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4 Little Details Your Cover Letter Must Have

A good cover letter can transform a decent job application into a great one, but cover letter writing is something a lot of people struggle with. Though they may seem straightforward, a cover letter that will really wow a hiring manager needs to really nail some key points along with the little details.

I’ve gone over some key cover letter tips before, but the small details can be just as important to making the right impression. Though most cover letters aren’t read right away, they will get read if you are seen as a viable candidate, and you can always get the odd hiring manager who reads cover letters before a resume and makes crucial judgments based on it.

To further sharpen your cover letter, here are four specific tips to really nail some overlooked things a stellar cover letter should have.

Show why you want to work there

Focus your cover letter to the company you are applying to by explaining why you want to work there — what is it about the organization that draws you? Make sure you do your research (the company website is the best place to start) and integrate your skills to their mission and values. However, be careful not to come off as overly endearing or like a suck-up.

Address specific skills from the job posting

One thing hiring managers will look for in your cover letter is whether it speaks to the specific job skills they are looking for. So make sure you don’t leave them guessing. Don’t just copy-paste a list of skills from the posting but weave your matching skills into your examples.

Match your writing style to the company and its brand

Tailor the tone and style of your cover letter writing to that of the company. For example, if they are a youth-focused company and use casual language or a more fun tone on their website, incorporate some of this into the way you write your resume.

This can take a few drafts to really figure out, and you have to be careful not to go overboard and sound unprofessional, but can be a great way of immediately showing you get what the company and its brand are about. But you don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons, so if you feel you can’t quite match the company’s voice and tone then stick to your normal writing style.

Keep it under one page and edit, edit, edit

A cover letter longer than one page can be immediately divisive — the hiring manager may question whether it is really worth two pages, and wonder if you have a problem getting to the point. So review it multiple times, even print it out and edit it pen-and-paper style to really catch long sentences or points that don’t get at your core value, and of course have someone else read it and get feedback.

This repeat editing process will not only sharpen your writing and lower your word count, but make sure you catch spelling mistakes (getting the company’s name wrong will often mean instant rejection) and grammatical errors and typos.

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