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On the other hand, if it’s only one or two paragraphs, it’s unlikely that you’re making a compelling case for yourself as a candidate — not impossible, but unlikely.
I’ve read a lot of cover letters in my career — thousands of them, maybe even tens of thousands.
(If you’re thinking that sounds like really boring reading, you’re right.) And in them, I’ve seen job seekers make the same basic mistakes over and over.
The candidate had originally written, “I offer exceptional attention to detail, highly developed communication skills, and a talent for managing complex projects with a demonstrated ability to prioritize and multitask.” That’s pretty boring and not especially convincing, right?
(This is also exactly how most people’s cover letters read.) In her revised version, she wrote this instead: “In addition to being flexible and responsive, I’m also a fanatic for details — particularly when it comes to presentation.
If you’re still stumped, pretend you’re writing an email to a friend about why you’d be great at the job.
You probably wouldn’t do that by stiffly reciting your work history, right?
Instead, that you are those things by talking about accomplishments and experiences that show it.
Here’s a concrete example taken from one extraordinarily effective cover-letter makeover that I saw.
Your cover letter is supposed to give a window into those things. Most cover letters break that rule — seriously, about 98 percent of them — and it’s such a huge waste of an opportunity!
Your initial application is going to be a few pages at best (in most cases, a one- or two-page résumé and a one-page cover letter).