How to Write a Cover Letter They’ll Want to Read

The cover letter may be the most divisive piece of correspondence in today’s employment world. Many experts say you don’t even need one, while just as many say it is the most important thing you will ever write. But if you do write one, how can you ensure that it is read? And further, how can it give you an advantage over your competition? Before you send out your next cover letter, consider these tips to make it stand out.

  1. The right format. Before someone even sees the words you’ve written, they will be visually impacted by your letter. Don’t use graphics or creative fonts to get your point across, but use a format that is clean and easy to read. You can even use slightly larger margins, but not too large, which will make the words stand out and give the hiring manager a place to scribble notes.
  2. Clarity and brevity. A three page cover letter will simply never be read. Instead, you need to condense the most important information into just one, easy to read page. Get right to the point. Use the first paragraph to get the reader’s attention and tell them why they need to keep reading. Use just one or two more short paragraphs to share your most important accomplishments and invite them to contact you.
  3. Customization is key. Never send the exact same cover letter to two different potential employers. What you say to one employer may be completely different than what you need to say to another. And, worst case scenario, you send over something completely unrelated to their specific needs. Address the letter directly and use company information to sell yours elf directly.
  4. Enthusiasm and excitement. Tell them you want the job. Then tell them why you want the job. Then tell them how, if they hire you, you can be a benefit to their organization. Be excited about their company, not just going through the motions of job hunting. Do your homework and tell them why you want to work for them and not for someone else.

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