We’ve all felt that familiar pang of fear staring at the blinking cursor on a blank page. For many job applicants, writing a cover letter can be one of the most dreaded aspects of the job application process. It’s understandable — boiling down your biggest work accomplishments, professional desires, and of course, your winning personality, into a few short paragraphs can be, well, a challenge. So, when you sit down to tell your potential future employer why you’re absolutely the person they need to hire, remember these tips: 

Remember the why 

The purpose of the cover letter is to help the recruiter bridge the gap between your resume (your experiences and education) and the company’s job description. You have 10 seconds or less to help the hiring manager realize that you specifically meet their needs. Make a great first (written) impression  by customizing at least one paragraph with the terms/requirements from the job description (we’ll call this the customized paragraph).

Do your homework

Before you sit down to write, do a little Googling or LinkedIN stalking to find out who is in charge of hiring for the job, and include their name in the salutation. (Because a crusty old “To Whom It May Concern” never caught anyone’s attention!) Spend some time researching the mission, vision, and values of your prospective company, and integrate the aspects that best speak to your experience and goals in the customized paragraph. 

Show a little personality 

Your cover letter should never look like your resume in paragraph form. Instead of regurgitating every bullet point of your work experience, explain why you’re so passionate about the job opportunity, what excites you about working at the company, and why you’d be the perfect candidate. 

Sell yourself

Many candidates fall into the trap of thinking too much about why the job would be a great fit for them, and not enough about what they’re going to bring to the table. While you might be hesitant to pinpoint a company’s problems, identifying areas for growth — along with why and how you can help the company get there — will help you stand out.

Include measurable data

Did you increase your company’s social media following by 40% in your last job? Responsible for a 10% boost in sales? Manage an impressive number of junior team members? Including some specific data on how you’ve helped your past organization grow and thrive is always attractive to the hiring manager on the other side of the screen. 

Check your work

It may sound obvious, but reading through your work with an editor’s eyes is absolutely essential. Once you’ve finished your cover letter, step away for a bit, and return when you’re fresh. Read it over at least twice to check for typos, missing words, and grammar and syntax errors. (You might find it particularly helpful to read your letter aloud!) Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member to give it a second look before you click send. 

Stay organized

Nothing can ruin your chances of landing the perfect job faster than including the wrong company’s name in your cover letter. Ensure you never make a careless mistake again by tracking and editing your cover letters (and full job applications) with Altogethr. With easy navigation and helpful filters, you can stay on top of every aspect of the job hunt — and get to your new job faster.