Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"The Most Powerful Cover Letter" and now the instructional video

An interesting statistic from a poll taken of recruiting and hiring managers stated that 75% of the people who review resumes said they read cover letters ONLY if they know the cover letter has been customized for the company and the position.

At RightChanges, we have two ALWAYS statements regarding the job search and one is to ALWAYS send a cover letter.  Successful Job Search Coach Judi Adams recommends one cover format over any other. The format we recommend is the T cover letter.

What is a T Cover Letter?

The T cover letter gets its name from the imaginary T that is formed by the two columns in the middle of the single page letter. The left column is the list of requirements as outlined by the hiring company and the second column is the qualifications you have that match the requirements. With this format you are visually showing the hiring manager why you are the perfect candidate. How powerful is that?


The remaining portion of this article gives the steps to creating the T cover letter. Some job seekers however still struggle with creating it: how to select the requirements and qualifications to include or how to use Word to format it. RightChanges has just launched an instructional 3-part video on The Most Powerful Cover Letter including a "live" demonstration using an actual job description.  See details at the end of this article.

The Format

We know the most important section of the cover letter (the T) and there are other sections of this single page letter as well.


The top of the cover letter should have the same format and information you have on your resume. This is your letterhead and gives a professional look to your materials. This same letterhead should be used on all job search correspondences. Consider it your own custom stationery.


You should address the letter to the name of the hiring manager if it is provided. You may be able to get this name through networking. If you absolutely do not know the person’s name, do not address the letter to Dear Sir. I am a female hiring manager and that won no points with me. I like "Dear Hiring Authority" when the name is not known.

 Opening Paragraph

The opening paragraph should mention the position you are applying for, include the position number if one was listed, and how you heard about the position. If you did it correctly, you networked into the position and can mention the person’s name who told you about the position or to contact that person.

Brag Phrase

Brag phrase is our name for the section that appears before the T . This phrase (one sentence) should affirm that your experience and abilities seem to be a great match for the position and serve as a transition to the T portion of the letter.

The T

The T consists of two columns with the respective titles of Your Requirements and My Qualifications or something equivalent.

Each requirement should be a separate row. The bulleted items in the right column should line up to the point it corresponds to in the left column.  If you have more qualifications for a particular requirement, it is fine to have white space on the left before the next bullet. An important reminder is to keep the text as concise as possible.

We are often asked what about how to handle requirements where you do not have the matching qualifications. The answer is not to list those. The hiring manager’s list is like a kid’s Santa list during the Christmas holiday. No child believes they are going to receive everything on the list, it is the items they would like to have.  Hiring managers list all of the skills and experience they would like to have. Even some requirements listed as mandatory will be overlooked when they find a great candidate.


The deal isn’t a deal until it is closed. Consider using a statement regarding how you look forward to hearing from them to discuss their needs and your experience in further detail..

  • To get your cover letter in front of the hiring manager and read, add the letter to the front of the resume in the same file. Do not have a separate file for the resume. Many hiring managers will believe a separate cover letter is the same old blah blah blah cover letter and not even open it. Plus having the cover letter as the first page of the resume will allow electronic resume scanners to find the keywords of the requirements.

Walk the hiring manager through why you are the perfect candidate by using the most powerful cover letter format: the one page T cover letter.

The Most Powerful Cover Letter instructional video:

RightChanges has just launched a series of On Demand videos on key topics of the job search. These videos can be found at RightChanges Job Search Success Videos.  

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