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31 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

Yes, cover letters do get read. And yes, it would be easier to let your resume speak for itself, but then you miss the opportunity to tell prospective employers who you are, why they should hire you, and stand out above all the other candidates.

Ready to get started? Here are 31 of the best cover letter tips of all time.

1. Don’t Regurgitate Your Resume

2. Think Not What the Company Can Do for You

3. Clearly Show What You’re Capable Of

4. Showcase Your Skills

5. …Not Necessarily Your Education

6. Don’t Apologize for Skills You Don’t Have

7. Highlight the Right Experiences

8. Tell a Story

9. Use a Few Numbers

10. Consider Testimonials

11. Cut the Formality

12. Think Custom, Not Canned

13. Start With a Template

14. …Or Some Inspiration

15. Be Open to Other Formats

16. But Don’t Go Too Far

17. Consider Adding a Headline

18. Be Real

19. ...And Normal

20. Cut the Fluff

21. Write in the Company’s “Voice”

22. Boost Your Confidence Before Writing

23. Have Some Fun With It

24. Don’t Let Your Fear of Bragging Get in the Way

25. Have Someone Gut Check It

26. Keep it Short and Sweet

27. Don’t Start With Your Name

28. But Do Include the Hiring Manager’s Name

29. Unless You Don’t Know It

30. Edit

31. But Care Most About Standing Out

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This document was supported by Grant 90FX0030 from the administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS.

HPOG is a study funded by the federal government which is being conducted to determine how these training opportunities help people improve their skills and find better jobs.  During the study, all new eligible applicants will be selected by lottery to participate in these training opportunities.  Not all eligible applicants will be selected to participate in these opportunities.  


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