Career Tip 14: Hit Harder – Create Your Hardest Hitting Cover Letter

Create Your Hardest Hitting Cover Letter

For high priority jobs, use The Job Dog’s hardest hitting cover letter. Using this approach demonstrates you understand the job well to write a precise cover letter that connects to critical job requirements. It also establishes that you are interested enough to take the time to develop a tailored cover letter.

A Hard-Hitting
Cover Letter


Recruiters love this approach, because it does their work for them. It matches your qualifications, point by point, to the job requirements.

That statement always leads to a question. “What if I do not match all the job requirements identified in the job posting?” In my time as a recruiter, The Job Dog has never once found a perfect candidate with every detail I asked for in a job posting. A job posting is a wish list.

Of course, you may not have all ten requirements listed in the job posting. Apply anyway. Five may be enough. Too many people miss opportunities by not applying because they did not have every requirement listed. BARK! You may make up for any absent checklist items by your uniqueness or your differentiators that fill in those gaps. After reading your cover letter and resume, the hiring manager may simply say something similar to, “He has the fundamentals and I really like what he would add as part of our team.” Read Tip 32 to learn why likeability is a significant hiring factor. Read this Harvard Business Review article for further insights on applying for jobs when you may not meet all the qualifications.

This point cannot be over-emphasized. You may not have all the requirements listed. Apply anyway.

This point cannot be over-emphasized. You may not have all the requirements listed. Apply anyway.

To learn even more about developing cover letters, you will want to read the companion section to this Tip. See Tip 13.

Creating Your Hardest-Hitting Cover Letter

  1. Begin by copying the job posting into a new document.
  2. Break the text into separate lines so that you can view and evaluate each individual element or sentence of the posting.
  3. Spend time reading and re-reading those lines of text. This is one step you do not want to rush. You need to understand what the employer wants and what is critical to the hiring decision. Eliminate all the extraneous gobbledygook in the posting.
  4. Remember, this is a job you have identified as a good match for your skill set and experience. You likely have a better idea of what is important than a rushed manager who wrote the job posting.
  5. Work through the job posting to delete non-pertinent and repetitive text. Do not make the mistake of assuming that the job requirements are listed in priority order. Many times, they are not.
  6. Combine, edit, and rephrase the text you kept to focus on the job requirements you want to address.
  7. Sort those requirements into the order in which you want to address them to capture the reader’s attention and score points immediately.
  8. Review and edit each requirement to reduce it to less than two succinct lines of text. The majority of your cover letter’s text should connect your strengths to the posting’s requirements.


Identify an employment posting that interests you, and use these steps to develop a customized, hard-hitting approach. If the job opportunity is a high priority to you, The Job Dog knows there is no other approach.

Cover Letter Examples

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