Tips for Writing a Successful Cover Letter

The goal of a cover letter is to introduce and promote yourself to a potential employer. The key to a successful cover letter is to engage the potential employer and make a great first impression. A well written cover letter should demonstrate your communication and organizational skills. It should be informative and grab the reader’s attention. A good cover letter is expressive, concise, and directly relates to the job posting.

Here are 10 tips one should follow when putting together their own cover letters:

  •  Take the time to customize your cover letter to fit the requirements of the advertised position. Always mention the job position you are applying for and when possible mention the name of the company. It will show the employer that you have taken the time to understand the position and to customize your cover letter 
  • The cover letter should be employer-focused, so try to put yourself into the employer’s shoes when writing it. Make sure your cover letter answers the following question: “Why should I hire you?” Describe what you can do for the employer and their company. 
  • Your cover letter should complement your resume. Make sure you do not repeat the content of your resume as the employer already has a copy of it. Instead highlight key strengths and transferrable skills that they are looking for. 
  • The recommended length of a cover letter is one full page. The key is to keep it concise and relevant to the job posting. 
  • Do not write complex sentences or use obscure words to sound sophisticated and highly educated. A successful cover letter is concise, organized, genuine and sincere. 
  • The tone of your letter should be professional. Read it out loud to see how it sounds prior to sending it the employer 
  • Have someone else proofread your cover letter for mistakes and/or grammatical errors 
  • Avoid using special or fancy fonts, use a standard font (Times New Roman or Arial) in 11 or 12 point size 
  • Do not forget to thank the employer for taking the time to read your application and do not forget to leave them with your contact information 
  • When sending a cover letter via email or internet you do not need to sign it, however when you are called in for an interview, make sure you take in a signed copy

Remember that the key is to engage the employer and provide them with insight about who you are. If the employer is impressed by your cover letter they will then move onto reading your resume, so make this first impression count! For help or for more information on cover letters, please contact your Employment Counsellor or Skills Connect at: 604-575-3800.