How-To Write Your Own Killer Cover Letter

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Get more resume writing and cover letter tips, by downloading Blogging4Jobs’ FREE career toolkit including resume and coverletter templates.  Click here.  

There you are. Sitting in your chair, reading the headline of this blog post, wondering … “Really, do I even need a cover letter anymore?” And, the short answer is: Sometimes. There are some hiring managers that still want to read cover letters and require them as part of the screening process. You see, many people get assistance in writing their resumes, but the cover letter is often left up to the job seeker to write. Unassisted.

Cover letters give the reader insight into your personality, achievements and writing skills. So, just like your resume, be sure that your cover letter is free of grammatical errors. Here are a few other tips for writing your own killer cover letter.


When possible, address your cover letter to an actual person, then begin with a strong opening statement that demonstrates your interest in a specific job. I also like when candidates tell me where they saw the job posting, as it helps me gauge the ROI on advertising sources.

Dear Ms. Smith:

When I read ABC’s posting for a Human Resources Business Partner on LinkedIn, my interest was immediately sparked.

The cover letter is a great place to highlight some of your significant career accomplishments. Can you name three to five things that make you an awesome candidate? Good. Include them on your cover letter. Entice the hiring manager (or recruiter / HR generalist) to want to read more.

As a motivated human resources professional with more than XX years of experience working at DEFG Co., I contributed to the company’s success by:

  • Really significant accomplishment

  • Quantifiable career highlight

  • Huge project that put your name on the map

  • Major kudos received for doing this

Since you are essentially selling a company on why to choose you, your cover letter and resume become your most important marketing tools. Like any pitch, you want to close strong.

During my last review, the vice president referred to me as “a key member of the DEFG team … that delivers results and builds cohesion along the way.” As you can see from my background, I have the experience you are looking for in an HR Business Partner. In addition, I am very interested in becoming a key member of the ABC team and in speaking with you further. I can be reached at 301.XXX.XXXX.


1. Keep it short and sweet. No one wants or has time to read through a novella.
2. Include your heading at the top, similar to the one you use on your resume.
3. Read over it aloud a few times to ensure everything reads well.
4. Proofread it again and again; don’t rely on spell check to pick up all errors.

Have any other cover letter tips? Feel free to share them below.

Get more resume writing and cover letter tips, by downloading Blogging4Jobs’ FREE career toolkit including resume and coverletter templates.  Click here.  

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  1. Hi Shannon,

    Great article on cover letter content! You really did a terrific job laying out what should be included?

    Thank you!

  2. Dear Shannon,
    Thanks for the practical insights, great article indeed! Would love to read more especially guidance for people on how to apply after a sabbatical, as company normally doesn’t take it positively…
    Thanks & Regards
    Juhi Sharma

    • Hi Juhi — I will share that topic idea with some of our other bloggers. Thanks for the suggestion. Happy New Year! — Shannon

      Shannon Smedstad |
  3. And don’t ever forget to focus every communication on the needs of the recipient. This means to emphasize your strengths, skills, talents, accomplishments etc. that will “wow” the reader because these descriptions address their specific challenges and show how you can come up to speed immediately and do one of the following: increase revenues, lower costs, improve process.

    • Shannon and Debra –

      Good article and great points. I recently attended a career transition group and the career coach leading the discussions stated that a job seeker should customize their resume to fit each specific job, incorporating some of the key points you made. I was interested in your view on this.

      Roger |
  4. Hi Shannon!
    Happy New Year
    I really impressed from your tips for writing a cover letter.
    Kind regards for sharing with us your valuable efforts.

    Candrakant |
  5. Thanks very much Shannon – I often wonder just how much detail to include in a cover letter, how long it should be and how to ‘make the pitch’. You article provides insights into all.

    • I am not sure I am the best person to provide advice on an inquiry letter. That practice seems a bit out-dated, to me. Most companies advertise their opportunities, so I am not sure if they are necessary. Sorry I could not be more helpful.

      Shannon Smedstad |
  6. Great advice on writing cover letters, particularly about proofing and reproofing. It is amazing how often we over look a simple detail that can make a huge impact.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Shannon,
    Thank you for a much needed advice; I recently was laid-off due to restructuring, after working at the same company for more than 14 years. Your great insight is very much appreciated in a time I need it the most.
    Many Thanks,

    Maggie Muradian

    Maggie Muradian |
    • Thank you, Maggie. I’m not sure what industry or type of work you are looking for … but I certainly & sincerely wish you the best. My company is hiring, if you’d like to check us out:

      Shannon Smedstad |
  8. Shannon, thank you for your kind offer, I will certainly take a look. I was the Executive and Personal Assistant to Brad Korzen, CEO and Founder of Viceroy Hotel Group (formerly The Kor Group), hospitality management company.
    I am looking for any opportunities where my many talents and experience will add value to any executive team.

    I am on LinkedIn; may we connect ?

    Maggie Muradian |
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