Cover letter writing is a simple way for you to get your foot in the door to a huge company. A cover letter essentially is a document that is sent with an application or resume, to a prospective employer to alert them of your qualifications and willingness to work for their company. It should be carefully written so that it catches the eye of your potential employer as soon as they read it. Many people make this mistake by mistyping one or two letters in their application, making it look like its not made by a professional. Don’t let this happen to you. Here are some quick and easy cover letter writing tips to help you succeed.
When writing a cover letter, it is important to keep it professional yet warm. This means that you don’t have to copy everything verbatim from an example. Instead, use what you know to best highlight your skills and strengths and also let them know why you would be good for the job at hand. When you can follow this basic outline, it will go a long way towards helping you land that interview, and eventually land that job.
Another important aspect of this letter is that it needs to be kept short and sweet. Remember, you are trying to sell yourself to the employer here. Nobody wants to read a four-page letter that has nothing of substance. So keep it brief and to the point.
When writing a cover letter for any position, adhere to the following useful tips in order to make it an attractive piece of writing.
Top 14 Cover Letter Writing Tips
1. Address your cover to the individual by name who has the power to hire you.
2. Emphasize the future, not the past. That is to say, what kind of expertise and capabilities you will bring to the prospective employer.
3. Change the structure of every sentence to a great extent.
4. Edit and rewrite your letter at least three times in order to create a refined version.
5. Show your unique personality by adhering to a business-like approach.
6. Carefully address any career red flags such as gaps in jobs or education and reasons for a career change.
7. Usually, email cover letters do not require headings, dates, and addresses.
8. If you have attached a resume, references or transcripts, type “Attachment(s)” after your signature and name.
9. Keep a soft copy of your cover letter for future references.
10. Always have some friend or family member proofread your letter to identify any typos or misuse of words which might not be caught by a spell checker.
11. Use a laser printer on a high DPI.
12. Make use of a high-quality paper on standard-size (8.5″ x 11”).
13. Choose a white or off-white paper, which must match with the paper of the resume.
14. Send your letter in a big envelope so that sheets of cover letter and resume can fit inside without being folded.
7 Cover Letter Don’ts
- Do not over-stuff your cover letter with the pronouns “I,” “me” or “my.”
- Don’t talk badly about your previous employer, coworker, or work environment.
- Don’t use too-informal language or abbreviations.
- Try not to repeat the same idea.
- Keep away from any negativity.
- Never exceed the length of your letter to one page. Writing a long cover letter means that you are trying to hide some negative facts.
- Don’t forget to sign your letters immediately above your typed name.
3 Tips for Submitting a Cover Letter
Don’t waste your hard effort by sending a cover letter with small mistakes, or failing to follow submission requirements. Do the following:
1. Proofread it first
Don’t even think about submitting your cover letter until you’ve given it a thorough review. Run a spell check, read it over at least three times (and once out loud), and even put it into a different font before reading it again.
2. Get a second opinion
Ask someone you trust to read your cover letter. They can help you assess its clarity, effectiveness, and readability. They’ll likely pick up on any missed grammar errors or typos, too.
3. Study the job listing’s submission requirements
Read through all the requirements in the job description, and follow the instructions perfectly. Don’t miss any small details and risk looking sloppy (or having your application rejected immediately). Keep an eye out for instructions regarding:
- Subject lines: Is there a required format for the email subject line? e.g., [Name — Position]
- Required attachments: Have you included all necessary attachments, such as your resume, cover letter, and portfolio? Don’t forget the spelling of “resume” is important. If the instructions call it a “résumé,” you should use accents too.
- Attachment naming conventions: Did you include your name in the filenames for all attachments? e.g., “Naomi Smalls — Cover Letter.pdf”
- Other: Did you follow all other instructions? Some companies will include odd instructions that you must follow to see if you’re paying attention — like including a specific keyword on your cover letter.