Your cover letter is a vital part of your job application materials. Think your cover letter is ready to be seen by employers? To be sure, use this checklist to guarantee that you've written the most dynamic (and powerful) cover letter possible.
Every single item below is a cover letter must. Cover letter writing resources are provided at the close of the article, should you need a helping hand in addressing any of the items in the checklist.
If you are ready to jump into creating your cover letter now, our professional Cover Letter Builder can help. The Builder offers assistance with the writing of all key cover letter sections, plus help with fonts and margins.
Cover letter checklist for job seekers
Cover letter basics
- Is your cover letter a single page in length?
- Does it contain the five essential components of a cover letter?
Those components are:
- the greeting
- the opening paragraph
- the body paragraph(s)
- the closing paragraph
- closing salutation
- Is it in the right format for your career level? The three most basic resume formats are reverse chronological, functional and hybrid.
Appearance and inclusion of vital information
- Is it an original letter that is customized to the needs and requirements of the job ad you are responding to?
- Is it addressed to a particular individual (the hiring manager, for instance) or a particular department?
- Do you mention in the opening paragraph the name of the job and the company you are applying to?
- Is your contact information at the close of the letter, in the closing paragraph?
- Have you noted in the closing paragraph the best method of contact for reaching you?
- Are your margins in line? Are your paragraph breaks consistent?
Grammar and punctuation
- Is your cover letter totally free of grammatical errors and misspellings?
- Is all syntax, punctuation and capitalization correct?
- Have you correctly spelled the name of the company and the recruiter or hiring manager you are addressing the letter to?
Writing style and substance
- Is your letter thorough yet concise?
- Does your letter connect your skills, experience and talents to the candidate needs profiled in the job advertisement?
- Does your letter project confidence (and not arrogance)?
- Does your letter tell a story that will compel the reader to continue on to your resume?
- Is your letter free of any excess information that does not tie to the job you are applying for?
- Does your letter display basic knowledge of what the company does?
- Have you read the letter from the employer's perspective? Does it address what they are looking for in an applicant?
- Have you focused your letter on what you can do for the company, and not what the company can do for you?
If you are in need of a helping hand with perfecting your cover letter, let LiveCareer help. You can get expert advice on your letter when you use our Cover Letter Builder; you can also learn how to write a cover letter from top to bottom when you visit (and read) our How to Write a Cover Letter page.