Four Cover Letter Secrets That Will Open Doors

by Wheatman, Debra Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Contact Us
Washington, DC
phone: 202-338-2288
888-272-3775
Send email
About Us
Sending a résumé without a cover letter is like driving at night without your lights on. (You know, you will get a ticket for that!) So what are the dynamics of an effective cover letter? How can you determine the major points and entice recruiters and hiring managers to take a closer look?

The Salutation: If you know the hiring manager’s name, use it; this is always preferable than the all too common: “To whom it may concern.” Who does it concern, anyway? The salutation should read: “Dear Mr. Manes” or “Dear Ms. Singer.” Given the availability of information online, let your fingers do the walking – do the research to get a name. I know what you are thinking: “Well, how do I get a name if everything is totally anonymous?” Ok, I get it. No information? Nada? You can go with one of the following: ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, or ‘Dear Hiring Manager’.


Opening Statement: A good cover letter should begin with reference to the opportunity you are pursuing. From there, provide a few relevant attributes you bring to the table. This information must be compelling enough to immediately engage the reader.

For example:


As a highly experienced leader in six sigma process engineering, I am writing to express my interest in the {Title of Job} opportunity listed on your corporate website. Throughout my career, I have consistently improved processes and procedures within the manufacturing sector while promoting a team environment based on dedication and loyalty.

Hook Them: In the second paragraph of the cover letter, focus on the specifics of what you have accomplished. Highlight unique contributions and emphasize achievements that demonstrate your value relative to the role.


Add a list of bullets to show specific accomplishments. This information should complement your résumé, not repeat what is already there.


For example:

As the Senior Production Manager of ABC Company, I refine procedures to optimize workflow on a daily basis. By developing and instituting a comprehensive process management program, I played a pivotal role in reducing costs by 60% and increasing profitability by 30%.

Here are some examples of bullets you might include:

§ Applied Lean Six Sigma principles, which improved product quality by 37%.

§ Implemented spare parts stocking plans for machining, conveyance, and sub-assembly systems.

§ Increased overall shift productivity by 11%, with a 23% reduction in job repairs and rework.

Close Them: Let the firm know you understand their business needs. (This information is easily obtained by visiting the website or reading an industry publication.) Summarize your value briefly and suggest a meeting or let them know you will be in touch at a specific time. If you go this route, follow through.

Cover letters are a powerful and sometimes overlooked marketing tool. Whether you send one as a formal letter, an email, or uploading to a database, the cover letter is essential to increase your visibility. It is a ‘must have’ for a successful ride on your road to a new career opportunity!