How to Improve Your Cover Letter

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After your resume, your cover letter is the single most important document you have that can secure you an interview for the perfect job. Even job applications online should always be supplemented with a cover letter. The cover letter acts as a middle man between your resume, which is an impersonal document that can confirm you are qualified for a position but does not offer much insight into you as a person, and a potential interview, which is your chance to show the company who you are as a future employee and as a person. While you may think your resume should speak for itself, a perfect cover letter is the key to securing a job interview, and a poor one can doom your resume to being thrown out right away.

1. Do not Make Your Cover Letter an Exact Replica of Your Resume

If your cover letter is just a rewritten version of your resume, it is not telling your potential employers anything that they do no already know. While your cover letter should certainly bring attention to the qualifications on your resume, its purpose is to supplement, elaborate upon, or emphasize the significance of them, not just simply restate them. You should utilize your cover letter as an opportunity to tell future employers why are you a better fit for their company than other job candidates with similar resumes.

2. Talk Specifically About What Makes You Qualified for the Position

When talking about your education or job history, do not just state them and assume they will speak for themselves. Compare them against the specific responsibilities and qualifications the employer has listed for the position and explain how you learned or enhanced this skill set throughout your past.

3. Do not Sell Yourself Short, but Do not Embellish or Make up Facts

Do not act as if you are not qualified to take on the responsibilities of the job, even if you do not have tangible evidence of it. Explain how things you have accomplished in your past, though they may not be directly related to the field, are indicative of why you are going to be successful in the position you are applying for.

4. Write Your Cover Letter Specifically for the Position You Are Applying To

While the job hunting process is tedious and you may have to send out dozens, if not hundreds, of cover letters, you should never take short cuts by re-sending general, vague cover letters out in masses. You should always target your cover letter for the specific position and employer, mentioning something about the company itself and the specific qualifications of the job position in your cover letter. If your potential employer notices that your cover letter is a general one, they may assume that you are taking shortcuts and are lazy, and that you will bring these characteristics with you to your job.

5. Avoid Misspellings, Grammatical Errors, and Typographical Errors at All Costs

This is critical. As unfair, and even counterproductive, as it may seem, many employers will automatically toss out a resume or cover letter the second they spot on error in it. This will give you a careless, mistake-prone, or lazy impression, as innocent as a missing period may seem. In order to present yourself in the most professional manner possible and to avoid getting passed up by less qualified candidates, make sure that your spelling, grammar, and spacing in your cover letter is absolutely flawless.

6. Have One or More People Proofread Your Cover Letter Before You Send It Out

Checking over your cover letter for errors may not be enough. Since you wrote the cover letter yourself, your brain is going to read it how it sounds and looks in your head, so you might unknowingly skip over minor typographical errors. A fresh pair of eyes are to will read the document the way it actually is, and they may even be able to give you some helpful suggestions to improve the wording of your cover letter. Your cover letter is one of the most important tools you have in order to get your foot in the door for the job you want, and you should treat it accordingly.

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