How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter if You Don't Have the Skills


Writing a cover letter can be done rather easily if you can articulate exactly why an employer should hire you. Coming up with specific examples of why you are a stellar candidate and figuring out how to word exactly which skills you have can take some time, though. Take time before you try to write the cover letter to brainstorm your qualifications for the job.

Write down the specific skills you have as they relate to the job. Have a copy of your resume in front of you and of the job description. Identify which skills the job description calls for that you possess. Write them down in order of most important to the least important.

Word each skill to be very precise and active. Instead of saying you are “organized,” you might reword the skill to say that you are “adept at coordinating complicated administrative projects.”

Write a specific professional or academic accomplishment you have related to the top three to five skills on your list. These examples should show the employer how you have used the skill in a practical way. Give the employer new information that he cannot find in your resume.

Follow a business format when writing your letter, justifying all text to the left side of the page and adding a line of blank space between each paragraph. Write the date on the top left side of the page. Write your name, street address, city, state and zip code, phone number and email address on separate lines. Write the employer’s name, title, company, street address and city, state and zip code on separate lines. Next comes the letter’s greeting, then your paragraphs, closing, handwritten signature and typed signature.

Include the name of the position you are applying for in the first paragraph, as well as if you heard about the job through a recruiting program or through a mutual acquaintance. Avoid saying you heard about the job through the newspaper or another general source. State how and why you are the best candidate for the job in this paragraph, too, connecting your abilities with the needs of the company.

Write about your skills in the next paragraph or two. Use the top skills that you wrote about in your list, and include the examples you wrote about.

Close your letter with a paragraph stating that you will contact the employer to discuss the position on a certain date. Thank him for reviewing your resume, and state what enclosures you are including with the cover letter. Use “Sincerely” or “Best regards” as your closing, type a comma after the closing and leave a few lines for your handwritten signature. Type your name below your signature, and then sign the letter in ink.

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