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An Outstanding Cover Letter: You Need One, Too

By Carla Vaughan

There is nothing that can compare to an outstanding cover letter. If you want to get an employer’s attention, you will need cover letter that demands their attention.

The cover letter is the first thing that an employer is going to read. It is the precursor to the resume. If the cover letter doesn’t command the attention of the reader right away, then you only have the resume left to do so. Sure, the resume will outline your educational and experiential background, but it doesn’t afford the flexibility of a cover letter.

An outstanding cover letter gives you an opportunity to tailor your credentials in a way that the resume does not. You are able to explain situations so that the employer understands why, for instance, you have a 2 year gap in your employment dates. You can expound on a specific skill set. You can outline a situation that shows the employer how accomplished you are. There is so much more that an outstanding cover letter can do.

Do not underestimate the importance of an outstanding cover letter.

Remember that a cover letter is short and to the point. If at all possible, keep the cover letter to one page. Keep it professional, but be sure to sell yourself, too.

Map out the information you want to place in each section, then go back through and fine tune it. Don’t try to write brilliantly from the salutation to the signature in the first draft. Revise it each time you go through it.

An outstanding cover letter is also tailored to the employer’s needs. If the ad you read states that the employer is looking for someone with three years of managerial experience, then you need to include something in your cover letter that states you have managerial experience. If you do not have that much experience, show the employer how much you have learned and how quickly you learned it. Let the employer know that you are determined to be successful.

Once you think you have everything the way you want it in your cover letter, proofread it. You can say everything an employer wants to hear, but if your cover letter is loaded with spelling and grammar errors, you will not get anywhere.

Making sure your cover letter is error-free is definitely one step in the right direction. You want to get an interview, right? An outstanding cover letter requires some time and thought up front, but the payback is that awesome job you really want.

Carla Vaughan

Carla is the owner of, a web site devoted to assisting candidates in the job-search process. She holds a B.S. in Business from Southern Illinois University and has authored several books.

For more information about cover letters, follow this link to The Cover Letter Guideline

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