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Tips for Writing an Effective Cover Letter

Your cover letter should not be just a rehash of the work experience listed on your resume. Instead, use your cover to describe how your experiences make you the best candidate for the job. Here are some tips for writing a cover letter that will land you the interview:


  • Great tips for writing cover letters that will get you a job interview.Create an individualized cover letter for each and every position and company you apply to
  • Address your letter to a specific person, when possible. If the job posting only contains a generic contact, search the company’s website for the name of the hiring manager or human resources director.
  • Identify the position you are applying for in the first sentence of your letter
  • Include information regarding your skill sets that match the abilities and requirements listed in the job posting
  • Be specific and use action verbs when listing previous achievements and job duties you performed that exhibit the skills required of the job, for example:
    • Too general: Strong written communication skills
    • Specific: Five years of experience writing grants that helped the university receive funding for special projects
  • Thank the reader for taking the time to read your letter and consider you for the position
  • PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD. Double check your spelling, grammar and also have someone else look it over for a different perspective – they may catch something you miss.
  • If mailing a paper copy, send your letter first class in an 8 ½ x 11 envelope to keep your letter in pristine condition
  • Sign your letter!  This personalized touch is courteous and shows proper business etiquette. To add your signature to a digital cover letter, scan or take a picture of your signature and insert the image.
  • Consider using a professionally-design cover letter template to make your letter really stand out. Check out our favorite modern resume templates too.


  • Don’t address the letter “To Whom it May Concern”, unless you absolutely cannot find the name of the person receiving your application.
  • Don’t just repeat the information from your resume. Instead, highlight your most impressive and most applicable skills and how they make you the perfect candidate for the job.
  • Your cover letter should not be longer than a page.
  • Don’t be negative or highlight your lack of skills or experience (ex:  “I may not have any experience in management…)
  • Don’t use slang or casual language. However, professional jargon – vocabularly and phrasing specific to your profession – can be used to demonstrate your knowledge of the field.
  • Don’t seem desperate and say you “need” the job

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