Studies indicate hiring managers spend only a few seconds skimming each resume they see. They may spend a bit more time with your cover letter – if it’s well written, engaging and thoughtful.

While this may sound like a big task, it isn’t. Here’s how to write an outstanding cover letter in 20 minutes or less:

Think before you write.

Make a list of three to five accomplishments that aren’t on your resume or need more than a single-line description. Choose one or two strong examples on the list, focusing on things you did well, really enjoyed or that produced outstanding results.

Ask, “How does this accomplishment help the company?”

For the top one or two examples, ask yourself how it helps the company if you accomplish similar things while working for them. Jot down examples that come to mind (for instance, “this accomplishment improved safety” or “this accomplishment increased our ROI”). If you have numbers, add them. “Reduced accidents by 10 percent per year” sounds more impressive than “reduced accidents.”

Start with the basics.

Jumpstart your writing with a classic introductory formula: “My name is ____, and I’m a _____. I found your job posting at ____, and I believe my skills would be a perfect fit for your organization.” By keeping it simple and not fretting over the introduction, you give yourself a running start for the rest of the letter.

Talk up your accomplishments.

In the next paragraph, introduce your topic: “Here is just one example of my achievements on the job.” Then, talk about the number-one item on your list, focusing on how this achievement helps the company. If you have room, add the second example, but don’t let your cover letter exceed more than one page.

Close strong.

Include next steps in your closing. For instance, before your signature, add “I look forward to speaking to you further during an interview. I can be reached at ____, and I look forward to talking to you.” This makes it easy for the hiring manager to take the next step of contacting you.

At FootBridge Energy Services, our recruiters specialize in connecting professionals to some of the best jobs in the oil and gas industries. To learn more about our energy jobs, contact us today.