7 Cover Letter Tips to Catch an Employer's Eye

Nancy Anderson
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A crucial part of job preparation is preparing a cover letter that impresses potential employers. Your resume is equally important, but a perfectly-written introductory letter that is engaging and in line with what the employer is looking for in a future employee can be a make-or-break factor in landing your dream career. Write a letter that catches an employer's eye and sends you on your way to a job interview.

Tailor Text to the Company

Personalize each letter to appeal to the hiring manager's needs. A generic cover letter or template that is used for just about any position with multiple companies is easy for employers to spot. Make sure the tone of the letter is appropriate for the business and appeals to the company culture. Change the wording to include keywords from the job description posted and tailor the letter to appeal to what suits the company.

Sell Yourself

Your resume alone will not get you the job, which is why it is important to sell your personality and skills in an accompanying letter. Connect your experiences to model what the company is seeking in a desired candidate and use persuasive, confident language to show you believe that you are the top applicant and the best fit for the job.

Show Unique Traits

Make yourself stand out from the competition by letting your personality shine. Outline how you are involved in the community, model your personality traits to match the company's culture and show that you are a team player by giving specific examples of group accomplishments from previous positions.

Don't Overshare

It is inevitable that you possess weaknesses, but a cover letter is not the place to share your strengths-in-training. Avoid volunteering information that can be viewed as negative traits. Focus on your strengths as if your weaknesses do not exist.

Focus on the Company

Show that you have researched the company by outlining how your skills match the job description. Avoid discussing how you can benefit from employment and focus on how you can improve and complement the company's processes, procedures and operations.

Keep it Brief

Hiring managers are often pressed for time, so make their job easier by keeping the length of a cover letter to one page if possible. Candidates who forward two and three-page letters often overwhelm potential employers and may not pass through the screening process. Employers want to see that you can detail your skills and experience in a concise manner during your job preparation.


Avoid the risk of your letter landing in the trash. A cover letter that is poorly written and riddled with grammar and punctuation errors makes a bad first impression. Employers may even assume that you do not pay close attention to detail and could potentially make mistakes while on the job.

A cover letter is just as important as a resume when submitting application materials to a potential employer. Ensure your job materials show your personality, your skills and your ability to submit clean and polished documents both prior to the interview and on the job.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Elizabeth thank you for your comment. I agree that a cover letter is the first impression also. We have seen or at least heard about people who lie on their resumes and who will eventually be found out. Sad that people do that. But it is true that the cover letter and the resume need to be companions of each other. Don't write a resume for a Senior Technical Lead and write a cover letter for a Junior Retail Salesclerk! I know that's quite an exaggeration but I see it happen over and over again. Lately I have been in lots of discussions about the cover letter. It seems to be split about 50/50 for those who believe the cover letter is extremely important to those who never send a cover letter. As for me, I would err on the side of caution and include a cover letter unless the posting specifically states resume only!

  • Elizabeth V.
    Elizabeth V.

    A must have. Resumes are important, but let's be honest, they can be exaggerated or bought. A cover letter is the first impression. Many times I have seen a cover letter that is totally opposite of the resume. Keep it short and to the point! Honesty is key. If you exaggerate skill set and get the position, What will you do when the company sees that you are not as qualified as your resume shows. Not only is that an embarrassing situation, it can hurt your credibility moving forward.

  • Greta M.
    Greta M.

    Agree a cover letter is helpful

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @John, a resume is still the most important part of applying to a position. However, if you do not send a cover letter or you try to send a "form-like" cover letter, you will hurt your chances. A company wants to see who you are and they can tell a lot from a cover letter. They can see your writing style and whether or not you can string several sentences together by using proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. They also want to know if you are just tossing your resume out there in hopes that someone will see it or if you really want to work for them - if you took the time to research their company and find out what they are all about. So don't discount the power of the cover letter!

  • myrlande l.
    myrlande l.

    I would rather see cover letters

  • John L.
    John L.

    I still believe that your resume is the most important thing that will impress a prospective employer. It gives them your previous work experience and skill sets.

  • Gregory Kelso
    Gregory Kelso

    I would rather actually see cover letters that demonstrate this rather than just read it. This sounds good, but it comes down to interpreting all this "advice" and writing that cover letter are two different things. Give me some examples!

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