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Top 9 Cover Letter Tips for 2014

Wondering what 2014 holds for your job search? A new year is always so motivating and inspiring. It’s the time we like to start over and begin afresh. If you’re in a job search this new year, then I encourage you to check out my top tips for writing a cover letter in 2014.

Be CreativeCover letter tips 2014

I can’t tell you how many cover letters I’ve read that all start with “Please accept this … in response to … that I saw in …”

Yawn, and pass right over that one on to the next one. If you’re going to write a cover letter (and you should—see my next point), why not open with a compelling introduction! Who are you? What’s your connection to this employer or position? What do you offer them that no other candidate offers? Think outside the “please accept this … in response to” box.

Write One Regardless

There’s lots of speculation circulating around the value of a cover letter—if it’s needed, and if it’s even read by anyone. I hear from job seekers every week that ask me if they really need a cover letter. The answer to that is YES. Yes, you do need a cover letter. Not every recruiter or employer may read it; but if half of them do read it, and half of them expect one—then you’d better make sure you’re providing one. Plus, a cover letter has a lot of value. Keep reading to find out why.

You Can Explain Yourself

One of the best parts about using a cover letter is that you have an opportunity to explain yourself and any challenges or obstacles you may be facing. Great examples are: relocating, gaps in employment, career changes, major transitions … and the list is endless. You can share with the employer what you can’t share in a resume—and thereby proactively address any questions they may have when they read your resume.

Be Personal

A cover letter is an opportunity to express your interest in a position. It goes beyond: “I just want this job because I need a job.” Why do you really want this position? Have you admired this company or this opportunity? Why? What is it about this position that particularly draws you to it? Where’s the connection? One of the best cover letters I’ve ever read was for an interior designer who was seeking a position with a particular design firm. One of my writers created a line within the cover letter that really spoke about the client and her passion with the work the design firm created. We specifically addressed this personal connection in the cover letter we developed for her. It was moving, impactful, and made the personal connection.

Don’t Copy Your Resume

Your cover letter should not copy word-for-word bullets or text from your resume. If you want to share certain accomplishments that are also contained within your resume that’s fine, but present them differently on your cover letter, and use the opportunity to elaborate on each one since you don’t have that flexibility in your resume. Leverage the usefulness of your cover letter to convey information that you otherwise could not on your resume.

Commit to Customize

It’s so important to customize your cover letter as you apply to different positions. It doesn’t have to take hours; and you don’t have to rewrite a whole new cover letter. You can make changes to the position title, change the bullets so that only the most relevant are included, and change what you’re most drawn to about the opportunity or what the “connection” is between your experience and the opportunity.

Match It to Your Resume

When we create a cover letter for a client we utilize the same header and branding that we incorporate into the resume. The design, font, and branding statement all match and are on both documents. Presenting a polished, coordinated, and branded job search package shows attention to detail and reinforces your professional brand.

Close With a Call to Action

Don’t just close out and say: “I hope to hear from you soon.” Invite them to contact you; give them the best number to reach you and/or let them know that you’ll reach out to them in one week to follow up. Looking for some great examples of action closes? Check out this article I found after a simple online search: Any of these endings can be customized to the specific position and organization you’re applying to. Note that action closes have more impact. I do not recommend a no-action end to your cover letter.

When You’re Done, Copy and Paste

When you’re done writing, editing, and customizing your cover letter, don’t attach it to the e-mail when you apply! I realize that you don’t always have the e-mail address to submit your resume and cover letter to, but when given the opportunity to submit your documents via e-mail, copy and paste the cover letter into the body of the e-mail instead of attaching it. This ensures your cover letter will be read. Whenever writers apply to work with me, those that took the time to thoughtfully construct an e-note or paste the cover letter into the body of the e-mail are the ones I always find myself compelled to read. Who doesn’t read the e-mail message that comes with the resume? If you attach it, the hiring manager may not open the cover letter—and instead go straight for the resume. But you can ensure your cover letter will be read if you copy the content and paste it into the body of the e-mail.

Do you have a great cover letter tip that I haven’t shared here? I’d love to hear it! Feel free to comment below with your best cover letter tip for 2014.

WANT TO WORK WITH US? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rate—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at or contact us for more information if you have any questions.


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


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