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Career Advice

How To Write A Job-Winning Cover Letter

Posted by Heather Huhman

January 7, 2014

160454751The Golden Globes are less than a week away, and we're getting ready to see who's going to impress America with their talent, experience and best work.

Just like the stars who are preparing to showcase their work from the last year, you need to start preparing a job-winning cover letter for your job search. Your cover letter is your first chance to give employers a sneak preview of what you have to offer as a professional; you want to vividly paint a picture of your experience for your audience. And if you really want to pique their interest, you must give them a cover letter that will leave them wanting more.

To create a dazzling cover letter that will "wow" employers, check out these job-winning cover letter tips:

Customize everything to your audience.

Employers want to know how you can help the company grow and accomplish its goals. The key to writing a “wow”-worthy cover letter is taking the time to customize it to each job for which you're applying. Regardless of how tedious or time-consuming this process may be, it's what's going to set you apart from other job seekers.

When writing your cover letter, make sure to use accomplishment stories related to the job posting and company. If there is a particular qualification or value the company emphasizes, do your best to relate your experience to those needs. Employers want to learn if there's a chance you could be the right fit by reading your cover letter. The only way you're going to stand out is if you're able to relate your skills and experience to the position and the company's mission.

Let your passion shine through.

Something many job seekers tend to leave out of their cover letter is their passion. It's important to let employers know why you're passionate about your career because it shows them you’ll be an invested employee.

Don't be afraid to share why your profession is the best path for you and how your passion will contribute to the success of the employer. Plus, when you share your passion in your cover letter, you're giving the employer a taste of your personality and your possible fit for their culture.

Sell your soft skills.

When you submit your resume and cover letter to an employer, you're selling your experience and skills. Your resume should showcase your technical skills and experience, whereas your cover letter should provide an in-depth illustration of some of your accomplishments.

When writing your cover letter, be sure to share a story that illustrates a soft skill and how it helped you reach success. For example, you should share how your ability to lead a team helped increase sales at a previous job. By showing employers what you have to offer in addition to your technical skills, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from other candidates.

Be personal and relatable.

Employers want to hear your story and how it relates to the job opening. Just as mentioned earlier about customizing your cover letter to meet an employer's qualifications, you also want it to relate to your audience. Writing a cover letter is just like telling a story -- if you truly want to relate to an employer, you need to add a personal touch to it. Don't be afraid to share your passions or an anecdote from your journey. Explain to the employer how and why you're the perfect fit for the company. This will help you leave a lasting first impression with the reader.

Above all, be honest and transparent.

While everyone loves a good story, you need to make sure your story isn't outrageous or unbelievable. Many job seekers are tempted to talk up their experience and skills in a cover letter, however, it's important you don't fall into this trap. As you write your cover letter, don't advertise skills you can't offer. Make sure your cover letter is as genuine and transparent as possible. This will help you build credibility and convince employers you are the best candidate for the position.

Anyone can write a job-winning cover letter. By focusing on your accomplishments, passions, and soft skills, you’ll be able to catch the attention of employers and land a job.

What tips do you have for writing a job-winning cover letter?