3 career experts share the keywords that stand out on a cover letter

Cover letters are tough to crack.
They're the lengthier cousins of resumes, requiring you to call upon your writing skills and explain why you deserve the job. It can be a frustrating process, one that sometimes feels like a blatant cry of, "Please just hire me already!"
Your letter may be one of hundreds a potential employer reads, so you have no choice but to stand out. How will you do that? By slipping in smart, eye-catching words.
We spoke to three career experts and rounded up their favorite keywords everyone should put on his or her cover letter.

1. Descriptive adjectives.



Aside from including important keywords, LinkedIn's career expert Nicole Williams recommends focusing on the craft of the first, second and third sentence. The first should be about the employer, the second should be about you and the third should be about the company. She also highly recommends resisting common clichés.
"It’s not 'I’m organized,' it’s not 'I’m responsible,'" she tells Mash. "People would expect you to be anyway."
Find a way to rephrase those overused words. Instead of saying "I'm a hard worker," say "I have an enormous capacity for work" (one of Williams' current employees began her cover letter with that line, and was hired instantly).
When directly talking about the employer, Williams says these key words are great: admire,inspired by and listen. When describing yourself, Williams recommends: enthusiastic,passionate and integrity.

2. Important skills to highlight.



Javid Muhammedali, the vice president of product management at Monster, tells Mash that keywords change depending on the job you're applying for. However, for a general cover letter, he said these following words connote key skills that work for "all resumes with 0-4 years of experience."
  • Administrative Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Computer Skills
  • Customer Relations
  • Microsoft Office and Outlook
  • Multitasking
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Resolve Customer Issues

3. Vital active verbs


Keywords are crucial to get past an applicant tracking system ("Otherwise known as the black hole you submit your resume into online," says Vicki Salemi, a career expert and author of two advice books). One of the simplest things you can do is reflect the job description.
"Highlight the skills and experiences they need by referencing the job description and inserting the exact words into your letter," she tells Mash. "If they're hiring a valuation manager with experience in calculating intangible assets, ensure you put 'intangible assets.'"
Aside from that, Salemi also recommends powerful verbs that will "pack a punch."
  • Launched
  • Led
  • Managed
  • Analyzed
  • Achieved
  • Budgeted
  • Forecasted
  • Ignited
  • Navigated
  • Negotiated
  • Reorganized
  • Rescued
  • Identified
  • Generated

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