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EP 1039 How can I actually write a cover letter that doesn’t sound like one big cliché?

cover letter | Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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Is there any way to write a cover letter without it sounding clichéd?

Hell yeah!

The clichéd ones are so boring and so awful.

I'm forwarding my resume to you for the position I saw advertised on (fill in the blank). I believe my experience with such and such and such and such makes me an ideal individual for the role.

Who cares what you think, especially when your resume is little more than spam. You've submitted a resume that in no way, shape or form demonstrates a fit for the role you've applied for.

I want to break this question into two parts.

Number one is cover letters are a bit anachronistic. Think in terms of the body of your email. If you are uploading it to an applicant tracking system, think of page one of the resume as being the cover letter.

So what will this cover letter do?

It will demonstrate a fit for the role as you understand it to be. So, if you have seen an ad, it is easiest because what you do is create was called "a T letter." I created this idea years ago before it was named but it makes perfect sense as described this way.

Let me start with the first sentence.

I'm forwarding this resume to you based on the recommendation Jeff Altman. Jeff told me that you are looking for someone for a role . . . and you describe a couple of things that they are looking for. I want to make my fit for this role apparent to you, so let me outline my background as is relevant.

Now, in the left-hand column, you put the experiences you understand them to be. if you have job it like I said is easiest of all because you use the qualifications that they've listed there, the requirements of the position and perhaps the pluses that you have, as well as the the responsibilities of the role. In the right-hand column, next you're going to put what what you've done and for how long and how recently you did it.

Do it this way because there is less interest in things that you did when Bill Clinton was president. then there are now. The more current stuff is always more relevant If it's older, it tends to be less desirable). You need to be open about this and save yourself themselves them some time.

So in the right-hand column, you put down the skill involved. ln the left-hand column, you put down how long, how recently and what you have done briefly.

So let's say there are 15 things there, that's the equivalent of the cover letter.

So if it's in the body of an email because you are emailing it, this is the perfect way to do it.

If you are doing it and submitting your resume and cover letter through an ATS system, then you are making this page one of the resume that you are uploading to the system.

The system will parse it, fill in a number of fields, and, after you've done this, you finish up by saying "I hope to hear from you soon. If I don't, I'll give you call in a few days to follow up.

That's it. That's not boring to an employer because that's what you are doing is demonstrating how you fit the role and making it obvious to them, as opposed to having people have to sit there and "read tea leaves" to figure it out.

That's how to NOT make it clichéd ... by demonstrating your fit for the role.


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

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching and life coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1000 episodes,“ Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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