Everyone knows the importance of a properly worded, and well-crafted resume, but far too many job applicants forget one of the most valuable tools for getting hired – the cover letter.

The cover letter is your personal “pitch” to the hiring manager or recruiter. It is your introduction, and first impression. That is why it must be well thought out and carefully written. Below is an example of a well-written cover letter, and some tips to help prepare a cover letter that will get noticed, and hopefully yield an interview.

Cover Letter Goals -Top 10 MUSTS for a successful cover letter:

  1. Be original and interesting! Stand out from the others. In other words, strive to be noticed!
  2. Multiple versions of the letter. Write a few different versions which are specific to the jobs you are applying for.
  3. Make it personal. Explain why you are a great fit for the specific position you’re applying to.
  4. Include a bold opening statement. Give a few examples of things you have done in the past, and hope to do in the future.
  5. Include interests outside of work, including community volunteer work and any clubs and professional organizations.
  6. Don’t forget to use keywords. Be sure to highlight important keywords related to your career goals and achievements.
  7. Keep it simple. Format the letter for clarity and ease of reading. Make sure there are no grammatical or spelling errors.
  8. Make it match your resume. If there’s anything confusing in your resume, use your cover letter to clarify and highlight.
  9. Mention military experience, including if you are a military spouse, or even a military dependent.
  10. You’re selling a valuable product- YOURSELF! Explain why you are the best value and will show a return on investment.

Below is a sample cover letter. Keep in mind the points above and ensure your own is brief, specific and memorable. Make the reader want to call you to learn more.

Sample Cover Letter

Dear Sir or Ma’am,

I’d like to be considered for the Business Analyst position you’re currently staffing. I’m available to begin immediately and am excited for the opportunity to demonstrate why my skills are a great fit for this position and your company. I have an active secret security clearance (details available on my resume), and meet all of the requirements listed in the position description, including SDLC proficiency and extensive experience documenting software requirements.

I work diligently to keep current with industry changes and standards. I am an avid reader and researcher, and an authority in my field. I have more than 15 years of experience working with military and government agencies and organizations including multiple positions nested within the government client, with no direct supervision from my company.

In my previous position working as a government contractor, I was able to provide my government client with information that saved nearly $20,000 and resulted in special recognition by the government customer.

Volunteering is a huge part of my life, and I enjoy running marathons for causes including the Fisher House Foundation (I know your company is also actively involved with military charities, and I would love to join those efforts). I am also connected to a number of professional organizations and clubs, including the Association of the United States Army, Toastmasters and Kiwanis.

I look forward to the opportunity to further demonstrate why I’m the best fit for this position during an in-person interview.

Very Respectfully Yours,


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Diana M. Rodriguez is a native Washingtonian who works as a professional freelance writer, commentator, and blogger; as well as a public affairs, website content and social media manager for the Department of Defense.