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Showing, Not Just Telling That You’re the Best

April 24, 2012 by Careerminds

Jennifer Fry
Careerminds Consultant

Job seekers are told time and time again to sell themselves with confidence during their career transition, and they should. The catch is that you can’t just tell a hiring manager that you’re the best choice and expect them to believe you; you have to show them what makes you the best candidate for the position by providing specific examples of your work and experience that clearly fit with the needs of the company at hand. Think of it this way, when you were in school, you wouldn’t write a research paper with no evidence to support your points, so why would write a cover letter with no examples to support your claim that you’re the best choice?
One simple way to show and tell is to make use of what is called the “branded cover letter” format. This particular format is constructed specifically to provide examples of your success in other positions. A branded cover letter consists of the following components:

  1. Introduction/Reason You Are Reaching Out: First, grab the reader’s attention, then tell them who you are and why you are writing (i.e.: the position you’re applying for, how you heard about the company or position).
  2. Specific Examples (STAR): You may be familiar with the STAR or behavioral interviewing format- situation/task, action, results. This is the information that you should provide in your cover letter, as well. Choose a specific example or two that will relate your past experience to the position in a very clear way. For instance, the position you’re applying for requires that you have expert knowledge of Dreamweaver, a website design program, so you include a STAR example that describes your previous employer’s need for a revamped company website, and your efforts using Dreamweaver to completely redesign the site’s layout to create a more user-friendly interface, resulting in a 25% increase in traffic to the website. Based on this example, there is no question that you can use this software successfully.
  3. Describe Key Attributes: Use personal examples of soft skills (i.e.: personality traits that fit the corporate culture) or special skills that fit the position. You may also want to use this section to further explain something on your resume.
  4. Conclusion: Wrap up by briefly reiterating your qualifications and your interest in the position. Provide your contact information– phone number and email– and state if you plan to contact the employer, or if you plan to wait to hear from them. Also, don’t forget to thank the reader for their time and consideration.

The lesson here is this: it is one thing to tell an employer that you are qualified, but they won’t believe it without seeing some evidence, so show them some!


Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.

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