HOME Resumes Cover letters Interviews Other topics Canadian Bookshop US Bookshop UK Bookshop

Other articles:
Putting a Spin on Work Experience

Claims & Credibility -- The Essence of Selling

Improve your ability to communicate the value you offer an employer with Gary Will's book How to Prepare for an Employment Interview -- now available by e-mail in Microsoft Word Format.

Sample chapters:
2. Is Preparation Even Possible?
7. What You Need to Know About Business

14. Asking Questions -- An Essential and Overlooked Step

Tips on Writing a Persuasive Cover Letter
Part [1][2 [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Part One: Writing a Persuasive Cover Letter

For many people, cover letters are an annoyance they'd be quite happy to avoid. People frequently ask me "Do I have to send a cover

letter with my resume?" -- nearly always in the hope they'll hear that in their particular case a cover letter is unnecessary ... that they'll do just as well sending only their resume to prospective employers.

But I can't tell them -- or you -- that. Perhaps the reason this question is so common is because so many cover letters are indeed a waste of paper. It's perfectly reasonable to wonder if you have to include a letter when you're going to say little more than "here's my resume; hope to hear from you soon."

Even the term "cover letter" suggests a mere formality -- just a cover for the real material you're sending.

But you can do much better than that. A cover letter is an opportunity to tap into an individual employer's aspirations and anxieties. Your resume is about you, but employers don't really care about you. They care about what you can do for them -- the problems you can help them solve and the opportunities you can help them take advantage of.

The cover letter is your opportunity to go beyond the resume and its focus on the past and other employers and talk about what the reader cares most about -- themselves. It is a sales letter, and all good sales letters are written with the reader's interests foremost in mind.

If you're mailing your resume to an employer, you should always include a cover letter. Always.

You should customize the letter as much as possible to the needs of the particular employer you're contacting. This means you will usually avoid generic cover letters -- letters that you could send to any employer you have an interest in. Instead, you'll make the effort to write a letter that addresses the specific concerns of each individual employer. You'll probably be able to use certain parts of your letter over and over, particularly when you're approaching very similar businesses, but you want to customize whenever you can.

Customizing requires thinking about the company, their customers, and the work you see yourself doing. It means imagining yourself in the position and the situations you'd be facing, and figuring out the abilities and traits you possess that are important for success.

For any position, there are two types of skills: core skills that any serious applicant will be expected to have, and a much broader range of skills that would be useful to the employer but go beyond the basic requirements. You have to spend some time thinking about both types. Having the first kind gets you in the game; the second will make you stand out from the competition.

Your letter should be as close to a business proposal as you can get -- not a plea for an interview. What do you offer that's of value? What objectives can you help them achieve? Try to focus on their needs -- what they want to buy rather than what you'd like to sell.

Read More About Writing a Persuasive Cover Letter:

  • 2. Writing the letter Read it here
  • 3. Open quickly ... with a difference Read it here
  • 4. Finish with a call to action Read it here
  • 5. Some strategies for responding to advertised positions Read it here
  • 6. Salary expectations Read it here
  • 7. Format, paper, and other basics Read it here
  • 8. Sample letter #1 -- Robert McCarthy Read it here
  • 9. Sample letter #2 -- Carol Gainer Read it here
  • 10. Sample letter #3 -- Norman Waite Read it here
  • 11. Final word
    The problem with all guides to resumes and cover letters is that they may make you believe there are absolute rules which must be followed.... Read it here

  • How to Prepare For An Employment Interview
    by Gary Will
    Read the entire book online or
    order your ad-free ebook
    (sent to you as a Word file)
    for only US$10
    and receive 3 free bonuses
    More info here...


    1. "Selling yourself" at an employment interview
    2. Is preparation even possible?
    3. The interview isn't about YOU -- it's about the employer
    4. Soothing the employer's anxieties
    5. Preparing for the interview -- an overview
    6. THE COMPANY: The information you'll want and where to look for it
    7. What you should know about business
    8. THE POSITION: How will you make a contribution?
    9. Preparing to answer
    10. What kind of person are you?
    11. Approaches to answering some common questions
    12. Some questions to practise
    13. Anticipating employers' concerns
    14. Asking questions -- an essential and overlooked step
    15. Going all out for the offer ... and why we hold back
    16. How to handle salary questions
    17. Beyond the answers -- image and presentation
    18. Using written materials & presentation visuals
    19. How to prepare your references
    20. Recent developments in interview formats
    21. Reviewing the interview
    22. Following up without being a pest
    23. Some final thoughts
    24. U.S.: Recommended books
    25. Canada: Recommended books
    26. UK: Recommended books
    27. HOME PAGE
    28. Order an ad-free copy of this book

    Web www.garywill.com