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Write Cover Letters As If Your Job Depends On It (Because It Does)

We often find writing a cover letter difficult because we have just a few sentences to sell ourselves and show we understand the wants and needs of a specific company. Career coach Marty Nemko suggests the key is to write your cover letters as if your job depends on it — because it does.

Photo by Alexandar Iotzov (Shutterstock).

That’s not to say you should sound desperate, but that you need to be honest. Marty offers this example:

Undoubtedly, you’ll be tempted to toss this application because I don’t have the experience nor a bachelor’s degree. Nevertheless, I’m hoping you’ll read this letter.

People always tell me that my ability to learn quickly, work hard and ethically, and be liked by everyone makes me a great employee. Indeed, I’ve been successful at nearly everything I’ve done. For example, I assembled and led a team that built a boat we’ve since sailed on a 200-mile trip. As fundraising chair of my sorority, I helped us to break all records for most money raised in a year. As reservationist at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, I got top evaluations and have been offered a slot in its management training program. But I’m planning to turn that offer down because I’m much more excited about working for you — What could be more important than products that improve health? Plus, your products have a wonderful reputation.

The example goes on further and is a bit longer than we might recommend nowadays, but nonetheless illustrates how an aggressive and honest approach can work without coming across as desperate for work. The key thing to remember? Don’t hold back.

A Cover Letter Hail Mary [US News]