Cover Letter Critique

I recently completed an overhaul of my cover letter for a new position and I wanted to get some feedback. I am open to criticism, so comment away. Thanks! Dear {hiring manager} I am applying for the position of {new position} as posted on the {new company} website. I am interested in {new company} and the {new position} role due to the focus you place on alternative investments. As a {old position} at {old company}, my responsibilities included analyzing a myriad of mutual fund characteristics including performance, quality of fund management, style drift and suitability for our corporate clients. Additionally, I assisted with providing individual asset allocation advice to our clients. The investment fundamentals, qualitative analysis, and market research skills I have refined in this position and as a CFA Level 2 candidate will allow me to quickly adapt and contribute as a {new position} at {new company}. I think that {new company} is a great fit for me based on my interests in investment research and the alternative investment sector.I believe that my professional and academic experience qualifies me for a position with your firm. Combined with my interest in financial markets and my desire to excel, this experience would allow me to make a strong contribution to {new company}. Thank you for taking the time to review my resume. I will follow-up with you later next week. Thank you, wanderingcfa

It’s certainly not bad, but I think it’s a little dry. For one, use another word besides “excel”, because if she does a quick scan of your resume without really reading it, she may focus on it and think “sweet, another kid who wants to build spreadsheets”. An interesting way to start it would be to make your letter start out with a story: “I was working on [project for your current job] when it hit me, [alternative asset class] is the direction is the direction the market is going [or somethign like that]. I think I have [skills x,y,z] to [do what’s necessary] to be successful in [whatever field]; but unfortunately, my current job with my current employer doesn’t allow me the flexibility to explore these opportunities. Then I saw your [position] open…” Pretty corny, but it moves quicker and may do a better job keeping the HR girl’s attention. IMHO, it also always helps to level with someone as opposed to explaining things to them. I.E. level with HR, “I like my job, but I want towrok in alternative investments, and it doesn’t make sense here”, or something like that. Honestly, these things are rarely ever read, but if you want a good one, you need something that will 1) stand out and 2) get people onboard and have them want to help you. Think I spend too much time on b-school essays?

I have always seen cover letters as a “necessary evil”. You always need one and it could definitely hurt your chances if you write a poor one, but it will rarely help you get the job. That is why I structured it as fairly basic, quick and to the point. I like your idea as it is a story instead of a statement of facts (as most cover letters are). I will do some revisions tonight and see what I can come up with. Anyone else?

You’re right in that they rarely ever help you get the job, but a good cover letter will help you get the interview. The rest, so to speak, is up to you. Your cover letter isn’t bad… it’s just not great. Good language and no spelling/grammer errors, which are sure fire killers if you do send one. Adding some style to it, as previously mentioned, wouldn’t hurt, but you have to be careful to not come off sounding unprofessional. I would try to emphasize your achievements a bit more… explain how you revamped the department you worked in on your first day or something a bit more believable… you have to show that you’ve taken initiative and made a contribution. Anyways, good luck.

I like to put bullet points in my cover letters that line up with requested skills/experience in the job description. However, when firing off lots of applications, that can be very time consuming.

I must say your cover letter is amazing. Sounds a lot like the one I posted over 3 years ago here:,106234,page=1 Oh wait… it is that one. I guess I should be flattered : ) It wouldn’t kill you to come up with something original, but for what its worth, that cover letter worked well for me… I hope it does the same for you. Let us know how it goes.

Not hiding anything here. I liked the suggestions everyone gave at that time and liked it as a starting point for my overhaul. I tried to start with something clear and to the point without much excess and see what I can add on from there. Regardless, thanks for your initial post…I will post a revision for review after I figure out how I want to add my “story”.