The cover letter tips below are not required by law, and you won’t be rejected outright if you choose to ignore them. But if you keep them in mind and find a way to weave them seamlessly into your job search strategy , you’ll create a lasting impression in the minds of your readers and give yourself an edge over your competition. And you’ll definitely increase your odds of being called in for an interview.
1. Connect personally with your reader—using any tool you have.
You may not know this hiring manager personally, and you may not have a direct network connection to this person. But if you have anything in common with her—anything at all—be sure to mention this fact somewhere in your letter. Do you share an alma mater? Did you once attend the same conference? Do you have a mutual friend of a friend of a friend? Don’t overstate the warmth of your connection, but if you have one, use it.
2. Put your entire message at the top of the page.
Summarize your entire letter in one sentence, or generate a simple 10-word reason why you should be hired for this job instead of someone else. Then find a way to work this short, clear, hard-hitting, information-packed sentence into the first paragraph of your letter. Let this be one of the very first things your readers will see.
3. Keep it short.
Keep your letter under one page. Too much detail will bore your reader, and an hour after reviewing your letter, he won’t remember all these details anyway. Prioritize your credentials, and use your letter to emphasize only the strongest ones and those most relevant to the open position at hand.
4. Offer something no other candidate can.
Sure you’re a hard worker, sure you’re a team player, and sure you have a bachelor’s degree and a year or two of experience. But so does everyone else. What can you do for these employers that no other candidate can? What have you accomplished in the past that no other candidate can claim?
5. Tell a story.
Information is always easier for an audience to process and remember when it’s delivered in the form of a story. Create a gripping narrative for your readers, not just a laundry list of qualifications. Make yourself the likeable, relatable protagonist of a career journey unlike any other.
6. Choose one credential you want your readers to remember above all others.
If there’s only one thing your readers will remember about you, what would you like this thing to be? This should be the most important message in your letter, and it should be the last thing you mention (maybe for the second time) before you bring your letter to a close.
7. Sign off with class.
After you’ve made your best case and presented a short but convincing argument for why you should be hired, close your letter with dignity, poise, and a clear call to action. Invite (don’t command) your readers to meet with you in person and learn more about how you can help their organization succeed.
Start Strong & Finish Stronger
Create a positive, interesting, and memorable reading experience for your potential employers, and you’ll find yourself at the top of the interview list. Visit LiveCareer for a Cover Letter Builder that can help you get started.