Crafting the Perfect Cover Letter: Dos and Don'ts

Friday, March 8, 2024

You have just set up your personalized digital job alerts now with New Job Today, and now there's a host of jobs you want to apply for. It's time to craft the perfect cover letter.

The cover letter is your chance to make a memorable first impression. It serves as your introduction to potential employers, highlighting your skills, experiences, and enthusiasm for the position. However, knowing what to include and what to avoid in a cover letter can be daunting. Here are five important things to include and five things to steer clear of when writing your cover letter.



Introduction and Purpose: Start your cover letter with a brief introduction that states the position you're applying for, the company, and why you're interested in it. This sets the tone for the rest of the letter and grabs the reader's attention from the outset. Clearly express your enthusiasm for the role and the company.


Highlight Relevant Skills and Experiences: Use the body of your cover letter to showcase your most relevant skills and experiences that make you a strong candidate for the position. Draw connections between your past accomplishments and the requirements of the job, emphasizing how your background aligns with the company's needs.


Stand Out from The Crowd: Think of it a little like a sales pitch – what are your unique selling points? Are there any stats or figures you can include in the cover letter about your previous roles? What clients have you worked with? Is there a particular part of your past working career you are proud of?


Demonstrate Knowledge of the Company: Research the company thoroughly and incorporate specific details into your cover letter to demonstrate your genuine interest and understanding of their mission, values, and industry.


Closing Statement and Call to Action: Conclude your cover letter with a strong closing statement that reiterates your enthusiasm for the position. Encourage the reader to take the next step by inviting them to contact you to discuss your qualifications further. Be proactive and express gratitude for their time and consideration.




Repeating Your Resume: Avoid simply rehashing the information from your resume in your cover letter. Instead, use the cover letter as an opportunity to delve deeper into your experiences and accomplishments, providing context and demonstrating your suitability for the role.


Negativity or Criticism: Refrain from speaking negatively about your current or previous employers, colleagues, or experiences. Keep the tone of your cover letter positive and professional, focusing on your own strengths and contributions.


Overly Generic Language: Avoid clichés, buzzwords, or overly formal language that doesn't showcase your authentic voice. Be concise and specific in your writing, steering clear of vague or meaningless phrases that could apply to any candidate. Remember, brevity is key – aim for just over half a page of A4 to keep your cover letter succinct and impactful. Never exceed one page of A4 to maintain the reader's attention and ensure your message is clear and compelling.


Unnecessary Personal Information: Avoid including irrelevant personal details such as your marital status, age, or hobbies unless they directly relate to the job or company culture. Keep the focus of your cover letter on your professional qualifications and fit for the role.


Lack of Proofreading: Don't overlook the importance of proofreading your cover letter for typos, grammatical errors, or inconsistencies. A sloppy or poorly written cover letter can leave a negative impression and undermine your credibility as a candidate. Take the time to review and edit your letter carefully before submitting it. It may even be beneficial to take a break before sending the cover letter and come back to proofread it with a critical eye. Sometimes a quick moment away to grab a cup of tea is all you need to distance yourself from the cover letter and proofread it effectively.


Following these dos and don'ts will help you create a compelling and effective cover letter that sets you apart from the competition and increases your chances of landing the job of your dreams. Remember to tailor each cover letter to the specific job and company you're applying to, showcasing your unique qualifications and enthusiasm for the opportunity. With a well-crafted cover letter, you can make a strong impression and pave the way for success in your job search.