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Why you need a good cover letter
A good cover letter complements your resume and is an essential component of a great job application, for these reasons:
- This is your first opportunity to market yourself to an employer: State what makes you uniquely qualified for the position.
- Your cover letter gives insight to employers about your personality and intangible traits, and how they can add value to the organization.
- A cover letter displays your knowledge of what the company (and job) require, showing that you’ve done your homework.
- Finally, a cover letter communicates your enthusiasm for the position, compelling employers to read your resume and follow up with you directly.
Do’s and don’ts for your cover letter
Do mention any direct connections you have with the company
Whether it’s a former colleague who now works with the company, or someone you’ve already been in contact with, start your cover letter by mentioning any connections you have. Most workers have the most success getting a job through connections.
Do build on your resume
Don’t just list past work achievements on your cover letter like you do on your resume — provide details on how you’ve approached notable projects and tasks, showing how you’ve used your skills and personal qualities to achieve success.
Do write a letter that matches the company’s culture
Show employers that you understand what their companies are all about by matching your skills with what the company represents. If the company prides itself on detail-oriented, efficient service, communicate those qualities in your letter. For professions that value out-of-the-box thinking or collaboration, display examples of how you’ve used these attributes in previous work.
Don’t send in your cover letter without reviewing it
At the very least, give your document a spell-check and fact-check. Nothing can torpedo a job application faster than a cover letter that contains accuracy, spelling or grammar errors. Make sure your letter features the right experiences and skills for the job you’re applying to. And don’t make the simple mistake of not including accurate contact information.
Don’t stretch the truth about yourself or your career
Exaggerating or outright lying about past experiences can lead to major issues if you’re found out. And if you have work gaps in your career, be up front about them, and give context about your time away (e.g., leaving a job due to family health reasons, or dealing with a layoff, but picking up new skills and connections during your time off).
Don’t forget to answer the most important question
Why do you want this job? Go beyond just the paycheck or how much your skills fit the position. Explain why the job matters to you, and why you think it’s the right next step in your career.
Cover letter examples by industry
These cover letter examples are geared towards specific industries — adapt them for your own letter.
More cover letter resources
For additional help crafting the right cover letter to land you the right job, use these guides and tips:
Cover Letter Basics
Use these tips and best practices for composing your cover letter.
Cover Letter How-to’s
We provide guides on the formatting, design and writing of cover letters.
Key Features of a Successful Cover Letter
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter
The 5 Biggest Cover Letter Mistakes
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter Closing
8 Cover Letter Formatting Don’ts
10 Tips to Create a Cover Letter That Isn’t Boring