Stand out from the stack: how to write a good cover letter

October 27, 2014

A cover letter provides an opportune moment to sell yourself and show off your skills before landing an interview. Here are a few tips to help you write a great cover letter.

Stand out from the stack: how to write a good cover letter

What is a cover letter?

First and foremost, a cover letter says a lot more about your personality than your resume can. It reveals, among other things, your level of professionalism, your communication style and your ability to articulate your ideas clearly.

Advantages of a cover letter

A cover letter gives you the opportunity to engage with the recruiter directly. You must make sure that you highlight your strengths and skills right away if you want a prospective employer to continue reading.

You can use this opportunity to specify elements of your resume, such as a recent career change or by explaining your job search process.

What to write in a cover letter

Here are some ideas to help you write your letter:

  • First mention the position you're applying for and where you saw the posting. Use the same job title and the same corresponding reference number, especially if the opportunity is posted by a placement agency.
  • Write a different letter for each job you’re applying for since cover letters should be customized for maximum impact. It's a good idea to mention why you think you have what it takes to fulfill the functions of the position. Next, insert keywords lifted directly from the description of responsibilities and required skills listed in the job posting.
  • Express your career objectives and identify your strengths
  • Note significant achievements that are relevant to the position you’re applying for
  • Explain why you want to work for this particular company
  • Use a clear and professional font (not too small or too big!), and stick to a maximum length of three quarters of a page
  • Make sure your text is impeccable and ask someone with excellent language skills to edit it.
  • Make sure you have entered all the company information correctly (name and full address) and the name of the person responsible for recruiting. If no name is indicated, simply address it to Human Resources.

Remember to add a cover letter to your resume, even if it’s not required. If you’re not comfortable or are unsure how to get started, use a template. The Internet is packed with job search and career advice websites to help with resume and cover letter writing.

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