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A cover letter or covering letter can also be called

a resume or CV

a CV sales letter

a letter of application

Job applicants must send a cover letter _______ sending their resume.

A cover letter should be

clear and concise

friendly and funny

long and detailed

If a cover letter is poorly-written, most employers will _______ the applicant.

Which date format is best for a cover letter?

October 9, 2020

Your name should be _______ of the letter.

in the middle

at the bottom

Which topic isn't normally mentioned in a cover letter?

the position

the company

Your cover letter should explain how much you will _______ the company.

Cover letters often begin with the applicant explaining how they

began their education

spend their free time

found out about the job

Your cover letter can summarize a key selling point such as your

work history

medical history

relevant experience

Which of the following is not a function of a cover letter?

To inform the employer of the job you are applying for

To show how well you write

To inform the reader of what you expect to get out of the job you're applying for

To entice the reader to want to get to know you better by interviewing you

When should you send a cover letter?

Only when an ad specifically requests it

Every time you send out your resume

When you need to list your salary requirement

When you need to list references

Which of the following is NOT something that a cover letter writer should always do in his or her opening paragraph?

Inform on why he or she is writing

Impress he employer with knowledge of the company

Be specific about the position sought and what they can can offer

Mention salary specifications

The effectiveness of taking risks with the opening paragraph of your letter depends greatly on the field in which you are are seeking a job.

Which of the following is NOT something that a cover letter should always contain in its closing paragraph?

Request for an interview

Statement that you look forward to hearing from the recipient

Statement thanking the employer for considering the cover letter (and resume)

Which of the following is necessary for a successful cover letter?

Opening, body and closing paragraphs

Addressing the letter to a specific individual or department

Connecting your skills to the ones profiled in the job advertisement

All of the above

What's the best way to make value judgments or claims of personal attributes more credible in a cover letter?

Use very positive language in making the claim

Substantiate the claims by backing them up with examples

There is no good way to make such claims, so omit them

Employers like candidates to express a willingness to perform any available job.

If you are not fully qualified, it's always best to discuss the reasons why you aren't fully qualified in the letter.

It's okay to mention skills gained in school even if they have nothing to do with the job sought.

How can you make the most of your college experience in your cover letter?

Describe skills gained in the classroom

Describe sports and extracurricular activities

Discuss hands-on projects

Transferable skills should be portrayed in the resume only, NOT in the cover letter.

Your cover letter should be addressed to:

"To Whom it May Concern"

The company's name

A specific person (ex. Mr. Smith, Director of Marketing)

The company's president

True or False: A cover letter can be handwritten.

How many typos are permitted in a cover letter?

When writing your cover letter, you should:

Simply copy and paste the same letter over and over

Create an original letter for each job application

Copy and paste the first and last paragraphs, but tailor the rest to the employer

The ___________ paragraph should create interest and explain why you are writing. It should state the type of position you are applying for.


Cover letters are typically divided into _________ categories?

A cover letter serves to __________________

Create a favourable first impression.

Demonstrate your professionalism.

Illustrate your communication skills.

All of them

Cover letters are generally _____ page at most in length.

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a cover letter can also be called

Business English Quiz for ESL learners

Cover Letter Quiz

You can do this quiz online or print it on paper. It tests what you learned on the Your Cover Letter page in our Business English section on Resumes and Cover Letters.

1. A cover letter or covering letter can also be called

2. Job applicants must send a cover letter _______ sending their resume.

3. A cover letter should be

4. If a cover letter is poorly-written, most employers will _______ the applicant.

5. Which date format is best for a cover letter?

6. Your name should be _______ of the letter.

7. Which topic isn't normally mentioned in a cover letter?

8. Your cover letter should explain how much you will _______ the company.

9. Cover letters often begin with the applicant explaining how they

10. Your cover letter can summarize a key selling point such as your

Your score is:

Correct answers:

Cover Letter MCQs – TBW

Cover letter mcqs in technical business writing.

______ is the correct and good date format for a cover letter. (A) . 10/9/20 (B). 9/10/20 (C). October 9, 2020 Answer: C In a cover letter ___ topic is not normally mentioned. (A) . the salary (B). the position (C). the company Answer: A

How much you ___________ the company it should be mentioned in your cover letter. (A) . charge (B). benefit (C). disrupt Answer: B

Where should your name be in the letter? (A) . at the top (B). at the bottom (C). in the middle Answer: B How should a cover letter be? (A) . long and detailed (B). friendly and funny (C). clear and concise Answer: C Most employees will ____________ the applicant if a cover letter is poorly written. (A) . forgive (B). contact (C). reject Answer: C

_______ is also known as cover letter. (A) . a letter of application (B). a CV sales letter (C). a resume or CV

Answer: A _____ sending their resume the job applicants must send a cover letter. (A) . before (B). after (C). when

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What Is a Cover Letter?

Understanding cover letters, types of cover letters, how to write a cover letter, tips for writing a cover letter.

  • Cover Letter FAQs

The Bottom Line

Career Advice

What Is a Cover Letter? Types and How To Write One

Andrew Ancheta is a finance editor who has reported extensively on cryptocurrency, NFTs, economics, and history. He previously worked as an editor for China Daily.

a cover letter can also be called

A cover letter is a written document commonly submitted with a job application outlining the applicant's credentials and interest in the open position. Since a cover letter is often one of only two documents sent to a potential employer, a well- or poorly-written letter can impact whether the applicant is called for an interview .

Key Takeaways

  • A cover letter is commonly submitted with a job application explaining the applicant's credentials and interest in the position.
  • A good cover letter complements the resume and explains why the candidate is the ideal person for the job.
  • Common cover letter mistakes can sink a job applicant.

7 Cover Letter Blunders

Most job postings are done online and no longer require a physical application. Instead, applicants send companies a copy of their resume along with a cover letter either by email or with a hard copy through the mail. A resume offers a glimpse into the professional and academic experience of a potential employee. The cover letter, on the other hand, acts as an introduction written by the candidate to express their interest in the position and what makes them the best fit for the job.

A good cover letter complements a resume by expanding on items relevant to the job. In essence, it's a sales pitch that describes why the applicant is the best person for the position. Career experts advise job seekers to spend time customizing each cover letter for the particular position, rather than using a generic missive. Although this requires extra effort, it can be very helpful in allowing an applicant to stand out above the competition.

The cover letter provides information to the employer about who the candidate is as a professional and as a person. This includes their areas of interest, professional goals, knowledge, skills they've gained over the years, achievements, passions, and aspirations. The cover letter should be a one-page document that provides a clear and concise idea about why the candidate is the best person for the job . It should also highlight the cultural fit.

While there is no set template for a cover letter, the type of letter that you write will depend on the requirements of each individual company or employer. The information that is included in a cover letter will vary depending on the goals and purpose of your application.

  • An application cover letter is the most familiar type of cover letter. This is generally written in response to a vacancy that is posted on a company's website or a job board. In addition to answering any specific questions posted in the job ad, it may also highlight any experience or skills that are suitable for the position.
  • A referral cover letter is similar to an application letter, but it includes the name of a colleague or employee who recommended the applicant for the open position. A strong referral can help you stand out against other applicants.
  • A prospecting cover letter , also known as a letter of interest, is written by a job seeker and addressed to a company where they would like to work. However, it is not aimed at a specific role or vacancy. Instead, this type of letter inquires about open positions in general and may highlight any special skills that make the writer suitable for the company.

When employers post a job ad that requires a cover letter, they may specify certain requirements for the cover letter to address. For example, they may require applicants to answer certain questions, or to respect a certain word limit. It is important to follow these requirements, as they reflect on the applicant's ability to understand and follow directions.

If the employer does not set any expectations, a typical cover letter should be about a page or less, and may include a formal greeting, contact information, and links to the applicant's portfolio or work. It should highlight any special skills, and explain why you would be a good fit for the position. This is your chance to impress the employer: Even if your resume does not have everything an employer wants, a well-written cover letter can make the applicant stand out from the crowd.

However, it is possible to include too much information. Most employers will simply glance at the majority of their cover letters, and a long-winded essay might end up at the bottom of the pile. A few short paragraphs explaining your skills, and why you chose that specific employer, should be enough to put your best foot forward.

Writing a cover letter doesn't have to be tedious—even though it may seem like it's a chore. Here are a few simple tips you may want to consider when composing your cover letter:

  • Personalize your letter for each role. Never use a generic cover letter. This means you have to write a new one for each position. Be sure to include your strengths and skills, and explain why you’re the perfect candidate.
  • Include contact information. If the posting doesn't include the hiring manager's name, call the company , or check its website. Including this person's name gives your letter a proper greeting and also shows you have initiative. And don't forget to add your contact information, too. This is important if your resume gets separated from your cover letter.
  • Simplify your letter. Communicate clearly and concisely. Using complex words and sentences would most certainly fail to convey your intentions with the company and the person reading the letter probably won't bother with the rest of your application.
  • Be specific when needed. Don't rehash your resume, so be sure to quantify your accomplishments. For instance, expand on your marketing experience in your cover letter by saying you brought in 200 additional clients each month and increased revenue to $10,000. This can set you apart from candidates with vague personal details.
  • Proofread. After you’ve written the letter, go over it a few times to ensure there are no errors. Then ask someone else to do a once-over and recommend any changes you may need to make.

A simple, focused cover letter without any typos or grammatical errors will get you noticed by potential employers.

A perfect resume can often be sabotaged by a poorly thought-out cover letter or one that is laden with mistakes. Whether you include the letter as per required submission guidelines, or you simply want to emphasize your interest in the job, make sure you avoid making these blunders.

  • Names matter. This includes the name of the hiring manager, the company, and yes, even yours. Make sure you have the right names and the correct spelling. And don't forget to change the names if you're using the same cover letter for multiple jobs.
  • Restating your resume. Since the cover letter is used to identify your skills and explain how your previous experience is applicable to the desired position, don't restate the stuff on your resume. Remember, the cover letter should complement your resume, not just summarize it.
  • Keep your letter tight. Recruiters often go through hundreds of applications and don't have time to read through a three-page missive. The absolute maximum length for a cover letter should be one page, with a few concise paragraphs.
  • Omit unnecessary details. Stay on topic. There's no need to mention your graphic-design skills if you're applying for an accounting position. It's a good idea to leave out personal things like your IQ, recreational accomplishments, interests, and hobbies. That is unless they relate to the job or company.
  • Avoid sounding arrogant. Ensure your cover letter does not make you appear arrogant . While the cover letter is about you and your accomplishments, find a way of saying "I'm the best" without actually saying it. Avoid overusing words like "I," "me," or "my."
  • Remember that spelling counts. Typos and grammatical errors can show you didn't bother to proofread your own letter. And make sure to be consistent—don't convey a dash with "--" in one place and "—" in another.
  • Design matters : with the proliferation of publishing, design trends, and software, candidates have become creative in making their cover letter stand out from a design perspective. Make sure your cover letter projects your personality in terms of design while remaining professional. That is personal signature and branding.

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

According to Indeed , a leading job-seeking site, a typical cover letter should be about three or four paragraphs long and highlight any special experience or achievements that make the applicant exceptionally well-suited to the position.

How Do You Start a Cover Letter?

A cover letter should start with a formal greeting, preferably addressed to the hiring manager. If you do not know who will be reading your cover letter, a generic "to whom it may concern" is an acceptable, albeit old-fashioned, way to address a cover letter. It is also acceptable to address the letter to a title, such as "Dear Hiring Manager," or "Dear Talent Acquisition Team."

What Should a Cover Letter Contain?

An effective cover letter should highlight the applicant's skills, experience, and any achievements that make them a good fit for their prospective employer. It is also a good chance to mention anything that is not included in the resume: For example, if an applicant is drawn to a certain employer because they love a certain product, the cover letter is a great place to mention it. Make sure your cover letter also includes your name and contact information.

In a competitive jobs market, an effective cover letter is one way to make a job application stand out. This is a chance for an applicant to demonstrate why they think they would be a good fit. However, a poorly-written or meandering cover letter can hurt an application more than it helps.

Harvard Extension School. " Resources and Cover Letters: An Extension School Resource ," Pages 3 and 5.

Harvard Extension School. " Resources and Cover Letters: An Extension School Resource ," Page 5.

Jobscan. " Cover Letter Formats ."

Indeed. " What Is a Cover Letter? "

Indeed. " How to Address a Cover Letter (With Examples). "


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Cover letters

A resume’s best friend.

A cover letter (also called a letter of introduction or letter of application) is used in response to an advertised position. It’s another way to introduce yourself to a future employer while highlighting your relevant skills, abilities, and experience. A strong cover letter can be the difference between standing out during the application process or missing a potential opportunity.

You can use this template [PDF] to get you started.

General format

Introduction paragraph

Introduce yourself and inform the reader why you are writing, how you learned of the position, and of any personal contacts you may have with the organization. Mention aspects of the organization that interest you based on your research.

Second and third paragraphs

Clearly express why you want this position and how you are a good fit for the position and/or company. Inform the reader(s) of your skills and qualifications and how they can benefit the company. Focus on 2-3 specific qualifications and provide examples of how you’ve demonstrated the skills they are looking for. Use your voice to help bring life and personality to your application.

Final/closing paragraph

Summarize and reiterate how your skills and qualifications can match their needs. Request a specific follow up (generally an interview) and give the employer one or two good ways to contact you. Thank the reader for his/her/their time and let them know a specific date, generally within a week, that you will follow up with them.

Additional types of letters

In addition to the cover letter, there are three other types of letters commonly used in the job search.

  • Letters of inquiry : used to ask about available or anticipated positions
  • Follow-up : used to announce any follow-up correspondence (e.g., forwarding a transcript, references, checking on application status)
  • Thank you : used to show appreciation to anyone who has helped you in your job search

Cover letter tips

  • Keep to 1 page in length
  • Tailor a cover letter for each position you apply for
  • Be sure to focus on adding specific examples of the skills you have to offer. This is the biggest part of the cover letter and what makes it different from your resume.
  • Remove words or phrases that add length, not substance
  • Address your letter to the hiring manager directly instead of using "To Whom it May Concern:"
  • Make sure there are no grammatical or punctuation mistakes
  • Use the same font style in your cover letter that is used in your resume
  • Focus on specific skills and how you are an ideal candidate for the position and organization

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a cover letter can also be called

Free Australian Resume Template

a cover letter can also be called

What is an application letter?


Also known as a cover letter, an application letter is a summary of your strongest and most relevant skills and abilities that will be expanded in your resume or selection criteria. It introduces you to potential employers and highlights your suitability for the position you are applying for.

All written applications should include an application letter. In many cases, your application letter is just as important as your resume. It is unlikely that your resume will be read if your application letter doesn't make a good first impression.

The Dos and Don'ts

What to include.

At the top ↑ :

a cover letter can also be called

At the bottom ↓ :

An application letter can be structured into 3 parts:


The beginning of your application letter should include:

The body of the application letter is where you 'sell yourself. It should address the key requirements stated in the job ad, describing how you have the required qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience.

Identify keywords, phrases and skills mentioned in the ad and focus on emphasising your strengths in these areas. It isn't necessary to include everything mentioned in the job ad. Instead, focus on three to five of the most important elements.

Points to remember:

  • Keep to one theme per paragraph and support your claims with examples.
  • Write persuasively
  • Explain why you are interested in the position or working for the company / organisation
  • State the value you will bring to the position
  • Identify how your achievements and skills qualify you for the role

At the end of the letter:

Sample Cover Letter

Mailing address

Telephone number(s)

Email address

Today's date

Your addressee's name

Professional title

Organisation name

Dear Mr/Ms [last name],

RE: Application for [job role], reference number [number]

Start your application letter with a statement that establishes a connection with your reader. Briefly say what job you are applying for and where you saw the job advertisement.

The mid-section of your application letter should include short paragraphs that make relevant points about how your qualifications and skills make you a good fit for the position. You should not summarise your resume. You may include bullet points here. Choose some qualifications, skills and experience that really target the position you are applying for. Do not go overboard and save information for the interview.

Your concluding paragraph should instigate the reader to contact you for an interview. Refer to any attachments added to your application. Show appreciation for consideration and say thank you.

Yours sincerely, 

(Include your contact details here if you do not add them at the top of the letter)

Further Support

Below are some useful links providing further support with:

They also include example cover letters. Please note, it is important to use examples as a guide only. DO NOT copy the examples and use them as your own.

  • What is a Cover Letter? Useful advice and tips from
  • Cover Letters - The Good and The Bad A few simple tips from to help you get your cover letter noticed.
  • Cover Letters - Monash University More advice about format and content of a cover letter, as well as industry specific examples.

Additional Resource

a cover letter can also be called

Featured Resources

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Copyright © 2019 Australian National Institute of Management and Commerce (IMC) Registered Higher Education Provider TEQSA PRV12059 | CRICOS 02491D Top Education Group Ltd ACN 098 139 176 trading as Australian National Institute of Management and Commerce (IMC) All content is subject to change.

5 Things You Should Never Put in Your Cover Letter

Table of contents.

  • Cover letters are written introductions by a job candidate expressing their interest in working with a company.
  • A well-written cover letter gives recruiters a better idea of who an applicant is as a person.
  • Recruiters are more likely to select candidates to interview based on a cover letter if their experience matches the job requirements.
  • This article is for job applicants who want to write cover letters that stand out.

When submitting a job application, your resume can only go so far. Resumes tell prospective employers about your experience and education, but they are essentially fact sheets. A cover letter gives applicants the opportunity to share more detailed information on why they’d be a good fit for a certain role at a specific company.

Here’s a guide to what a cover letter is, why it is important, and how to write one – with tips from seasoned professionals.

What not to include in a cover letter

A cover letter can demonstrate to a hiring manager why you are the best fit for a position, so it’s worth your time and effort to get it just right. However, it can be challenging to craft an effective cover letter that showcases your skills without making you seem self-important or succumbing to cliches.

To help you stay clear of the most treacherous cover letter pitfalls, Business News Daily asked hiring managers and business owners for the absolute worst thing a candidate can include in their cover letter. Here are the five most damaging cover letter mistakes.

Highlighting any lack of skills

It’s easy to feel vulnerable when applying for a job, especially if you know that you have limited experience with some of the skills the position requires. However, starting off a cover letter by underselling yourself or drawing attention to the skills or knowledge you are lacking is never the way to go.

“I have seen one too many cover letters with the following phrase: ‘Although I do not yet have …,'” said author and career coach Lavie Margolin. “If you do not have something, why are you emphasizing it?”

Instead, Margolin advised job seekers to focus on existing skills, experiences and talents that will be of interest to the potential employer.

“If you are looking for a job, then you are in the sales business. What you write in your cover letter should most effectively sell the skills, experience, and abilities that you do have, as opposed to emphasizing those things that are lacking. Emphasizing a weakness on your cover letter may be costing you the job.”

Lack of attention to detail

Sometimes job seekers get so caught up in finding the best way to express their big ideas that they forget to pay close attention to the fine details. Typos are one of the top mistakes job seekers make when it comes to cover letters, said Joe Weinlick, senior vice president of marketing at Beyond.

Rigorously proofreading your cover letter will give your great content an opportunity to shine. “Spell-check is your friend. Use it, but don’t rely on it,” Weinlick said. “Print out your cover letter, read it from start to finish, and make sure there aren’t any typos before sending it out. Your cover letter is the first impression you make on a hiring manager – make sure it’s a good one.”

You can reuse parts of your cover letter when applying for similar positions with different companies. However, failing to update the company information for each letter is an unforgivable offense.

“Nothing will get your cover letter thrown in the recycling bin faster than giving the wrong company name,” said Chaz Kyser, founder of Careeranista.

According to Kyser, checking for accuracy includes making sure you have the correct company name and address, specifying the position for which you are applying, and including the name of the hiring manager, if available.

While you are proofreading, you may also want to delete any cliches that sound nice, but say very little. Instead of using vague words to describe your work ethic or experience, provide specific examples that demonstrate the qualities that you’d like to highlight.

“Don’t use buzzwords,” said Bob Kovalsky, vice president of Volt Workforce Solutions. “Including descriptors such as ‘detail-oriented,’ ‘hardworking,’ ‘team player’ and ‘proactive’ doesn’t tell HR managers anything about your experience.” [Related: 10 Worthless Words to Delete From Your LinkedIn Profile ]

Remaining stuck in the past

Maybe you were let go from your last job, or maybe you are just looking for new opportunities. Regardless of the reason for your job search, don’t spend the limited space of your cover letter focusing on your past.

“The worst thing a potential employee can do [in a cover letter] is to explain why they left their current or former position,” said Kim Kaupe, co-founder of Bright Ideas Only. “It’s like starting out a first date by talking about your ex! I don’t want to hear about your past; I want to hear about your now and future, and how you are going to become an asset to my company.”

Steering clear of the past is especially important if you had a contentious relationship with an employer. “Saying that you’re looking for a new opportunity because your previous employer was unfair or you had an incompetent boss will only make you look bad,” said Tracy Russell, talent acquisition coordinator at Intuit. “Oftentimes, if this type of negative information is in the cover letter, recruiters won’t even look at the resume .”

Talking about money too soon

There is a time and place to discuss salary during the hiring process, but your cover letter isn’t it. Lisa Benson, president and CEO of Mary Kraft HR, advises against providing any unsolicited salary information in the cover letter, “unless [you] are specifically asked to do so, particularly if there is a disparity between what is advertised or indicated in the ad [you] are responding to. No prospective employer wants to hire someone who is only about the money.”

Making it all about you

Another common mistake that applicants make is using their cover letter to boast about their talents without acknowledging how they will use these skills to benefit a prospective employer.

“The worst thing a candidate can do in their cover letter is make it all about themselves and what they’re looking for,” said Ian Yates, co-founder of candidate sourcing platform Fitzii. “The best thing to do is focus on why they’ll be a great fit, how they’ll make a contribution, and what they’ve done, or will do, to support [the organization].”

“It is a fine line between confident and arrogant,” added Sue Hardek, managing partner at Talentfoot Executive Search & Staffing. She noted that any candidate should avoid “overselling him or herself, or being boastful about accomplishments and strengths.” Applicants should also steer clear of oversharing personal history, exaggerating or providing false information.

Job seekers who do their homework – researching the company, learning about industry trends, and identifying specific ways they can address challenges faced by the business – have a much better shot at setting the right tone with their cover letters.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a company’s first introduction to who you are as a person. Your resume will explain your previous work experience and skills, but your cover letter is an opportunity to show recruiters your personal side. Employers get lots of applications, many of which display similar backgrounds and experience. A cover letter helps narrow down their talent pool.

Some job listings require the candidate to submit a cover letter, while others make the cover letter optional. Applicants should always take the time to write a cover letter to express their interest in the company and flesh out their professional experience. Cover letters are typically written in a three-paragraph format and should be no more than 300 words.

The benefits of a cover letter

Not all job application processes require a cover letter, so you may be tempted to skip this step. However, a cover letter gives you some big advantages.

It personalizes your application.

Even well-composed resumes don’t give applicants the opportunity to show off their writing skills. A cover letter can help candidates sell themselves by letting their personalities shine through. Recruiters get a sense of who the candidate is beyond their work experience and education. It also allows them to discuss parts of their background that may not be explicitly stated on a resume, but are relevant to the job they’re applying for.

It showcases your interest in the position and/or company.

Many candidates blindly shoot off job applications, believing in quantity over quality. To be as efficient as possible, they’ll either send a generic cover letter or fail to send one altogether. A cover letter with specific details about why you would be a great fit for the company you’re applying to shows you’ve done your research and are interested in working for that company specifically. Employers will take notice of candidates who took their time to learn about the company and want to be there, as opposed to just wanting a job.

It demonstrates your hard work.

Taking the time to draft a well-researched cover letter shows employers you’re self-motivated and passionate about the position for which you’re applying. The skills of researching, writing and submitting clean copy before the deadline demonstrates your ability to work and follow directions.

How to write a good cover letter

Hiring managers may receive hundreds of cover letters and resumes for a single job post. Potential employees only have a few seconds to make a good first impression, and a boring cover letter could land them straight in the “no” pile.

Cover letters allow employers to hear your voice, understand your intentions and learn about your personality. Hiring managers want to know why your skills and personality are the right fit for the company, and a successful cover letter should do this.

Follow these eight tips from hiring experts to write a cover letter that will score you an interview:

1. Be yourself.

You don’t want to sound like everyone else. Give hiring managers a sense of your personality and how you might fit into the company.

“One key thing we look for is whether they’ve incorporated aspects of their personality into examples of how they would succeed in this position,” said Margaret Freel, former corporate recruiter at TechSmith Corp.

Mentioning experiences that qualify you for that particular position is one way to personalize your letter, Freel added. “Candidates should be concise and self-aware enough to know how their track record of results makes them unique, and [be] able to relate that back to the position.”

2. Do your research and customize it.

Just like your resume, your cover letter should be tailored to each position and company. Instead of a template-style cover letter, use industry-specific language that references points from the job description and company website.

Do your research, find out who the hiring manager is, and address the cover letter to them. While this isn’t always possible, addressing the hiring manager specifically sets you apart. If you’re unsure who the hiring manager is, use a generic salutation – but only as a last resort.

“Address the cover letter to a specific person within the company, not the general – and much-hated – ‘dear sir or madam,'” said Alina Cincan, managing director and co-founder of Inbox Translation. “This shows the candidate has done some research and is truly interested in working with that company, not just any company.”

Christa Shapiro, former managing director at the staffing firm Kforce, said one thing that always draws attention to a cover letter is mentioning why you want to be a part of that particular organization. Show a passion for the organization and industry – employers don’t want to hire someone who will not care about their work.

If you can’t find the name of the hiring manager, “dear hiring team” is a friendlier introduction than “to whom it may concern.”

3. Be creative.

Hiring managers aren’t going to finish reading your cover letter if they are bored after the first line. A strong intro should highlight experiences, years of work or something specific from the job posting, suggested Kyser.

“Hiring managers often pay even less attention to cover letters than they do resumes, so having something more than ‘I am applying for the position and such and such’ in your first paragraph is key,” she told Business News Daily.

Another way you can make your cover letter pop is to include a brief story that connects you to the company through its mission and/or product. “This exercise will undoubtedly separate you from the majority of other candidates,” said Kenneth Johnson, president of East Coast Executives.

4. Mention referrals.

If you were introduced or connected to a hiring manager by a specific employee at the company or a mutual industry contact, include that person’s name in your cover letter (with their permission).

“Candidates can include referrals in a cover letter to make them stand out,” said Bill Peppler, COO of staffing firm Kavaliro. “They should always gain permission for this before they name-drop, but the cover letter gives a great opportunity to include the name of someone that can vouch for your skills.”

5. Address potential resume concerns.

A well-crafted cover letter does more than explain why you’re the right person for the job. It also gives you the chance to explain items on your resume that might otherwise be considered red flags.

“Address any issues that may give a hiring manager pause, such as gaps in employment,” said Diane Domeyer Kock, senior vice president and managing director at Robert Half.

6. Don’t just repeat your resume.

While your cover letter should reference material from your resume, it shouldn’t simply be a word-for-word repeat, said Jane Trnka, former executive director of the career resources center for business graduate students at Rollins College. Use the cover letter to expand where necessary and discuss your listed experiences from a different angle.

“Craft the letter to acknowledge the requirements of the role and culture of the organization, while highlighting the skills and experiences that align with the job description,” Trnka told Business News Daily.

A cover letter is a great place to discuss any volunteer efforts or side projects that may not be on your resume but are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

7. Proofread and fact-check.

As with any other job application materials, it’s imperative to check and double-check your cover letter for any grammatical or factual errors. Even the smallest mistake can make a bad impression on the person reading your letter.

“If there are errors of any kind, it’s a huge red flag,” said Guryan Tighe, leadership coach and founder of Fourage. “This is your one opportunity to impress [the hiring manager] and show who you are. If there are typos, misspellings, or formatting issues, it’s generally an automatic out.”

8. Keep it brief.

Hiring managers are busy and usually have a lot of applications to look at. Keeping your cover letter concise and to the point will improve your chances of it being read and makes the hiring manager’s job easier – which is always a good thing.

“The best cover letters can [be] concise, friendly and transparent,” said Chris Wood, president of Paige Technologies. “The best cover letters get right to the heart of why we are a great fit for them, and why they are the best fit for us.”

Sean Peek, Saige Driver and Brittney Morgan contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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