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January 01, 2018
Best Cover Letter Writing Tips of 2018

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Article: Best Cover Letter Writing Tips

What do you think of cover letters? Do you think that it's time to do away with them?

Think again!

A cover letter is a great opportunity to showcase your personality, fill in the blanks about your employment, and provide context to your professional history.

Sure, writing a cover letter isn't much fun. But with these cover letter writing tips, it sure will be easier.

1. Consider using cover letter examples first. Haven't written a cover letter in awhile? Consider reviewing some online cover letter examples. First, find examples for the job that you want. If you can't find an example for your specific job, then find the closest one possible. Next, read the cover letter example. If it's helpful, jot down your observations.

2. Research the company and learn their needs, values, and overall mission. Before you even start typing, read about the company. Check out their website, the job posting, and their social media pages. Next, see what people have written about them. As you research, take note of the organizations needs, values, and their overall mission. When it's time for you to start writing your cover letter, try to address these running themes. In other words, prove to your future reader that you researched the company.

3. Get in the right frame of mind: what can you do for the company? Many cover letters make a big mistake: they create cover letters that explain why getting the job would benefit them instead of the employer. Your cover letter must focus on the company, not you. So, tell your potential boss how you can help the organization reach its goals.

4. Open with a proper salutation. True or false: opening your cover letter with a classic salutation like "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom it May Concern" demonstrates respect. False! Always address your cover letter to the hiring manager. Take a tip from Nancy Drew and start sleuthing to find the name of the hiring manager. Start by looking at the job post. Next, peruse the company's website and LinkedIn page to see if you can find that name. You can even call the organization and ask to learn more about the role.

5. Use a great "hook" to attract the reader. Unless your industry demands formality in cover letters, avoid dull opening statements. Go for an engaging opener that demands attention. If possible, tell a story that explains why you want this job or why you're perfect for the role.

6. Argue why you're the best person for the job. Arguing why you're the best person for the job shouldn't end with your opening. Instead, you must use the body paragraphs of your cover letter to continue and strengthen your argument. Read the job post. What does the employer need? Address this directly in your cover letter. It's acceptable to use statements that refer directly to the job description, like, "You need a marketing manager who feels comfortable multitasking. I can do that, and more."

7. Use data to back up your claims. Do you remember writing essays in school? Your teacher always told you to back up your arguments with evidence. It's time to revisit that lesson. Collect evidence that suggests that you're a good worker. Turn this into numbers. How? Simple! List things that you did at your job and consider the numbers behind your accomplishments and duties. If you managed others, then state how many people you managed. Perhaps you worked on a lot of projects. Reveal how many you did. If you improved anything and you can measure it with a number, then include that information.

8. Show enthusiasm for the job. Don't play hard to get. Show enthusiasm for the job as you write your cover letter. Simple lines, such as "I was excited to learn about this opening," offer an easy way to convey your feelings. You can also talk up the company and describe the great things that you have heard.

9. Close by reminding employers why you're the best person for the job. Let's come back to the essay comparison. In an essay's conclusion, you are supposed to summarize your main argument again. Well, the same rule applies to your cover letter. In your last paragraph, return to your argument: you are the best person for the job. Briefly restate your argument. What do we mean by "briefly"? Try to keep it under two sentences. Next, thank your readers for their time and consideration. Then, state that you're interested in the position and would like the opportunity to participate in an interview to learn more. Sign off with a formal closing, such as "Sincerely" or "Respectfully yours."

10. Cut the fluff. Many job seekers worry about the length of their cover letters. Shift your focus. Instead of trying to write a certain number of words, consider how you're using your words instead. The perfect length of a cover letter is "the amount of space that it takes to explain why you're an unusually strong candidate for the job aside from what's on your resume. Keep in mind, your cover letter shouldn't pass one page in length.

11. Edit your cover letter thoroughly. Start by reading your cover letter out loud. Delete things that don't make sense. It's easier to catch mistakes when you read aloud. Some recruiters could forgive you for writing "making manager" instead of "marketing manager," but some would toss your letter into the reject pile immediately. Use proper spelling and grammar. You don't know who will read your letter. As you're reading out loud, delete phrases and statements that don't sound like something that you would actually say. Let your voice shine!