How to Write a Cover Letter that Will Land You an Interview

Here are 8 specific ways to make your cover letter and resume rise to the top of the stack.

I’ve written before about how to craft your resume so that it contains the information that employers look for most (read that post here).

But what about the cover letter that accompanies your resume? What should it contain?

How to Write a Cover Letter that will Land You an Interview

Before offering 8 specific tips on how to craft your letter, let me first define what I believe is the goal of a cover letter:

To point the employer to your resume where they can see a list of your quantifiable accomplishments (learn how to do that here) and to arouse in them a sense of curiosity that compels them to call you in for an interview.

That’s the goal. Nothing more.

With that in mind, here are some specific ideas on how to write a great cover letter.

Coming Home: A Ghost Around Every Corner

My childhood home was small. Just 900 square feet. But it is giant in my mind.

If you measure wealth by how much stuff we had, I grew up poor. But in every other way that matters, my childhood was wealthy beyond belief.

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Two days ago, my childhood home went up for sale. It needed to happen because Mom and Buzz need to move to a place without stairs and without a yard to take care of.

But it saddens me. It’s my childhood home.

I bet your home was bigger and nicer than ours. But I can’t imagine it being warmer.

Feet of Clay: When Your Hero Becomes Human

He was impossibly strong. A warrior. And he never stopped fighting to keep his spirit alive.

He was a man’s man. He had a keen intellect and a charming wit. But broiling below the surface was a man fighting to overcome setbacks and keep his spirit intact.

His fight was an inspiration to me.

Mud race runners assistance for breakthrough

Many were the people who crumbled beneath the spell of Rodger Hoover’s charm.

He once eyed a pre-lit Christmas tree at K-Mart. The price was $200. As was his m.o., he started haggling with the clerk.

“Two hundred dollars?! Surely that’s a misprint. A terrible typo.”

“No, sir. That price is right,” the clerk said.

“That price is not right. It’s surely wrong! The decimal must be in the wrong place.”

The clerk laughed. That was his mistake. It was the opening Uncle Rodge was looking for. The clerk didn’t know it yet, but the negotiations were already over.

“Well, it certainly is a nice tree. But I think…wait. What’s this? This light is blown. There’s another. Two lights out. And those are just the ones I can see. No telling how many more there are.”

He smiled and eyeballed the clerk. “You seem like a respectable fellow. Surely you wouldn’t sell a pre-lit tree at full price when some of the lights are clearly not pre-lit.”

Uncle Rodge left the store with that $200 pre-lit tree. He paid $20 for it. The decimal point had indeed been in the wrong place.

That’s my kin, y’all.

Looking at America through the Eyes of an Immigrant

The story of two immigrants and how each reminded me how fortunate we are to live in America.

She reminds me of Veruca Salt from the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. If you’re familiar with the movie, you’ll see what I mean.

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It was her 16th birthday. During her lunch hour at school, a teacher tapped her on the shoulder.

“Step outside. Your Dad has a surprise for you.”

The girl squealed. She leapt to her feet and ran outside. Her friends followed close behind.

Her Dad was standing in the circle drive. “Stay right there, honey.”

He motioned to someone at the corner of the building.

Everyone turned to see what would happen next.

Why Do We Avoid People Who are Different from Us?

My fascinating friendship with a guy with Asperger's Syndrome.

Oh, the things we miss when we avoid people who are different from us.

We’re odd, you and I. We rail against divisions in our culture — political, economic, social, racial. Yet, if we’re honest, most of our friends look and believe and think exactly like us.

What a waste. People who live in silos miss out on so much.

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Some of the most electrifying conversations I’ve had have taken place with people who are not at all like me.

Like the discussions I had about race with two men who grew up in Ferguson.

Or the ongoing discussions about religion with a friend who walked away from Christianity.

Or the time a farmer asked me (a city slicker) to help him castrate some bulls.

I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything. Each has made me a better man.