Don't Oversell and Don't Undersell: Cover Letter Tips

By Jeremy Cyrus 03/04/2014
Don't Oversell and Don't Undersell: Cover Letter Tips

When you reach out to a potential hiring manger and ask to be taken on as an employee, you're trying to send two simultaneous messages that may seem to conflict in some ways. You're asking to be granted a favor, in sense. But you're also letting this company know that they have something to gain by hiring you, something that's worth more than the cost of your salary, and if they don't leap on this opportunity, their competitors certainly will. So in your cover letter, you need to sell yourself…but you also need to be honest and confident about your accomplishments and the trajectory of your career. Here are a few tips that can help you walk this fine line.

1. Attach numbers to your accomplishments.

It's okay to call yourself a "natural leader," and it's okay to suggest that you're willing to take instructions and do what you're told. But since both of these statements are open to interpretation, attach numbers to this claim. Numbers don't lie. State the number of projects you've spearheaded and the size of the teams you've lead.

2. Be concrete, not abstract.

If a claim seems vague or unverifiable, delete it. Replace it with something else that's clear and specific. Instead of calling yourself "a hard-charging go-getter", state exactly where you hope to take your career in three years, and explain the steps you've taken to make this happen.

3. Don't boast. Just be great.

Remove words like "almost", "nearly", "one of the best" and "among the top". If your project ranked fifth in the state according to a specific poll, just say this. If your accomplishments are record breaking, just state the record in question and describe how and when it was broken.

4. Realize that attitude and aptitude can both make or break your chances.

Even if you're terrific at what you do, you'll stand a better chance of landing the job if you seem honest, humble, and likeable. After all, these employers will have to work beside you every day, and they'll be trusting you to represent the company to clients and customers. Use the tools available on Free Resume Builder to present yourself as an all-around superstar who also knows how to function as a member of a team.

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