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Never send a bare executive resume--your cover letter should add color and speak of your desire for the role

Never Send a Naked Executive Resume, or, Why Write Cover Letters?

Never Send a Naked Executive Resume

or, Why Write Cover Letters?

Cover letters are those documents that typically accompany the executive resume you send out to prospective hiring teams. If we assume that the audience for your executive resume are humans (feel free to ask me about why applying online is 100% time wasted), then cover letters have two audiences: one is people who read cover letters, and one is people who don’t read cover letters. Read on to learn how to write a cover letter that gets your resume noticed.

What does this principle of having two audiences for your cover letter really mean? It means you have to have a cover letter, because you should never send a naked resume. But the truth is, you don’t know if your audience is going to read it, so if there is even a small chance they might read your cover letter, then you should have a good one.

Never send a bare executive resume--your cover letter should add color and speak of your desire for the role

Never send a bare executive resume–your cover letter should add color and speak of your desire for the role

What makes a good cover letter? First, a good cover letter to start out is not a generic “here I am, and I’m ready to apply for this job. I read it in an online job that there’s this job available and you could consider me.” That message is impersonal and bland. To get more personal and to ensure that your cover letter resonates with your audience, you have to start thinking about what the job specifically is asking for and infuse some of your background with respect to your audience’s expectations in this cover letter.

As you mention relevant points from your executive career history, highlight the key achievements that you think are going to be relevant to this particular audience — in the context of what this company is expecting. So don’t even start to put pen to paper until you have done some research on the company and the role as well as have thought about culture fit, language choice, and all the factors that are going to appeal to your audience.

Quite recently, I was writing a cover letter for an outside sales leader. The job posting was truly revealing. The language was something like this: “Have tattoos? Great! Show off your ink. Like to come in with pink hair? Great! We love color.” Clearly, this audience is a little bit looser, friendlier, less buttoned-up than say a company that merely says “Please submit your salary requirements.” You can learn more about the company culture, beyond how the job posting reads, on the company website, specifically the “about us” section.

One other key element you need to include in your cover letter, typically after you describe your expertise, is the two “asks.” In other words, your cover letter is meant to introduce your resume so you want to invite your reader a) to look at your resume for additional information, and b) to ask for the interview. You don’t ask for the interview because it’s expected; you asked for it because it matters to you, and you want your audience to connect with the fact that you care about getting this interview.

In conclusion, you have to have a cover letter because you don’t know if your audience is going to read it or not, you know not to send a naked resume. As you prepare your letter, always let them know you are passionate about what you are asking for, because your enthusiasm for the role will be critical to their interpretation of your candidacy.

Different Types of Cover Letters and How they Compare to E-Note

5 Types of Cover Letters and When to Use Them vs. Using E-Note

Which of the styles of cover letters is right for your job search?

Different types of cover letters? Isn’t one enough? Providing a great cover letter can be tough, and now we also need to know which type to use? Yes, yes you do. The correct type of cover letter will show that you REALLY know your stuff. We will also discuss E-Note. Haven’t heard of it? Maybe you have just never tried it? Let’s get familiar with all things cover letter.

Types of Cover Letters

Different types of cover letters are available to serve different purposes. Instead of thinking of it as another obstacle in the path of your desired job, think of the different types as tools. What good is a toolbox with only one tool? We need a variety to get the job done. Don’t use your cover letter as another way to reiterate your resume. Use it to show your assets and what makes you unique.

Let’s look at these tools in more detail:

Application Cover Letter. This is the one that you are probably the most familiar with. You use this to apply for a job opening that you know exists and that is hiring. Be sure to use a proper introduction and closing in a true professional letter format.

Interest Cover Letter. If you are trying to determine if there is an opening at the company this is the one for you. It is also called a prospecting letter. By taking the initiative and sending a cover letter and your resume you open the door and show them that you’re available and interested in working for their company.

Referral Cover Letter. Name dropping can actually be a good thing, at least when applying for a position. If you know someone who can offer a referral that could make a difference in you getting that coveted interview, don’t be afraid to use it. Of course, always be sure that you have permission to do so. Ensuring they will give you a good reference is also very important.

Job Promotion Cover Letter. If you are well overdue for a raise or promotion, it may be time to submit a job promotion letter. Be sure to lay out your reasoning in a well-written cover letter. You may also include an updated resume. Discuss any skills, additional training, etc. that they may have overlooked.

Networking Cover Letter. This type of cover letter can serve as a letter of recommendation to a company that may or may not be hiring. This letter will introduce you to a company illustrating your past experience. The neat thing here is that these letters can be written by other individuals who may be in the position to recommend you for a job.

E-Note vs. Cover Letter

So now that you are up to speed on the most common types of cover letters, let’s throw in on more up and coming star, the E-Note. If you have been in the job market for very long, you have probably pondered the question of whether or not the e-note is replacing the traditional cover letter. Is seems to be more of a personal preference than a rule. What type of application you are submitting may play a large role in that decision also. The e-note is best when applying through email or through a social media contact. It also has many advantages, such as:

Attention grabbing subject lines – Something like “Jane Doe asked me to contact you.” The name drop will create a connection and help you stand out.

Short and Concise– In doing an e-note you are able to cut the length in half making it quick and easy to read. Odds of your note being read increase the more polished and direct the note is. Think about the usual length of an email.

Side note: Remember not to attach it to the e-mail; you will want the e-note to be the body of the e-mail.

Be Interactive- Be sure to include links to places online where the employer can find additional information about you. Using helps like a link to your LinkedIn profile will save them time and give them a direct path to your professional background. You could also guide them to your Twitter, Professional Blog, Online portfolio, etc.

With technology changing every day, so does the way we search for employment. We need to learn new skills and methods of making contact so that we are not left behind. When used correctly, the e-note certainly has an important place in applying for a position.

In Summary:

A traditional cover letter follows the format of the formal business letter. An E-note is a message typed in the body of an email sent with your resume attached and has no additional cover letter. E-notes differ also in that they are easier to skim—short and concise.

Keep in mind that E-notes are relatively new and follow emerging technology trends. They may not be most desirable format in every situation. Use your best judgement. The same Cover Letter will not work for every position applied for. You will need to be flexible and study up on the prospective job, advertisement, or reference before making a decision about which letter is most appropriate. Now that you have all the necessary information, you will be able to do just that!

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Cover Letters: Don’t Make these Obvious Mistakes

Cover Letters: Don’t Make these Obvious Mistakes

Cover letters can feel like frustrating roadblocks standing between you and the perfect job. Even if your resume is sharp and ready, there remains the dreaded cover letter. Here are some tips to simplify the task.

No Pressure, But…It’s Got to be Good

Love it or hate it, the cover letter is critical to landing that first interview. It should be attention-getting, unique, and give the potential employer at least a little sample of your personality. It needs to be tailored to YOU, what YOU bring to the table. It cannot be a cookie cutter design that is the same for every position applied for, not if you want to get the job! Even though all of this is not new information, achieving that result may still elude you. What will set your letter apart from the rest?Inline image 1

Be Sure to Leave These Out of Your Letter

To get attention for all of the right reasons, don’t include the following items in your cover letter:

  1. Anything that is untrue. It’s not worth it, facts can be checked.
  2. Salary requirements or expectations. Your cover letter is not the time or place for this information.
  3. A totally boring greeting. Do you start your cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager”? If so, you’re doing it wrong. This shows that you didn’t take your time; you need to do your homework. If there is any way possible, know the name of the person that will be receiving your resume and cover letter.
  4. Explanations for leaving past employment or any negative comments about a current or past employer. Just about any way that you could speak of such things will sound like a justification or excuse. Just avoid this topic on the cover letter.
  5. Desperate pleadings for the job. Of course you are interested, that’s why you are applying. You don’t need to come across as overly grateful for their time. You are worth it and you should come across as such.
  6. Paragraphs that are too long. You don’t want the Employers to skip over your cover letter because it is too time-consuming to read. You should have no more than three sentences in each paragraph that include about 5 lines of text.
  7. Grammar and spelling errors. Enough said.
  8. Boring opening sentences. Don’t repeat the position you are applying for, they know. You need to try starting with something that will get their attention, something different, such as, “I’ve wanted to work in a technology based field for as long as I can remember. I am fascinated by the speed in which things are progressing and I want to be a part of the movement.” Or maybe something like: “Over the past five years with my previous/current employer, I personally increased our average sales by….” Draw their attention and keep it on you.
  9. All of your experience and skills. Your cover letter is not where you want to list details about your skills and experience; your resume will take care of that. Your cover letter should only highlight your background and personality. True, you might still mention skills that make you a good candidate for the position, but you should weave those around displays of your personality and enthusiasm.
  10. Useless personal information. There is such a thing as too much information when it comes to cover letter writing. Don’t feel the need to share personal information or facts not pertaining to the position. You don’t want to make the wrong impression. Don’t give them so much to sift through that they miss out on your most compelling qualifications.

Your cover letter is a key element in the process of applying for employment. Though sometimes it is not required as part of the application process, it is always a great way to introduce yourself to a prospective employer. If the option is yours, submit one. What have you got to lose? A well-written cover letter could be the basis for a decision on whether or not to interview you personally. It could make all the difference and put you at a distinct advantage against your fellow applicants. Give them a little sample of who you are. Personalize yourself in their eyes. They are sure to be intrigued as they turn the page and begin to read your resume.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of tiniroma at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For Immediate Release: Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters e-Book

For Immediate Release

Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters e-Book

Now Available on Kindle

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (February 25, 2013). Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, Salt Lake City, UT, is proud to announce that Amy L. Adler, CEO, published Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters on Amazon.com in Kindle format.

Amy L. Adler, first-place winner of the Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Award for Best Executive Resume, announced today that she has published Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters. This concise, inexpensive, and accessible e-book contains Adler’s top-secret techniques for determining your next job and writing the resume that gets you there. This new e-book promotes the best career transition strategies and the most powerful resume writing techniques available.

Six interactive worksheets give every reader the chance to implement Adler’s strategy right away. Job seekers who need to identify the right job titles, the right resume formats, and the right cover letters to win interviews need to read this book. Says Adler, “The economy is tough. If job seekers are unemployed, or underemployed, they need access to the right techniques that will give them the same chance to achieve the interviews they need. This e-book levels the playing field.”

Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters
Only $0.99 at
http://bit.ly/easyjobsearchstrategiesforresumesandcoverletters

Bloggers: Ask for a free review copy.

About Amy L. Adler

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW is the founder and CEO of Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won first place in the TORI Awards 2012 for Best Executive Resume. Amy is one of the most experienced career transitions experts in the nation and frequently writes and speaks on career advancement, executive résumé writing and interview strategies. Having written hundreds of job search documents, several examples of her work have been published in Gallery of Best Cover Letters, 4th Ed. (David F. Noble, JIST Publishing, 2012).

 

# # #
For interviews and media appearances, contact Amy L. Adler
2180 East 4500 South, Suite 150 | Holladay, UT 84117 | +1 (801) 810-JOBS | www.fivestrengths.com

Resume Writing for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Resume Writing for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Getting Back into the Corporate World

In a tough economy, when small businesses thrive, it’s due to their team strategy, marketing, and more–including their executive leadership. These entrepreneurs are the power on which our successful economy rests. If you’re an entrepreneur who has chosen to exit your small business, you need to know how your skills and assets can impress a hiring manager.

You–a current or former business owner–need to convince a hiring manager that

  • You’re an executive ready to lead the charge to a company’s profitability.
  • You’re a professional who is able to follow the beat of someone else’s drum–maybe for the first time in your professional career.

No matter whether you’re a mid-career professional or a true executive, you need to prove:

  • You are ready to give up the powerful independent life
  • You’re ready to throw your lot in with the rest of the professional world
  • You’re ready to work with others on teams
  • You’re ready to take direction from someone who might not have the same perspective—or experience—as you.

Need to create a powerful career-change strategy? Identify the steps you need to follow to be successful here.

The Answer

You need an entrepreneur resume. Resumes for entrepreneurs are substantively different from standard business resumes.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably smart, driven, customer-oriented, and proud of your ability to do whatever it is your company does. Educationally speaking, you might have an MBA or you might have just made it through high school. You might have been working for your own enterprise for 5 months, 5 years, or 25 years. In any case, you’re thinking it’s times to leave the business in someone else’s hands, or to close it altogether.

Probably, you have not written a resume before, because your company was flying high, and you loved the responsibility, pressure, and elation of success. But if you’re ready to take the plunge, your entrepreneur resume has to show some serious innovation and expertise. An expert entrepreneur such as yourself needs to have a resume that blows the competition away, competing with all other comers on their terms–which might be substantially different from the ones that have driven your success in the past.

5 Resume Techniques for Entrepreneurs Returning to the Corporate World

1. Highlight Your Accomplishments

Accomplishments in a resume for entrepreneurs are critical.  By showing what you have accomplished in the past on your entrepreneur resume, you will show a hiring manager that you can accomplish the same goals for his or her company. For example, demonstrate that you’re the right one for the job due to your incredible track record of high sales, decreased turnover, technical expertise, or human resources talent.

2. Talk about Teamwork

First, emphasize any team projects you’ve participated in within your business, whether inside your company with subordinates, with other industry players, or with clients. Ensure that your prospective hiring manager knows you’re a team player and you aren’t afraid to collaborate.

3. Show Increasing Levels of Responsibility

Even within your own organization, you probably started with smaller projects and worked your way to bigger ones. Great challenge-action-response CAR statements will show how you wrangled the most success from sticky situations that will resemble the kinds of problems hiring managers are desperate to solve.

4. Write for Your Audience

Demonstrate your growth with strong action words and as many quantitative and qualitative assessments as you can. Pick powerful language; don’t use boring text that doesn’t grab attention.

Don’t forget a great cover letter and professional biography for business owners. Your cover letter is the introduction to your resume. It has to be polished and professional. Don’t know how to begin? Call me at 801-810-JOBS.

5. Hire a Professional Resume Writing Service

When you were out pounding the pavement as the leader of your own company, you made sure that your clients knew they were hiring an expert. If you’re stuck about what to say in your resume, you, too, can hire an expert to help you get a job fast. A professional resume writer can help you with your professional resume. If you need an executive resume writing service, she can help you with that as well. She’ll have expert-validated knowledge and skill, and she’ll get you the resume that will get you the interview you need to jump start your new career.

Cover Letter Strategy—Format of a Great Resume Cover Letter

Cover Letters: The Great Divide Among Hiring Managers

The world is binary, as the humorous quote states: “There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.” It’s also divided into hiring managers who love cover letters and those who hate them.

Which type of hiring manager are you speaking to when you submit your resume? The answer is you don’t know. This means you have to submit your resume with a cover letter that sings. Every time. No exceptions. Starting now.

Your Strategy for Catching a Hiring Manager’s Attention

You can search the web for samples—but they won’t always be right for your job search.  Some are of the “please read my attached resume” variety, and those will simply bore your reader

As you read these resume and samples them, look for the following format:

  1. Standard letter-writing format. Include a header with your address and contact information.
  2. Proper salutation. Address your reader formally with “Dear Ms. Smith:”, or, if you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, “Dear Hiring Manager:.” “To whom it may concern” is strikingly impersonal, and “Dear Scott” is too informal, even if you know the hiring manager personally.
  3. Clever opening paragraph. This is the hardest part of the cover letter. Tactics you can try include the following: Invite the reader to join you in thinking about something related to the industry. Make a bold statement, and then defend it using your experience as an example. Make a bold statement and then refute it, using your history to disprove it. Whatever you decide to do, find a way to catch your reader’s attention and hold it. Make him want to read your resume, pick up the phone, and call you for an interview.
  4. List relevant accomplishments. Use a bulleted list if you want to highlight 3 or more accomplishments. Use a paragraph if you’re a recent graduate or want to tell a story rather than simply highlight facts.
  5. Ask for the interview. Close your letter with a request for the interview. You won’t get what you don’t ask for.
  6. Close your letter respectfully but not too personally. “Sincerely” always works. “Yours truly” seems a bit intimate for the purposes of your job search.

If you’ve read these strategies and are still stuck for ideas, check out some cover letter samples that met and beat every one of the above criteria. In fact, all of these cover letters got interviews for job candidates.

In conclusion, your cover letter should feel like your voice, reflect your resume, and, most importantly, reflect the position for which you are hiring. By following the format above, you’re sure to create an introduction to your resume that shouts “hire me.”

5 Keys to Resume Bullet Bliss: Resume Accomplishments Versus Duties

5 Keys to Resume Bullet Bliss

The Difference between Resume Accomplishments and Duties

On your resume, for each position you’ve held in the last 10 years or so, you’ll need to include two key components: The description of your duties as well as your accomplishments. These two components are really quite different, and they serve completely different functions. Duties tell what you did; accomplishments tell why what you did was useful, valuable, and important.

I do know that good resume writing will prepare me for my interview, but how do I get there?

Job Duties

Your job duties are, quite literally, the work that you do every day. Think about the work you do; now distill it down to 3 or 4 sentences. Paint an accurate picture of the work you do that propels your manager, your division, or your company to rousing success.

Sample job duties for a company president or general manager might include:

  • Defining company strategy.
  • Increasing sales.
  • Recruiting executive team and vetting hires throughout organization.

Job Accomplishments

Accomplishments differ radically from duties. Your accomplishments are the specific successes you’ve demonstrated within your job duties (or sometimes outside of them!). These show how you succeeded within your role and rose to its challenges. Unlike the duties you’ve specified for each role you’ve had, the accomplishments tell the “so what?” about your job. They answer the question: “So what happened as a result of your work?” Usually, the answers to these questions involve some kind of metric, either numeric or evaluative, demonstrating how you improved or changed a system for the better. These accomplishments become the bullets that show why you’re the most qualified to support the hiring manager’s goals and needs—starting the moment you are hired.

Sample job accomplishments for the same executive could include:

  • Defined strategic priorities by month, quarter, and year, developing KPIs that focused company trajectory on reducing customer attrition, sales growth, and process improvements.
  • Converted sales process X to sales process Y, then trained sales managers on specifics, increasing sales conversions 14% in 16 weeks.
  • Recruited 2 directors in 2016, both poised for promotions to vice president roles in 2017 as company grew 22% faster than plan.

5 Keys to Identifying Resume Accomplishments

If you’re struggling to figure out what power the accomplishment bullets on your resume, ask yourself the following 5 questions:

  1. What was your hardest project? What made it difficult?
  2. What did you do that made it successful?
  3. How did your work on some project help you or someone else do their job better?
  4. Of which project are you most proud? Why are you proud of it?
  5. How does your job differ in reality from the human resources job description you were handed when you started the position?

By answering these questions specifically, you’ll choose the best parts of your career history that hiring executives and executive recruiters want to know about you. You’ll demonstrate that you have a proven history and strong talent for strategic leadership—and you’ll show how you can hit the ground running on your first day of work.

Updated January 2017.

Ask for the Interview: Effective Strategies for Your Cover Letter

You Won’t Get What You Don’t Ask For

You’ve heard this phrase: “You get what you ask for.” Usually, it’s a tongue-in-cheek way of telling listeners they did something thoughtless.

The flip side is also true. You won’t get what you don’t ask for, particularly in the context of the interview. In that sense, your cover letter, your initial communication with a hiring manager, should clearly ask for a meeting during which you can elaborate on your unique skills sets.

Cover Letter Templates Fail

I am constantly amazed by the cover letter templates on sites purporting to deliver expert advice. I did a quick Google search for “free cover letter sample.” The sample letters I dug up miss major opportunities to rise to the top of the stack. Primarily, they’re extremely generic. They don’t set the focus outward onto ways the applicant can solve the hiring manager’s pain. And they don’t ask for the interview.

Ask for the interview.

Ask for the interview in your cover letter.

When you present unassuming, generic language in your letter to a hiring manager, you’re presenting yourself as unfocused and unsure of your goal. In the current economy, where unemployment rates drive up applications for coveted spots, the hiring manager isn’t going to take the time to figure out what you have to offer. It’s up to you to clearly state your expertise—and your desire to meet this hiring manager for this position. You’ll sound educated about the potential role and focused about your ambitions.

Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Use Your Cover Letter Effectively

Every word on your resume counts—it’s the same for your cover letter. Don’t miss the opportunity to ask for what you want. Don’t expect the reader to assume that you’re the most eager, the best qualified, and the most likely to succeed in the position. Give them what they need to draw your resume out the stack: a sharply presented, clearly stated request for the interview. After all, this is the point of your resume/cover letter package—to get you in for a face-to-face, so you can show the hiring manager that you will succeed in your target role.

 

Market Your Professional Branding Message

Your personal branding is a statement of the why and how you are an expert in whatever it is that you do. Just like McDonald’s is known for burgers and fries, people should remember you for one or two areas of expertise. If you think you’re an expert in 5 or 10 things, you’re probably not sure what direction your career should take, and you’re certainly not ready to start applying for positions.

These one or two skill sets or areas of proficiency should pervade three components of your career documentation. With a unified, clear marketing message, you will make the connections you need with your next hiring manager. Market your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile with your unique selling proposition, and you’ll present yourself as clear, focused, and ready to solve a hiring manager’s pain, starting on Monday.

Target your personal brand

Focus your personal brandYour value makes you special.

Your resume

Say who you are and what you do in your headline. Rather than title your resume with Resume or Summary of Qualifications, use strong, interesting language that will pique the interest of a hiring manager as well as provide excellent fodder for a digital applicant tracking system. For example, if you’re a project manager who only manages construction of airport parking garages, say so. As a selling strategy, it sure beats Objective.

Once you have distilled this headline, elaborate on this headline in your professional profile. This paragraph, rather than being a literal summary of your experience, should demonstrate the benefits of hiring you. Think of it as an expanded headline.

Your cover letter

If your hiring manager is not a fan of cover letters, convince her otherwise with a killer cover letter that conveys something really special about the value you deliver—your unique skill set and expertise. Rather than rehash your resume, explain how when the doors open on Monday morning, you’ll have a list of implementable solutions founded on significant expertise.

In summary, no matter who you are, no matter what industry or what level of expertise, you have something special to offer your next hiring manager. When you have refined what makes you great, make sure that your message flows through every marketing document you send.

Your LinkedIn profile

Poorly engaged LinkedIn profiles look like copied-and-pasted resumes. Instead, capture your audience’s attention with a well-written headline (different from, less formal than the one on your resume; see above). Infuse it with your personality. Make it clever. Invite people to read more. For example, a resume’s “Project manager for Airport Parking Construction” becomes LinkedIn’s “Project Manager Overseeing Parking Lot Construction: I built it, they came, and they flew away.”

Related Links

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Amy L. Adler is the president and founder of Inscribe / Express, a resume and career documentation company focusing on the health care and information technology industries. She prepares resumes, cover letters, post-interview thank you letters, executive profiles, and other critical career documents on behalf of clients at all levels of employment. Credentialed as a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Amy has earned a Master of Business Administration in Information Technology and Strategic Management as well as a Master of Arts in Publishing. Contact Amy at (801) 810-JOBS or aadler@inscribeexpress.com.

10 Commandments for a Sparkling Cover Letter


1. Write a cover letter—then send it with your resume.

You’d be surprised how few job seekers actually include cover letters with their resumes. These “naked” resumes might get read—or they might get trashed. If your target hiring manager is one of those who loves to find out more about star applicants, you need to provide the means for her to do so.

2. Include the proper address and job title.

Don’t embarrass yourself and automatically consign your resume to the dustbin by neglecting to personalize your letter for the hiring manager and position you’re seeking.

3. Create a simple, elegant design for your letterhead.

Ensure that the hiring manager sees that your resume and letter come together as a package.

4. Don’t rehash your resume.

Your resume is a detailed list of your accomplishments. A cover letter is an introduction to your resume. Don’t confuse the two. Instead, highlight the best of your resume and explain why your accomplishments prove you’ll be the best for the job.

5. Don’t write more than one page.

Again, your letter is a teaser for your resume. If you’ve gone over one page, you’re boring your reader. Be succinct; be punchy; be powerful.

6. Highlight the best of your accomplishments.

When you do mention your career history, make sure that you’ve selected the most relevant, most incisive, and most exemplary accomplishments. You might need to tweak these based on the job posting.

7. Use impeccable grammar and spelling.

If this isn’t your long suit, ask someone to read it. Barring that, read it out loud to yourself. Backward. Sentence by sentence. Trust me: That technique will enable you to focus on each word of each sentence.

8. Use online application systems to your advantage.

If you’re uploading your resume into an online application (applicant tracking system), create one document with your letter on the first page and your resume on the second and third pages.

9. Keep e-mailed cover letters short.

Attention spans for e-mail are shorter than those for printed material. Your e-mailed cover letter might be half to two-thirds the length of your printed one.

10. Hire an expert writer if you have any misgivings about commandments 1-9.

If you have any reservations about your ability to craft a top-flight resume, cover letter, or post-interview thank you letter, hire a certified advanced resume writer.  No doubt you’ll shorten your job search.