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5 tips for a better cover letter

7/10/2019

5 tips for a better cover letter

Writing a cover letter can sometimes be a daunting task. It's not always easy to write about yourself and many people may simply not know what to say on such a document.

But because a cover letter is often your best chance to introduce yourself before you actually meet a hiring manager, it's vital to get it right. Below are five tips to help you do just that, and stand out from the crowd that much more:

1) Make it interesting

Because many people might not have a lot of familiarity or practice at writing and designing cover letters, they often just copy and paste from a template they find online and make appropriate changes from there, according to Glassdoor. While you can still use a template, you should do what you can to liven the document up while still keeping it professional, perhaps by fiddling with the formatting a bit, or adding a graphic at the top of the page. 

2) Address it to the right person

All too many cover letters start with, "To whom it may concern," or "Dear sir or madam," Glassdoor warned. This is a potential problem for any job applicant because it subtly shows that they might not have done their research to figure out who the hiring manager is. Sometimes it's impossible to find that information, but a little digging will often turn up the right answer. Addressing the document to that person will definitely help you stand out from the crowd.

3) Don't just rehash your resume

All too often, job applicants just use the cover letter to further spell out some of the items they list on their resumes, but this isn't a great idea, according to The Balance Careers. Instead, this is a place for you to take some of your best skills - those most pertinent to the job at hand - and describe why those are so important to you, providing examples of their practical application in your previous work experience. That helps hiring managers contextualize what you bring to the table.

4) Show you've done your homework

In much the same way as it's a good idea to do your research about the company or a hiring manager ahead of a job interview, it's also wise to show you've put in that work before even writing your cover letter, according to Monster. Take a sentence or two to explain what you know of the company or its culture, and why you would be a perfect addition to add to it.

5) Say why this job is a great fit for you

Along similar lines, it's a good idea to highlight exactly what it is in your professional or educational background that makes you such a good fit for the company as well, Monster advised. After all, your resume might provide some insights here, but going a little more in-depth with the cover letter could show you've put more consideration into applying for the job than just the base-level understanding that you might be qualified for it.