7 Tips for Writing an Engaging Cover Letter

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Cover letters that begin with “I am enthusiastically applying for (blank) as advertised on (blank)” waste valuable real estate to “sell” yourself. Follow these tips to write a more engaging, influential cover letter:


Tip 1: Address the cover letter to a specific person. When in doubt call the company HR department and ask the name and correct spelling of the hiring/department manager. Show that you’ve done your work and look to personalize your letter. When in doubt, “Dear Hiring Manager” is acceptable.

Tip 2: Don’t repeat what is in your résumé! The purpose of a cover letter is to tell your story. Highlight your personality, curiosity, and why you are interested in the position.

Tip 3: Be clear and concise, so one-page should suffice! Don’t try to fill up space and ramble on or repeat your résumé. Talk about the things that matter – how your interests and skill set can help solve the company’s problem.

Tip 4: Use keywords in the job description to focus on what you should talk about. Plug the job description into a word cloud to figure out what words you should string throughout your cover letter. These keywords will appear as the largest, most frequently used words in the job description.   

Tip 5: Tailor your cover letter to demonstrate that you are the ideal candidate.  Make sure to highlight the qualities that the company puts a lot of value in by aligning your brand with their mission and values.

Tip 6: Check your work and make sure it is a positive reflection of you. Check for proper spelling, grammar and that you answered the questions: Who are you, Why are you applying, What are you interested in this particular role, How are you qualified?

Tip 7: Have a Call to Action.  Include your contact information and request an interview with a strong reminder as to why the employer should meet with you. Also, consider adding a statement expressing that you will call (e.g. within two weeks) to confirm that they have received your résumé and cover letter.

Get writing! Remember you don’t have to start with the first paragraph, after doing your keyword search start there and align your skills and accomplishments. You can assemble the paragraphs after that! 

Anne Lipsitz