Acton Networkers


Cover Letter


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        There is no agreement on the value of cover letters. Some hiring managers and HR specialists say they don’t bother with the cover letter while others say they make their decision as to whether to look at the resume based on the cover letter. Given today’s job environment, the safest course of action is to write an attention-grabbing cover letter in addition to your attention-grabbing resume.

        Research shows that you generally have 10-20 seconds to catch a reader’s attention and that the best way of doing this is to answer the question of “What can this person do for ME” in the first 10-20 seconds.


        Use a tone of voice and writing that demonstrate the brand personality you wish to convey. If you are action oriented, then make sure your cover letter uses strong, action words.  You can even state your personality attributes.

        For example, if your personality attributes include leadership and passion, one of your statements might be, “My passion, leadership and communication skill enables me to build strong teams across geographic and/or cultural boundaries -- thereby achieving aggressive goals.”


        Start with your value proposition linked to the company’s specific problems. This means you need to know or guess what the key problems are for a given company and position.  The problem can be generic – such as increasing sales, decreasing cost. Ideally it would be specific and unique to the company.

Tip: Don’t waste time with obvious things such as “I’m responding to your ad for a
         Marketing Manager that appeared in the Feb 1, 2003 Wall Street Journal”.
         Get their attention first.

Example 1:

You’ve just announced V2.0 of "SlickNewSoftware". I’ve helped other software companies double their first-year revenues with major releases and I would like to help ABC Inc do the same as the Dir of New England Sales. At WEBCAM, I led the sales team in a data mining and telemarketing project which drove revenues up 2-fold from $1m to 2m.

Example 2:

I have been watching the growth of Pushy Inc with great interest over the past year, particularly the creation of high-powered sales teams to increase your sales volume and profitability. I have led similar teams at "Over the Hill Inc." and I would like to leverage that success at Pushy as the VP of Sales. 

Key Messages

        Now that you have the person’s attention, use the key messages you developed in your self-assessment PAR(Problem, Action, Results) to prove that you can deliver on the grabber.


At WEBCAM, I led the sales team in a data mining and telemarketing project which drove revenues up 2-fold from $1m to 2m within 12 months. I recommended linking a new data mining effort of the customer database with the call center to increase the success rate of our telemarketing efforts.

Call to action

        The best close for a cover letter is to say that you’ll call the person and if you feel you can do this, state it.  However, you may not be able to call if you are responding to a blind ad, or to a departmental email address.


Having proven myself at WEBCAM and OverTheHill, I would like to bring my talents to your company, a company that rewards creative drive, solid experience and hard work. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss how we can work together. I appreciate your consideration and will call you next week to discuss when we might meet.