Cover Letter

'Career Rehab' Countdown: Cover Letter Rehab

'Career Rehab' Countdown: Cover Letter Rehab
Cover letter rehab image from Bigstock

As part of our countdown to the launch of our new show "Career Rehab," we have put together a series of posts that focus on common career and job search problems.

Today's question:

"Cover letters have never really been my thing. I never know how to make myself sound good without sounding like I'm bragging. How can I do this?" - Anonymous

Here's what our approved career experts had to say about bragging in your cover letter:

Focus on High Points

"It is bragging, at least partially. Take the time to talk about how well you fit the position requirements and touch on a few high points from your resume (facts relating to your impact on increasing revenue or decreasing expenses are particularly valuable here)." (Ben Eubanks)

Talk About Your Impact

"Cover letters are your chance to match your experience/skills with what an employer needs. It's not bragging when you specifically link your impact in previous jobs to how you can help the new employer." (Julie Erickson)

Beware of TMI

"First, keep it brief no one wants to hear TMI. My rule of thumb is to give 3 hard hitting results with very little extra commentary to go with it. Think of your cover letter like an appetizer and not an entire meal." (Dorothy Tannahill-Moran)

Use the T-Bar Format

"Try using the "T-Bar" letter format to quickly align your skills and experience with the job announcement/employer's requirements. Begin with an opening statement that tells the reader why you are applying; create two columns with the job requirements on the left and the actual skills and experience you have that match the requirements on the right; end by requesting an interview and providing your call back information." (Norine Dagliano)

Stick to the Facts

"The best way to avoid sounding like your bragging is to use factual examples. For example, rather than stating 'I am an expert in customer relations' (which sounds like your bragging), use examples and qualitative evidence to promote yourself as the expert." (Gavin Redelman)

Make It About Them

"Believe me, focusing on how you would help the business grow makes it all about the prospective employer, not about yourself. You convey how you can make money or save money for the company." (Roshni P. Kumar)

Put Your Best Foot Forward

"You should be bragging in a cover letter. You want to put your best foot forward. Make sure that what you write in your cover letter shows exactly why you are a great fit for the exact position for which you are applying." (Bud Bilanich)

Be Short and Sweet

"Don’t talk about yourself. The employer does not care what you want, she cares about what she wants. Cover letters should be short, sweet, and to the point. In the first paragraph, note the position you are applying for and where you heard about it. In the second, state the one accomplishment you have had that speaks to the job and sets you apart from everyone else. Next, if you are responding to an ad, answer any questions asked. Reference the resume. Thank them. And you are done." (Bruce Hurwitz)

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