiring manager, they’ll ask you about it during the interview.

Tip #5: Follow the right format.

When you send a cover letter in, hiring managers are expecting a business letter; not a quick email with a couple of sentences followed by a smiley face emoji. So make sure you follow standard guidelines, including keeping it to one page, including your name and contact information, using a professional-looking font and type size, and proofreading it carefully to catch any errors and typos.

Do you need more tips and advice on cover letter writing? You’ve come to the right place. At ResumeSpice, we’re not only resume experts, but cover letter specialists too. We can help you craft a letter that puts your skills and experience in the best possible light – and helps you get that coveted interview call. Contact us today at 832.930.7378 to learn more.

 

200+ Action Verbs and Power Words to Include in Your Resume

Coming up with unique action verbs to start every resume bullet is no easy task. But it’s worth the time and effort to help add punch to your resume.

The team at ResumeSpice has compiled the ultimate list of resume action verbs – over 200 words that you will help your resume stand out in a sea of “Responsible for” bullets that HR and hiring managers are tired of reading.

accelerated
accomplished
accumulated
achieved
acquired
activated
adapted
adjusted
administered
advised
allocated
analyzed
annotated
anticipated
applied
appraised
arranged
articulated
assembled
assessed
assigned
authored
balanced
briefed
budgeted
built
catalogued
categorized
chaired
championed
clarified
cleared
coded
collaborated
collected
compared
compiled
completed
composed
computed
conducted
consolidated
constructed
contacted
continued
contracted
convened
conveyed
coordinated
corresponded
counseled
created
critiqued
decided
defined
delegated
delivered
demonstrated
derived
designed
designated
detected
determined
developed
devised
directed
distributed
downsized
drafted
edited
educated
effected
elicited
encouraged
enlisted
established
evaluated
examined
executed
exhibited
expanded
expedited
experienced
experimented
explained
explored
extended
facilitated
figured
financed
focused
forecasted
formed
formulated
fostered
founded
functioned
gained
generated
governed
grouped
guided
helped
identified
illustrated
immunized
implemented
improved
increased
indexed
informed
initiated
instituted
instructed
interpreted
interviewed
introduced
invented
investigated
judged
led
listened
maintained
managed
marketed
mastered
measured
mediated
merged
modeled
modified
molded
monitored
motivated
named
negotiated
observed
obtained
operated
ordered
organized
originated
outlined
oversaw
perceived
performed
persuaded
planned
planted
presented
presided
printed
processed
accelerated
accomplished
accumulated
achieved
acquired
activated
adapted
adjusted
administered
advised
allocated
analyzed
annotated
anticipated
applied
appraised
arranged
articulated
assembled
assessed
assigned
authored
balanced
briefed
budgeted
built
catalogued
categorized
chaired
championed
clarified
cleared
coded
collaborated
collected
compared
compiled
completed
composed
computed
conducted
consolidated
constructed
contacted
continued
contracted
convened
conveyed
coordinated
corresponded
counseled
created
critiqued
decided
defined
delegated
delivered
demonstrated
derived
designed
designated
detected
determined
developed
devised
directed
distributed
downsized
drafted
edited
educated
effected
elicited
encouraged
enlisted
established
evaluated
examined
executed
exhibited
expanded
expedited
experienced
experimented
explained
explored
extended
facilitated
figured
financed
focused
forecasted
formed
formulated
fostered
founded
functioned
gained
generated
governed
grouped
guided
helped
identified
illustrated
immunized
implemented
improved
increased
indexed
informed
initiated
instituted
instructed
interpreted
interviewed
introduced
invented
investigated
judged
led
listened
maintained
managed
marketed
mastered
measured
mediated
merged
modeled
modified
molded
monitored
motivated
named
negotiated
observed
obtained
operated
ordered
organized
originated
outlined
oversaw
perceived
performed
persuaded
planned
planted
presented
presided
printed
processed
produced
promoted
protected
provided
publicized
quantified
questioned
raised
recommended
recorded
recruited
reduced
rendered
reorganized
repaired
reported
represented
reproduced
researched
resolved
responded
restored
retained
retrieved
revamped
reviewed
revised
rewrote
routed
scheduled
searched
selected
served
screened
shaped
shared
showed
simplified
solicited
solved
sourced
specified
spoke
stimulated
streamlined
structured
studied
succeeded
summarized
supervised
supported
surpassed
syndicated
synthesized
targeted
taught
tested
tracked
trained
translated
tutored
updated
utilized
validated
verified
wrote
produced
promoted
protected
provided
publicized
quantified
questioned
raised
recommended
recorded
recruited
reduced
rendered
reorganized
repaired
reported
represented
reproduced
researched
resolved
responded
restored
retained
retrieved
revamped
reviewed
revised
rewrote
routed
scheduled
searched
selected
served
screened
shaped
shared
showed
simplified
solicited
solved
sourced
specified
spoke
stimulated
streamlined
structured
studied
succeeded
summarized
supervised
supported
surpassed
syndicated
synthesized
targeted
taught
tested
tracked
trained
translated
tutored
updated
utilized
validated
verified
wrote


If you would like to talk to a ResumeSpice career consultant about preparing a customized resume for you, please contact us today! We’d love to help you.

To Whom Should I Address My Cover Letter

You’ve just composed a beautiful cover letter. You’ve expressed your enthusiasm for the role and the hiring company, you’ve communicated what makes you uniquely qualified for the position, you’ve included the employee’s name who referred you to the role…you’ve diligently followed everything ResumeSpice preaches about writing cover letters.

Last, minor detail: to whom should you address your cover letter? Below are our suggestions, ranked in order from ideal to least effective:

Address the letter directly to the hiring manager (i.e., Mr. Wilson)

The ideal scenario is that you know the person’s name who is hiring for the role. You don’t? Ok, time to do some research. The first step is to search LinkedIn for the hiring manager’s name. Many roles list the hiring manager directly in the job posting. Next, check the company’s website to see if you can match the hiring manager to the person the role reports to, as outlined in the job description. Next, do you know someone at the company who can fill you in? Have you called into the company (without providing your name) and asked who the person is who is hiring for that role? It takes some effort and ingenuity, but addressing the letter directly to the hiring manager is one small factor that can help set your cover letter apart in a sea of generic applications.

Dear Hiring Manager:

When you’ve exhausted all options for uncovering the hiring manager’s name, the next best option is to address the letter “Dear Hiring Manager”. This salutation makes it clear who you’re trying to contact and is slightly less generic than the other options listed below.

To Whom It May Concern:

The perfect salutation when applying for a position that was posted before 1980. This was “the” catch-all salutation for the pre-Internet years, but in a business culture that, for better or for worse, has become progressively less formal, “To Whom It May Concern” seems conspicuously outdated.

Dear Sir/Madam:

Ideal for situations where you are applying to be someone’s butler. In all seriousness, we recommend avoiding this salutation 🙂

Interestingly, the results of a study by Saddleback College, in a survey of more than 2,000 companies, found that employers preferred the following greetings:

  • Dear Hiring Manager (40%)
  • To Whom It May Concern (27%)
  • Dear Sir/Madam (17%)
  • Dear Human Resources Director (6%)
  • Leave it blank (8%)

Hopefully the above information has helped shed some light on cover letter salutations. Need some help composing your cover letter? The team at ResumeSpice would love to help!

If you would like to talk to a career consultant about how to – ahem – spice up your cover letter, give ResumeSpice a call or contact us to chat with one of our consultants about how our professional services can help you.

Keys to Keeping Your Job Search in Perspective

At ResumeSpice, we know how exciting it can be to search for a new job – one that opens doors to new challenges and experiences. But we also know you can expect to encounter obstacles along the way, such as not hearing back from a hiring manager when you believe you’re the perfect candidate. It’s important to stay focused and motivated when your job search is seemingly stalled. If you maintain the right perspective, dealing with obstacles and uncertainties will be much easier. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate the job search journey:

Tailor your resume and cover letter.
If you aren’t landing interviews, this could be a sign that your resume/cover letter need to be customized. Recruiters and hiring managers can see through a generic resume and cover letter. Don’t panic—rewriting the documents isn’t typically necessary. However, it’s important to invest the time and effort to tailor your application. Review the job description and company website – and embed useful and relevant experiences that demonstrate you’re the perfect match for the position and company.

Be patient.
Don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back to your application right away. Hiring managers and recruiters have extremely busy schedules, so stay patient as you continue your search. Just when you think your application has landed on deaf ears – is when you oftentimes hear back.

Don’t pause your search until you’ve received the offer.
Even if you aced your interview and are 99.99% sure you’ll land the job, there’s still a .01% chance that you didn’t. Keep looking until you’ve received AND signed your official job offer letter.

Remember that you’re unique and so is your job search.
Avoid comparing yourself or your job search to other candidates and their job searches. You have a unique set of skills, and your job is to sell yourself to land a position in your field of interest.

If you’d like more help with your job search, don’t hesitate to reach out to the ResumeSpice team. Our resume writers and career consultants can assist you with your entire job search process—from resumes and LinkedIn profiles to interview preparation—and help you maintain the perspective you need to succeed in your job search.