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7 Steps to Writing an Amazing Cover Letter

Cover letters, like cakes, come in different flavors. Some are as predictable as plain vanilla. Others catch the hiring manager by surprise—like fresh strawberries under a layer of fudge frosting.

If you'd like to surprise the employer ready to fill the job you want, learn to write a cover letter that brings a smile and a nod of recognition that you're the one he or she has been waiting for.

Here's a no-fail recipe that will give your cover letter the edge.

Express yourself in a clear and friendly manner, using words that draw in the reader and compel him or her to read from top to bottom without a pause.

Write as though you were sitting together over a cup of coffee.

1. Greet the hiring manager by name whenever possible (not Dear Sir or Madam).

2. Create an attention-getting headline, such as:

Available Immediately: A Sales Manager Who Manages––And Cares

3. Write one or two sentences about your work experience. Pick something unique. "I expanded my sales territory by 30% without leaving my office." He or she can read more in your resume.

4. Request an interview, providing a selection of available dates and times.

5. Include your contact information—especially your cell phone number so you can be reached around the clock. Make sure your voice mail message is professional.

6. Thank the hiring manager for reading your letter, making it clear that you understand he has many to choose from.

7. Sign your name and then add a P.S. in a positive tone. Example: "Looking forward to shaking your hand in person."

A well-written cover letter that commands attention may bring you a quick reply––offering you an interview and perhaps the job itself.

Author: Jimmy Sweeney is the president of CareerJimmy and author of the new, Amazing Cover Letters Creator.

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