Posted November 16th 2016
A cover letter is an important piece of job search document which you can use to impress an employer or a hiring manager before the interviewing process begins. Very often, the way your cover letter is written could mean the difference between landing an interview and losing it. Therefore, you should always take cover letter writing very seriously and use it to stand out from the pack.
Given below are some of the top dos and don'ts that you should follow for writing a cover letter which sets you up for success.
Cover Letter Dos
Do Personalize Your Letter: Find out the name of the HR manager or the interviewer and address them by name in your cover letter. Write a new cover letter for each job that you want to apply for.
Do Mention the Job Position: Which job position are you interested in? Mention it in your cover letter and focus your writing around that specific job position. If the advertised job position has a code or a reference number, include it as well to remove any kind of confusion on the hiring manager's part.
Do Make it Succinct: A cover letter has to be short and sweet. Make sure you use a simple language and tone and include only the real stuff.
Do Focus on the Audience: For each advertised job position, there are some specific skills that the employer is looking for. Find out what those key skills are and write your cover letter around the same. In short, put yourself in the hiring manager's or the employer's shoes while writing.
Do Proofread: Hiring managers don't use a cover letter only to evaluate how skilled and qualified a job applicant you are, but they also use it to judge your communication skills. While writing the cover letter, make sure you communicate in a way that is both unique and impressive. After you have finished writing the cover letter for a specific job position, give it a recheck at least a couple of times so that it's free from any kind of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, typos etc.
Cover Letter Don'ts
Don't Make it Too Long: Don't write a cover letter that is longer than one page. Three or four paragraphs (300-400 words) are enough to create a cover letter which immediately attracts the attention of the employer or the hiring manager. Longer cover letters turn off most employers.
Don't Boast: No matter how much qualified or skilled you are, don't make it look like you are arrogant. Instead, focus on the key accomplishments and tell the story behind them as briefly as you can.
Don't Use Cliches: Too-obvious cliches make your cover letter look like a general one and that's what most job applicants do. Avoid them at all cost.
Don't Make False Claims: If you don't have the skills the employer is looking for, it's probably the wrong job for you. Don't make false claims or pretend you have the required skills. The truth will come out sooner or later.
Don't Be Negative: Your past job experiences may have been bad. But you should never talk negatively or sound negative in your cover letter. Employers want to hire candidates with a strong positive mindset.
What is your cover letter like? Take a closer look at your cover letter in the light of these dos and don'ts. If you think you lack the skills for writing an effective cover letter, hire an expert to do the job for you. There are multiple online service providers as well that you can use for cover letter writing. Always remember that a cover letter is a powerful tool which you can use to gain an extra edge over the competition and land a job interview before it's too late.