Drop Names In Cover Letter

A small reference in resume can sometimes generate high impact. And at the very least, a recognizable name or acronym can inspire questions and generate conversation during an interview. Keep these considerations in mind.

1. Lean on Your Connections

If you share any personal connections with the manager who may be reading your resume, mention them upfront. Don’t suggest these people are your best friends if that’s an exaggeration, but within the realm of tact and honesty, don’t fail to point out a connection that might help you. Some of your phrasing might sound like this:

“During my tenure with Qualco, I had the honor of working with Sally Johnson, who supported you during your participation in the Alpha Project.”

“I work closely with Sally Johnson, your former colleague, and she mentioned that you department is now searching for an experienced account manager.”

2. Include High Profile Previous Employers

If you once held a position with a high-profile or well-known employer in your industry, mention this, even if the details of the job don’t directly relate to the position at hand. By the same token, mention all large, notable, or high-profile clients and projects that you’re proud to associate with your name. Some of these references might sound like this:

“I gained early and important exposure during my first professional position with Hubbard and Turtletub, the firm that designed the two tallest high-rise structures in the Jacksonville metro area.”

“During my tenure with Qualco, I was honored to participate in the X project, providing essential support that helped the company land a 50 million dollar contract.”

3. Awards, Grants, and Special Forms of Recognition

Don’t fail to mention any proper nouns associated with an accomplishment your employers might recognize. If you won the Eddie Johnson Memorial essay contest in college, your potential corporate employer may have no familiarity with this award and may not be able to place this accomplishment in a context. But the opposite may also be true. Mention it just in case. Try phrasing that sounds like this:

“Received top honors in the Eddie Johnson Memorial Essay Contest, an annual statewide competition sponsored by X University. My essay on citizenship was selected from a pool of 5,000 competitors and resulted in a 500 dollar scholarship.”

4. Software Platforms & System Implementations

Your readers may not be familiar with your current company’s proprietary document management system, and they may not recognize the complex ERP implementation you supported in 2007. But mention it anyway. Consider language that sounds like this:

“Provided critical support during the hospital’s system-wide upgrade to ABXY, an integrated EMR system that allows all ancillary facilities to access a secure, unified data platform.”

Explain, Don’t Assume

Don’t miss a single opportunity to push your resume ahead of the competition, and keep in mind that a single recognizable word or phrase can have a powerful impact on both human readers and keyword scanners. For more information and guidelines that can help you make the most of your impressive background, explore the resources on LiveCareer. 

``In a recent discussion with John Doe about our careers, he spoke very highly about your company. Based on what he says about the corporate culture there, I am hoping your company might have a position that would match my skills. ...''

Mentioning your friend's name gives the potential employer a chance to start a quick background check on you by asking your friend what you're all about, Murphy said. It also makes your friend look good for spreading favorable publicity about his workplace - and many companies these days reward their employees with a bonus for recommending someone who gets hired.

If you heard about the company through an acquaintance, or someone you don't know well at all, you should tone down your reference to him. Try something like, ``I heard about your company through so-and-so, and he spoke highly of you.''

That way, the acquaintance isn't expected to know about you, and you don't appear insincere.


This graduation season, the number of women expected to pick up diplomas for four-year degrees is up 44 percent over the past two decades. Meanwhile, the number of men graduating from college has slipped 6 percent since 1993, according to research by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago outplacement firm.


New grads will soon find it's not easy to make the transition from school to business. A book by a former campus recruiter can serve as a road map for the journey.

Graduates' Guide to Business Success: Solutions That Enable College Graduates to Excel in Business gives tips for everything from developing good work habits to knowing your boss's management style to playing office politics to performing in high-visibility work situations.

For instance, the most important skill you'll ever employ, the book says, is the ability to read people and use the knowledge you gain to motivate them in accomplishing your goals. Then there's a chapter on how to do that.

The book is available only by writing to the author, Emerson Taylor, at 2404 Highway AB, McFarland, Wisc. 53558, or calling 1-800-247-6553.


It's not as if today's college seniors need anything else to worry about on top of issues such as AIDS, dysfunctional families and binge drinking.

But the current low unemployment rate - which means there are more jobs out there than people to fill them - gives grads another stressor: unhealthy expectations for landing a great job, says James Archer Jr., a University of Florida professor of counselor education.

Students today might be pressured to choose their college majors before they've had time to figure out what they want to do, Archer says. Universities say students should work in internships to get a taste of their chosen careers while it's not too late to change their minds.


Today's college students are confident about their future and expect success to come easily, according to a new survey prepared for Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Co. by Yankelovich Partners.

For instance, 65 percent of the students polled for the Phoenix Student Fiscal Fitness Survey think they will find a job within three months after graduation. They expect to earn an average starting salary of $36,000 in their first job, and 18 percent say that figure will be $50,000 or more.

Although 59 percent anticipate they will be wealthier than their parents, only 17 percent expect to work harder than their mothers and fathers.

Interestingly, nearly half expect to return home to their parents after graduation - and 39 percent plan to contribute nothing to the household expenses. Perhaps they're learning early how to save for retirement.

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