The Dos and Don'ts of Writing a Cover Letter that Complements Your Resume

A cover letter isn’t simply a document to introduce yourself to the new recruiter, it is one that adds value to your entire application. Many candidates make the mistake of sending their job applications without a cover letter. When you do this, you tremendously decrease your chances of being selected for the interview. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you must include a cover letter in your job application.

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a document that is sent with a resume, and it allows you to convey more of your personality. It’s a simple introduction of who you are and is accompanied by relevant accomplishments and a call to action.

Dos of Cover Letter

#1 – Know What to Include in a Cover Letter

The first step is to construct a cover letter. Never start writing a cover letter without knowing what to include in it. For maximum efficiency, try to create a list of what you need to include in it, the list could include:

  • Your name and contact information
  • The recruiter’s name and contact information
  • A salutation
  • Your relevant work experiences
  • Your relevant achievements
  • A mention of something you know about the company
  • Why you are the best candidate for the position
  • An impressive ending

#2 – Tailor Your Cover Letter

Once you make a cover letter, you do not have to stick with that cover letter for every position you want to apply for. Every job has its own requirements, and every job you encounter will usually have a different job description, so tailor your cover letter according to that.

The worst mistake people make is not changing the name of the position they are applying for, not only does that decrease your chances of being selected, it also creates a very bad impression of yours in front of the recruiter. Customizing a cover letter does not take much time, and it can do wonders if you just spend a few minutes on it.

#3 – Sell Yourself

A cover letter is all about convincing the recruiter that you are the right fit for the job. When you are trying to convince the recruiter, try to convince them by selling yourself to them. Your cover letter should highlight all the qualifications and essential skills the recruiter is looking for in a candidate. To make a greater impression, you can even highlight your achievements. Giving recruiters hard figures makes your achievements stand out and automatically makes you a memorable candidate.

#4 – Describe Their Benefit

You are applying for the job for your own benefit, but when writing a cover letter, you should describe how your contribution could benefit the company. Put in some extra effort to find out what the company needs and how your skills and qualifications could help them achieve those objectives. By doing so, you will not only make the recruiter’s job easier, but in this process, your application also gets much stronger.

#5 – Make it Easier to Read

When creating a cover letter, consider enhancing the letter’s reader-friendliness through the use of bullets or other formatting techniques. To make the content easier to read, you can also add bullet points to your text, which makes the content easier to scan, and your information also gets highlighted automatically. 

Your cover letter will be of no use if the recruiter is unable to read the text. Keep the formatting and fonts simple and professional, you don’t need to add colors or any other infographic element, until and unless it is necessary. 

Don’ts of Cover Letter

#6 – Never Start With “To Whom It May Concern”

Generic cover letter salutations like ‘To Whom It May Concern’ are considered very awkward by many recruiters. In this tech-savvy world, knowing the name of the recruiter is quite easy with the help of platforms like LinkedIn. Using To Whom It May Concern gives recruiter the impression that you did not tailor your cover letter and that you are sending out generic applications, which can really put off some recruiters. If you know the name of the recruiter, you must include their name instead of some generic phrases.

#7 – Don’t Try to Summarize Your Resume

A cover letter is an additional document that you send with your resume, so it should aim to support your resume, and not to summarize it. A cover letter should be used to explain the experiences you have included in your resume. Moreover, it should also highlight your personal interest in the position. Beyond all that, it should explain how your experience and qualifications make you the best candidate for the position.

#8 – Don’t Go Over One Page

You might have a lot to say about yourself, your qualifications, and the position you want, but recruiters are not up for long stories. To keep the recruiter interested throughout, keep your cover letter’s length at one page. You don’t have to elaborate on certain concepts or need to go really into detail, be brief and direct in your wording.

#9 – Don’t Send Without Proofreading

It might sound obvious to proofread the document before sending it, however, many candidates don’t check their mistakes and send it like that only. After you have written the cover letter, give it a read, it might take only 2 minutes at most, but it will be worth it.

Correct any sort of typos, misspellings, incorrect grammar, punctuation, poor syntax, capitalization errors, etc. Ensure that you spell the recipient’s name and company’s name correctly. Little details sometimes go a long way.

Final Tips

Before writing the cover letter for a position, try to search about the company, you can search about its culture, history, mission, values, and so on. Try to have a clear understanding of the company, this will not only help with the interview, but for writing the cover letter as well.