How to write a Cover letter: dos and don’ts

Another essential step during a job hunt is writing a cover letter. This step is as boring as necessary, and you need to do it properly in order to make a great first impression because headhunters judge the books by their cover (letters)!

So, here there are some dos and don’ts in order to write the best cover letter of your life.

DO Read carefully the job description and gather some precious information about the company to adapt the content.

DON’T Start the cover letter with your name. You are not famous, and your name is all over the cv, the email attachment and object. 

DO  As your cv, it should be structured, easy to read with a clear font and a proper size.

DON’T Start with “To whom it may concerned”. You should address personally to the person you want it to be read, this greeting is too mainstream and default.

DO  Do a draft, write a skeleton of the information you want to give, so everything is outlined before you begin.

DON’T Avoid jargon, clichés and slang.

DO Take care of every detail, headline included. You have to stir the interest towards your cover letter, using a catchy headline. Recruiters first scan, than read. The first impression is going to last. 

DON’T Write different information than those on your cv. Write the same things, unless you seem distracted and forgetful. 

DO Keep it short. Nobody wants to read “The Bible” of cover letters, and HR recruiter are already overwhelmed  by tons of similar cover letter. Avoid being rambling and superfluous, one page is the right amount to write. Be different and unique, but concise.

DON’T Write typos. Be very careful about what you write and check the spelling of every word. 

DO Write an introduction. It is not an essay, simply state what you’re looking for in your next position.

DON’T Use sentences like “I feel”, “I think”, “I believe”, “in the city of”, “in the month of”, “really”, “very”, “things”, “the fact that”. 

DO Show some attitude and personality. Sometimes you get hired for the way you are, rather than all the things you already know. 

DON’T Forget that you are telling you story. Not only you are telling a story, but your story, so do not leave the experiences of your life like stains on the white page. Give coherence to your content and choose the words accurately. 

DO Adapt the tone of your writing to the company you are addressing too. Be genuine and funny whether you are writing for a startup, be serious and formal whether you are imaging a career in politics. It all depends on where you want to apply, and always do some research of the company culture before writing anything down.

DON’T Write your cv in a paragraph form. The cover letter is something else, it is the proof that you are good for the job and the perfect one to hire. 

DO Sell yourself. You need to show off your skills and prove why you would be perfect for the job. Focus on the job and insert some adjectives that were written in the job description. Prove why choosing you will benefit the company itself.

DON’T Be careful not to seem too cocky or arrogant. Remember to be genuine and easy going.

DO Write about your most important experiences, not all you did before university, all the anecdotes that may not be interesting for anybody but you. Avoid talking about all the classes that you attended to, this is not relevant for a cover letter.

DON’T Write awkward phrasing and attempts to be overly formal, stilted and pompous.

DO When you write your cover letter, shift your mindset to as if you’re already hired. This is a great way to show your interest in your cover letter.

Writing a good cover letter is the best way to impress who reads and hook them to your story. Even when not required, it is always better to submit it if you are really keen to get the job. Often, employers expect a cover letter even if they do not directly ask for one. Even if they do not necessarily need a cover letter, sending one will demonstrate that you are a motivated candidate.

But If you don’t have time to write a strong cover letter that shows your skills for the job, don’t write one at all. No letter may be better than a bad one.

 

 

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