Cover Letter

High impact tools and techniques

1. Gimmicks are innovative, attention-grabbing techniques. Examples could include presenting your letter in the style of an advertising storyboard or a sales proposal. Even more outlandish approaches might include the delivery of your letter attached to a bottle of champagne.

The risk of rejection when using gimmicks is very high. You should always research the company, job and recruiter thoroughly to ensure that this type of creative approach is appropriate.

2. Technical tools, using bullet points, bold type, different fonts, italics, graphics, subheadings and underlining, can help add definition, as well as visual interest and emphasis. They can be used to break up large sections of text to make your letter more readable. Used carefully, technical tools can be used for cover letters in all occupational fields.

Click here to view an example that uses technical tools

3. Anecdotes and stories can help illustrate your achievements and provide evidence of your ability. They also help retain interest and connect you with the reader, who may have experienced similar situations. By describing how you handled a relevant situation in your old job, you may lead the reader to conclude that you will fit well into the new job. Anecdotes and stories are appropriate for most occupational groups.

Stories should:

  • Be relevant to the job
  • Demonstrate key skills or attributes
  • Be short and concise
  • Be focused on the result, rather than the process.

Click here to view an example that uses an anecdote

4. Quotes can be used to catch the reader's attention and encourage him to consider your attributes in the context of the quote. For example, if you use a quote about "good management", evidence of your managerial skills may be considered more favourably.

Quotes should be:

  • Relevant to the job
  • From identifiable sources and recognisable to the reader
  • Short and simple.

Click here to view an example that uses quotes

5. Questions can direct the reader's thinking and encourage greater receptiveness to your skills. Questions can be used for most occupational groups.

For example: "Do you find it difficult to recruit and retain high-quality graduates for your business? I am an expert in this area. I have been designing and implementing graduate recruitment and training programmes for over 15 years and have an unbeatable record of success."

Questions should be:

  • Used sparingly
  • Used to highlight your key strength
  • Followed up with evidence of your ability.

Click here to view an example that uses questions

Contributed by:

What is cover letter?
What is the best way to write a cover letter?

The "do's" of cover letter writing
The "don'ts" of cover letter writing

Tips on tailoring a cover letter to a job advert
Attention-grabbing opening phrases
An example of a standard cover letter format
An example of a Fresh Graduate cover letter

When to use a high impact approach?
High impact tools and techniques
Example - with using a question
Example - with using a quotation
Example - with using an anecdote
Example - with using technical tools