Cover letters: Dos and Don'ts

Now that you’re familiar with cover letter basics from our last post, let’s get into some specifics! Here are five things to keep in mind as you’re writing your cover letters.

1) Address it to the right person

Make sure your cover letter is addressed to the correct contact person, and guarantee that it is addressed to the correct company. This information is usually posted on the job description and making an error on either of these points is likely to rule you out from consideration.

2) Salutation and sign off

Begin with “Dear” and end with “Sincerely.” Do not start with “Hi,” “Hello,”or “Greetings,” as these show a lack of professionalism. Also avoid “To Whom It May Concern” as you should know who to address the email to (see point #1 above). Similarly, do not sign off with “Thanks,” “Best,” or “Cheers.”

3) Be clear about which job you are applying for

Specify which job you are applying for, and ensure that the job title you include matches the one in the job description. Recruiters are often looking at dozens of applications per day. They may be filling several positions at a time, so you do not want them to get confused as they are reviewing your materials.

4) Clarity in communication

Be clear and concise. Communication is important in every job, and if you cannot explain why you are a strong applicant in your cover letter, a recruiter may question whether you are going to struggle to communicate on the job as well. Make sure to start with your best foot forward!

5) Keep it professional

A cover letter is as formal as a resume. Use proper formatting, spelling, and grammar. Run spell check, and read your cover letter out loud to make sure it flows as intended. Also ensure that you are not introducing conflicting information in your cover letter; make sure your contact information aligns between your resume and cover letter, and do not discuss topics in your cover letter that are not mentioned somewhere on your resume.

These tips should help keep your cover letters headed in the right direction. Tune in for our next blog post on mistakes to avoid in your cover letters, and let us know if you have any questions at in the meantime.

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