A cover letter is usually the first document read by a potential employer; even before a resume. It's important to make sure the letter conveys the right message. The use of what are known as power words can help.
Cover letter power words, or phrases, are those "buzz" words that grab the reader's attention. They add to the job applicant's marketability by instilling a positive feeling in the reader. Ideally, the well written cover letter will prompt the reader to take a closer look at the resume; calling the applicant to arrange for a job interview.
As was explained in our article on resume power words, these are usually verbs or adjectives. They are words that more powerfully describe exactly what has been accomplished.
The topic of this article is not going to change the process outlined elsewhere describing how to write cover letters. The job market has been extremely competitive for over ten years; this advice aims to ensure a cover letter is in optimal condition.
As a reminder, a good cover letter template includes four parts or components:
In the cover letter, the writer has three opportunities to carefully insert key words and phrases: the introductory paragraph, objective statement, and achievements sections.
It's important to include four to six accomplishments in the letter; this is described in more detail in our article: Resume Cover Letter Samples. The following example demonstrates how power words are used to describe the writer's accomplishments:
Results Achieved Include:
In the example above, the key words or phrases that make these statements so powerful have been underlined. A casual reader should be able to sense how these words add to the strength of these statements.
The objective statement section of a cover letter is a simple summary of the job opportunities the applicant wants to explore at a company. This statement provides a second opportunity to use this technique. An example of an objective statement is as follows:
I have applied my superior skills in advertising, product promotion, marketing and sales in the cosmetics industry to deliver outstanding bottom line results. As the Manager of Advertising at a top cosmetics company, I have moved fourteen different product lines from the bottom shelf to the counter top in every major department store.
Once again, the power words have been highlighted in the above paragraph to demonstrate how they are used in the objective statement.
We're not going to repeat a list of power words that's been published elsewhere on this website; the words are the same regardless of whether they appear on a resume or cover letter. There is a list of over 300 words and phrases in the article: Resume Power Words. This should be enough to satisfy even the most ambitious of writers.
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