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On today’s show, I add an extra twist to what you may be doing with your cover letter that will help you standout from the pack

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Over the years, I've created plenty of videos about writing cover letters. I'm going to give you a quick rehash before I give you something new about them.

The typical cover letter might be in response to an ad.  It might be an introduction to a hiring manager.  The 1st paragraph should reflect that.

"I'm forwarding my resume to you because I was referred to you by Jeff Altman You told me you were trying to fill a position for such and such.  My understanding of the role is . . . You're looking for someone with . . . " You would then lay out in the left column what the skills were for the position (maybe you've seen a head or a job description that your friend has forwarded to you) and the functionality that is going to be performed.  In the right column, you would write down how long and how recently you can engage with it.

For example, flush left you would write

SOX compliance                                                                                                 5 years until 2015

User liaison                                                                                                         2 years current.

Manages people on-site and offshore                                                            3.2 years.  Current.

You make the fit seem obvious in this chart that you're creating for them.

Normally, I would say, "I believe you will see my background Matches up nicely for the role.  I look forward to hearing from you."

I want to encourage you to add an extra step in here.  That's the human touch.  This is a "miss" I want to acknowledge having had.  It is something I haven't encourage people to do often enough.

Like my advanced answer to the question, "Tell me about yourself," You might say something along the lines of, "I'm sure you see a lot of people and their resumes.  You say they have this background , but what makes me different is…" Then you going to some human characteristics that make you stand out.

Please don't say that you're hard-working or dedicated. Go to the humanity of the situation instead of the BS.  If you stay with hard-working or dedicated, people think to themselves, "Ugh!  Not again!"

The goal is to always differentiate yourself from others because if you are just another commodity, you're going to be paid a commodity's wage. If you are the best of the commodities you will be paid at the rate of the best of the range of the commodities. So, there's a range of salary; there is a law and there is a high.Yes, you will be at the higher point of the range, but so what?  You want to go past the range.  You always want to demonstrate that you are far superior to anyone that they say.

This does that by putting a human face on you, so that people can easily see how you stand out, instead of looking like another drone to them.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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