Cover Letter Excellence Series Article 1

Article 1 - From mediocre to outstanding

Cover letter article 1. Subtle differences separating mediocre and outstanding

Cover letters and resumes
Suitable for Role Cover letter link Resume link
School graduates Helpdesk Help desk - See example 1 Help desk resume
College graduates Programmer Programmer - See example 3 tbc
School graduates Developer Developer - See example 2 Software developer resume


In many cases your cover letter and job application is set against back drop of real, foreseen or perceived stretched company resources. Whilst a job advertisement is an opportunity for the applicant, the process that led to the creation of that opportunity is recognition by the organization that there is either insufficient staff or skills in order to complete the tasks at hand.

Against this back drop of solutions management, an opportunity presents itself for smart candidates to offer themselves as part of the solution. With a captive and interested audience, the cover letter is the ideal tool for the job.

Considering we now know that the employer is attempting to fill a void it is important to understand the context in which the position was created. Tailor your response against the background information provided in the advertisement. Is it a project role? Is it an operational role? Are other organizational functions such as change management, documentation, service delivery, architecture and service level agreements relevant?

Carefully select your relevant background. Ask yourself, why is it that I think I can do this job? Dissect your response and improve on it, once you have achieved that, improve on it again! Here is an example of how a good response can be fleshed out to be an outstanding response.

  • A good applicant may tell you that power requirements should be considered when installing a server.
  • A very good applicant may tell you that power requirements should be considered as well as UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies)
  • An excellent applicant may mention power considerations, a UPS and the importance of monitoring the status of the UPS.
  • While an outstanding applicant may describe server availability in the context of business impact and the need to balance cost and risk.

It is this extended understanding of service delivery and how it affects an organization that sets the outstanding applicants apart from the rest. Fleshing out organizational functions is a process that requires knowledge and clarity of understanding. This is where your education, training and experience come to the forefront. In the process, you will also score well on communication skills.

You need not literally mention how good you are to show outstanding characteristics. Giving each cover letters due thought is better than producing a myriad of mediocre template copies. In the case of the cover letter, quality is better than quantity.

And in order to produce that quality you need to carefully consider the forces that compelled the employer to invest in the advertised job. The costs of human resources are high throughout the developed world so it is little wonder that employers spend so much energy ensuring that they employ the right job candidate.

Cover letters and resumes
Suitable for Role Cover letter link Resume link
School graduates Helpdesk Help desk - See example 1 Help desk resume
College graduates Programmer Programmer - See example 3 tbc
School graduates Developer Developer - See example 2 Software developer resume