Essential Tips for Your Cover Letter

John Krautzel
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A cover letter is a crucial component of the job search. Employers and hiring managers seek candidates who can accurately articulate their skills and experience in an engaging manner while connecting their interests to the company as a whole. Create a letter that gets your foot in the door and ultimately lands you the job.

Keep It Brief

An effective cover letter is brief and concise. Compile a letter to accompany your resume that consists of three short paragraphs. Capture the reader's attention in the first paragraph by detailing why you want the position and explaining how you stand out from the typical applicant, explains Vault Careers. Avoid overused, common phrases, such as "Please see my resume for XYZ position." Include a second paragraph that provides specific information about your qualifications and work experience. Detail professional achievements that are relevant to the industry, and use keywords from the job description to show that you are well-versed in jargon used in the industry. Provide a call to action in the third paragraph that directly requests an interview and an opportunity to explain your qualifications in person.

Use Precise Language

Avoid addressing your cover letter generically by using "To whom it may concern" or "Dear hiring manager." Research the company and the executives to find a specific individual to address when writing your letter. Hiring managers are seeking candidates who have taken the time to learn about the company and its employees. Applicants should also use language present in the job description when describing skills and experience. Detail your experience with specific computer programs and applications the company utilizes, and outline how your skills are in line with what the company is seeking in an employee.

Customize the Letter

It may be tempting to craft a generic template for your cover letter, but the time saved can cost you the job. Customize your letter during your job search so that it is personalized for each position. Avoid general language that applies to multiple positions, and be specific when writing. Hiring managers can spot a template right away and may assume that you have not put in the time and effort desired when applying for a position.


A cover letter riddled with grammar, punctuation and spelling errors damages your credibility. Proofread the letter carefully, and check your writing for organization, flow and clarity. Ask a professional to review your letter and provide suggestions for improvement to ensure your application materials are professional and industry-specific.

A well-written cover letter separates the top candidates from individuals who do not appear to be as serious about obtaining a position with the company. Show that you are the best fit for the job by paying close attention to detail, customizing the letter and proofreading it thoroughly.

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