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Questions like this make me crazy, but since someone needed an answer, here it is. 

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The question for today is, "What is the best way to start a cover letter?" I go crazy with questions like this because it is such a small point in someone's job search. But if this is important to the listener, I am happy to give an answer.

Here's what I would suggest you do, don't think of it as a cover letter:

Use the body of the email that you send with the resume attached to it as the cover letter. If you're going to be submitting it through an applicant tracking system, make the cover letter page 1 of your resume.

The best way to start a cover letter is simple.

"Unlike a lot of the resumes that you receive, I actually do have the experience that is required for the role. Let me show you how my experience matches up with what you are looking for."

Then, create 2 columns. In the left column, list of requirements and the functionality of the position as defined by the ad or by the person who told you about the position. In the right-hand column next to each item, list, how long and how recently you have used each of the requirements are performed the individual function.

Obviously, if you are just spamming your resume to a position, this won't work and frankly, nothing is going to work. However, if you actually have the experience and want to stand out from the pack, this is a very easy way to do it. What you will do is make the fit obvious to them so that even if a 6-year-old girl reading the resume they would know you have the experience to do the job.

Because they receive so much useless email and resume submissions, they will have a chuckle when they read the beginning of your cover email but, if you actually have the background, this will work.


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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