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THE NATIONAL RÉSUMÉ WRITERS' ASSOCIATION

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Conference Session Recording - The Skinny: How to Keep Your Cover Letters Slim and Trim

  • October 22, 2020
  • October 22, 2025
  • webinar

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The Skinny: How to Keep Your Cover Letters Slim and Trim

Presented by: Ashley Watkins, NCRW, NCOPE

While there's always some argument about whether or not prospective employers actually bother to read cover letters, no one seems to dispute the fact that you need one anyway. Since cover letters are often your first impression, they must be flawless.

Cover letters are a necessary part of any professional job search — BUT no hiring manager wants to read a never-ending document, so I keep it simple. That’s why my cover letters rarely exceed 250 words. As a recruiter of 15 years, I can count the number of times I've actually read one. If I did glance at the letter, it was to see if the applicant answered my questions about relocation, salary, etc. Why? Templates. If the first line is "This letter is in regards to...", I'm not reading it. You're not saying anything any differently than anyone else who's applied. Do cover letters work? Absolutely -- but only when they are well-written, compelling and uniquely targeted to a specific role. If you've Googled your cover letter or copied it from a friend, don't bother submitting one. Only when you can clearly and concisely write a letter that grabs the reader's attention and highlights how you add value (answering the employer's problem) should you submit one. So, are cover letters really dead? No. Your long, drawn out, cookie-cutter cover letter template is dead. “The Skinny” cover letter offers an opportunity to quickly introduce yourself to an employer while showcasing how you'll add value to the organization.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Learn how and why cover letters are read by hiring reps.
  • How to say the most with the least amount of words (250 words or less).
  • Tips for incorporating personality, explanations and value without the fluff.

This one-hour recording from the 2020 Virtual Conference is $19.99 for NRWA members and $39.99 for nonmembers. It qualifies for 1 CEU.

About Ashley Watkins:

Ashley Watkins is a job search coach and resume writer with Write Step Résumés, LLC. She is also one of less than 60 NCRWs in the US and has served as the NRWAs Affiliate/Sponsor Relations Chair and Incoming Certification Chair.

As a former corporate recruiter with 15 years of experience, Ashley has conducted countless interviews, collaborated with hiring managers, and extended thousands of job offers.

Ashley offers high-quality coaching services to generate more interviews and higher salary offers for job seekers who are ready for career progression. Her strategies help clients appear in more employer searches, get more interviews – and most importantly, secure offers at the salaries they deserve!

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