Show, Don’t Tell: The KEY to Cover Letter Success

Professional writers are often told to ‘show’ a scene through their writing rather than ‘tell’ about it. Readers are eager to envision characters in action, not just hear about what they did in a general way. The same advice holds for writing a job-search cover letter. Hiring managers want to bring into their organization men and women who can ‘show,’ not merely ‘tell’ what they are capable of. They are looking for the assurance that you not only can fill the vacancy but also contribute to the company in a significant way.

Do you know the KEY to cover letter success?

Do you know the KEY to cover letter success?

Cover Letter Example Text:

In my current position of Sales Manager at ABC Marketing Services, I trained new sales recruits, established monthly goals for the team, conducted sales reviews weekly, and exceeded standing sales records three months in a row.

Now that’s showing. The cover letter includes specific actions the hiring manager can see and point to when considering whether or not to invite the job seeker in for an interview.

Telling, on the other hand, looks like this: In my current sales position I’m involved in a variety of tasks related to selling company products.

Notice the lack of details, the limp wording, and the complacent tone. This type of writing does not inspire confidence. In fact, just the opposite. The reader will pitch this cover letter into the shredder faster than a brochure for a phony moneymaking scheme.

Hiring managers receive hundreds of cover letters each week. They leaf through them hoping to find a gold nugget in what is often a pile of rubble––cover letters that are bland and boring. Yours, however, could be the one that sparkles. And all it takes is a little extra time and attention on your part to achieve that status.

Make a list now of the specific actions you’ve taken over the course of your career, the nitty-gritty details that set you apart, that show your skills instead of just tell about them.

Did you put out an emotional fire among a team of workers when one member lost control of himself or herself? Have you come up with a way to increase the profit margin of the company you now work for? What did you do to make that happen? Perhaps you’ve stepped into leadership at a meeting that appeared to be stagnating due to differing opinions or strategies for fixing a recurring problem. Think about such things and then include them in your next cover letter.

It takes so little to be above average. Dare to dream that you can have the job your heart wants, the one you know is right for you and right for the company. Then put yourself out there on paper. You don’t have to blast your horn in order to be noticed—but it’s more than okay to toot it a little so the hiring manager will hear you, see you, and then call you in for an interview.