Executive Resumes & Career Transition Strategies Blog

Reflections of an Executive Resume Writer
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Add Sizzle to a Boring Cover Letter

Add Sizzle to Your Cover LettersCover letters can either excite a potential employer or bore him or her to tears.

A current executive resume writing client asked me for a few quick tips on adding some sizzle to his cover letters, and here is what I told him.

A major reason that your cover letter may be boring is that your language makes you come across as pompous or nineteenth century.

Avoid overly formal or stilted language!

By all means do not address the letter “To Whom It May Concern.”

Other mistakes that are sure to glaze over the eyes of your readers include:

  1. Making It All About You Instead of Them.
    Avoid talking excessively about your desires and goals versus what the employer wants and needs. This makes you appear self-centered! Avoid overuse of the “I” pronoun.
  2. Failing to Match Your Qualifications Closely with the Requirements of the Role.
    Writing generic hype about your skills and expertise instead of addressing how you are specifically a good match for the position is guaranteed to bore your reader.
  3. Lack of Evidence You Know About the Company and Its Industry.
    People like to know that you have an interest in and care about their company and their industry. If you do not demonstrate you have researched these things, interest will wane.
  4. No Information About WIFM (What’s In It For Me) If They Were to Hire You.
    All good marketing copy focuses on answering the WIFM question, and it is no different with the self-marketing you are doing with your cover letter.
  5. Passivity.
    Close your letter with a call to action, just as all good marketing copy does. Be sure to indicate how and when you intend to follow up.

There are many other elements that are important to crafting a strong cover letter. For more information, see my previous articles below:

8 Ways Your Cover Letter Could Be Sabotaging You

Addressing Your Cover Letters: Do You Come Across as Nineteenth Century?

Are Cover Letters Obsolete?


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