Cover Letter Writing Tips

Perfection matters when writing cover letters. Every cover letter you write should be clear and concise, grammatically correct, error-free and customized for the job you are applying for. Here are some suggestions for writing cover letters which will help you stand out from the crowd.

  • Send a customized cover letter with each resume you send out. Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your resume ignored. Even if an employer doesn’t request a cover letter, it’s helpful to send one.
  • Target your cover letter. Take the job posting and list the criteria the employer is looking for. Then list the skills and experience you have. Either address how your skills match the job in paragraph form or list the criteria and your qualifications.
  • Don’t rehash your resume. Your cover letter should complement, not duplicate your resume. Expand on your resume and highlight your background as it relates to the job.
  • Write simply and clearly. Get right to the point and write short, targeted letters. Each letter should be one page, or less. Each paragraph should contain, at most, three or four sentences.
  • Personalize your letter. Do not use “To whom it may concern.” If at all possible, address it to the individual responsible for hiring. Research online or make a phone call to find out who the hiring manager is.
  • Spell check and proofread. Then ask someone else to read your correspondence before you send it. It’s often easy not to notice mistakes in our own writing.
  • Review online cover letter samples to get ideas for format and content for your letters. Use examples as a starting point for creating your own library of job search correspondence.
  • Keep copies of all your cover letters, so you know what you sent and to whom.