It’s no secret in today’s economy: hiring managers are bombarded by resumes, cover letters, and job applications on a daily basis. Some have stacks upon stacks of applications to sift through and not enough time in the day to get through them all, much less respond to them. So what should you do to get noticed if you’re a serious job seeker in this economy? To get the interview and to rise above the competition and land the job?

It all starts with the cover letter because it is generally the first document a hiring professional reads. You must make it stand out above the rest. How? Start by following these 7 interview-getting, attention-grabbing cover letter tips.

TIP #1: Put only three paragraphs on one page: introduction, skills/qualifications, and ASKING for the interview in the last paragraph.

TIP #2: Keep each paragraph to just three or four punchy, well-written sentences. Make it “easy on the eyes.”

TIP #3: Allow your text to breathe by including plenty of white space. This means big margins, and double spacing between paragraphs, and one and a half spaces between lines.

TIP #4: Create bullets and numbered lists to help readers scan quickly.

TIP #5: Use bolding occasionally to emphasize important points, and to increase readability. (Don’t use too much––just a few important lines throughout to break things up a little.)

TIP #6: Proofread your cover letter and correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This is an obvious one, but if it’s not handled, it can ruin any chance you have of landing the interview.

TIP #7: Double check your contact information, and don’t forget to hand sign the letter. Nothing is more embarrassing (and deal-breaking) than getting your own phone number or address wrong.

Your Cover Letter Writing Process:

First, write a cover letter that gives an introduction and states your intent for applying. It must also discuss your qualifications quickly, simply, and concisely. Finally, it must ask for the interview.

Next, go through the seven tips above to make sure they are all covered before sending off the cover letter with your resume.

If you follow all of this advice, the hiring manager will have no choice but to give you a call, assuming you have presented the right skills for the job in a compelling way. It’ll be obvious that you are trustworthy and dependable, and that you are definitely someone to contact for the position.

Most job seekers do NOT pay enough attention to the cover letter, and simply “throw one together” as an afterthought. You have an opportunity to rise above the fold with your cover letter––enough to single you out for the job interview.