The art of writing an interview generating cover letter

The art of writing an interview generating cover letter

Your resume and cover letter should sell you, not just state facts.

When conducting a job search, your cover letter and resume are in a pile for the decision-maker to review, along with hundreds of other cover letters and resumes submitted by other hopeful individuals.

The odds that YOUR resume and cover letter are first on the pile are about a million to one! This means the decision-maker has probably scanned X number of cover letters (and resumes) before reaching yours.

With that in mind, I recommend that you never start the cover letter with the sentence used in so many other letters:

” I read with interest your posting for Executive Assistant on, I am enclosing my resume for your review.”


The decision-maker probably just read this same (or very similar) sentence about five dozen times.

Remember, you want to GRAB the decision-maker’s attention and SELL yourself to them.

Since the cover letter is designed to market you to potential employers, don’t state the obvious. If the cover letter does not create a sense of excitement and entice the reader, it is a waste of your time for writing it and a waste of time for the reader reading it.

Keep track of how many times you use the words “I” and/or “my”. After you write the letter, take a pen and circle all the I’s and my’s in the letter: more than five? Time to re-write some of the sentences.

Here’s an illustration of how to do that: instead of writing

I am looking for an opportunity for advancement with a new employer. My background is in executive assistance and I feel well-qualified for the Personal Assistant position with your company”

you can write,

“A background in executive assistance and proven record of supporting CEO’s and Managing Directors as a Personal Assistant are key elements in qualifying me for consideration as part of your team.”

Remember the PURPOSE of the cover letter:

  • to highlight your background in the right light,
  • sell your skills,
  • and show the potential employer you are worthy of an interview.

Explaining what you WANT throughout the letter doesn’t tell the reader the BENEFIT of what you can offer, which is imperative for you to be successful.

One of the techniques I like to use in cover letters is to pull out achievements from the resume and mention them in bullet form with the letter. This creates a great focus point for readers’ eyes and draws their attention immediately to your strengths. Here is an example:

A sample of my achievements as Executive Assistant for XYZ Corp include:

  • First out of 20 administrative assistants promoted to CEO Executive Assistant, within 5 months.
  • Implemented a more effective system for the management of meetings by incorporating an interactive calendar for all Executive Assistants and Administrative staff.
  • Successfully produced a detailed and error free 50-page company annual report in 2015.

To make your cover letter really work, ensure you include the following:

  • Show how you are a match for a position by including all of the requirements in the original job posting and noting your expertise and qualifications in these areas.
  • Industry-specific keywords.
  • Provide specific ways you might be able to help the prospective employer.
  • Persuade employers that you are the best candidate for the position!

In short, your cover letter is to whet the appetite of your prospective employers so that they want to learn more about you. Remember your goal is to effectively market yourself, not to author your employment biography.

Lisa Mahar

Lisa Mahar is a Resume Writer and Job Search Coach. She is also the founder of Meritude Career Services, a company on which helps professionals master their job search. When she's not indulging in a new book or travelling, she's thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers.


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