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Eight Tips For Writing a Cover Letter

Eight Tips For Writing a Cover Letter

Time-consuming cover letters might reduce the number of job applications you're able to fire out in a day, but including a letter increases your chances of landing an interview. Getting a foot in the door in this job market requires precision from job seekers, and it all starts with the introductory letter before employers even get to your resume. While cover letters can be a huge asset when they're done well, a poorly written letter can guarantee your resume doesn't get a first look. Cover your bases by following these eight tips.

  1. Do your best to find the name of the person who will be reviewing your resume, and as a last resort address it to the hiring manager.
  2. Steer clear of using too many sentences including "I"; instead, try to convey how your skills could help the company.
  3. Limit yourself to a maximum four paragraphs. Use the first paragraph to introduce yourself and the position you're applying for, then mention applicable skills and specific achievements while demonstrating your knowledge of the company, further explain your suitability if your resume can't say it all (like if you're changing careers), and sign off politely letting them know you'll be in touch.

To see five more cover letter tips,


  1. Keep it truthful — don't make up achievements from your last job just to impress the hiring manager.
  2. If sending in the mail, be sure to personally sign your letter.
  3. Make sure contact information is provided and it's accurate.
  4. Edit, edit, edit! Check for spelling errors, missing punctuation, and run-on sentences, and make sure more than one set of eyes reviews your letter before sending it.
  5. Ask yourself (and others) if you've given too much information. You don't want to give the employer any reason not to call you.


Join The Conversation
mishegas mishegas 8 years
My two cents: I think that, in addition to creativity, you want to emphasize your flexibility, to show that you not only have the skills, but that you are also willing to learn new things. That, I believe, makes for a viable candidate. That's the point I've been trying to drive home to myself as I try to find a job, anyway! :)
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
This is interesting but it still doesn't tell me what HR people are looking for. What am I really suppose to say if I cannot write that I am computer proficient and experienced with PDX and cord board switchboards? Cover letters and what HR people are really wanting in them - the specifics what should be in them - is the information that I need. I need specific information not vague instructions/guidelines. I truly do not believe that the cover letter should be a factor in whether a company looks at your resume - otherwise that company is wasting my time by asking me to send both when they do not intend on even looking at my resume in the first place. My time and energy is just as valuable as theirs - actually my time and energy is more valuable to me then their time. It's their job to being in candidates for consideration and if they don't bring in candidates they should find themselves looking for work too. Ah me and my evil ramblings.
itsme3683 itsme3683 8 years
valancyjane--so adorable!
MsWalton MsWalton 8 years
This is a fierce case of deja vu! In two of my classes, I had to revise my resume and cover letter. I feel like a pro at this after reading this article. Thanks Savvy!!
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
“Some people measure success in dollars and cents; I measure it in points and picas.” - I love that, valancyjane, very clever. :)
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
My situation's different because I've been in publishing up until now, but I try to treat the cover letter as a writing sample and make it interesting. When I was applying to newspaper copy desks, my opening line was “Some people measure success in dollars and cents; I measure it in points and picas.” (Point and picas are measurements used in page layout.) Then I talked about how I worked hard to write good headlines and how I hoped to do the same at XYZ newspaper. I got teased for it but the editor remembered it; when I left that job he said he always remembered that letter. Anyway, my point is, a little creativity can help a lot. And I agree with the advice to proofread, proofread again and have someone else proofread. Nothing worse than realizing after you've sent a letter that you misspelled something!
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
Good tips, I always keep these in mind.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
"Do your best to find the name of the person who will be reviewing your resume, and as a last resort address it to the hiring manager." Yes, yes and yes.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Great tips!
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