10 Best Cover Letter Tips for 2020

Our guide to writing the best cover letter for your next job application.

10 Best Cover Letter Tips for 2020

July 16th, 2020

Most job applications require a cover letter as well as your resume. Your cover letter should be concise and should include specific examples of how you qualify for the role. Be sure to adhere to any instructions set out by the hiring manager and proofread your draft.

Top 10 Cover Letter Tips:

1. Write a new cover letter for each application.

If a cover letter is too general, it will indicate that you have used it for several applications. Hiring managers will likely find this lazy and an indication of a lack of interest in the position. Write a new cover letter for each application, with role-specific information like relevant skills and experience.

2. Address the hiring manager by name.

Addressing the hiring manager will make your cover letter stand out, as most candidates will use "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir/Madam." You can find the hiring manager's name by looking at the company website, searching LinkedIn, or calling the company and asking.

3. Follow the instructions.

Some companies have a specific format for cover letters, and they will outline this in the job description. Make sure that you follow any instructions about format and content so that you are not penalized early on in the hiring process. A cover letter that pays attention to requirements shows that you can follow instructions - an important skill for most roles.

4. Highlight specific, relevant skills.

Your resume should list all skills that are appropriate for employment opportunities, but your cover letter should address skills that are specific to the role you are applying for.

For example, a role in marketing might require a candidate with social media and communication skills. Make sure that your cover letter goes into a bit of detail about these skills and your previous experience that demonstrates your abilities.

5. Use simple and affirmative language.

Try to avoid sounding too formal in your cover letter, because this makes it difficult for a hiring manager to gauge your personality. It can also come across as being disingenuous. Wherever possible, use assertive verbs like "founded," "initiated," or "managed."

6. Proofread your cover letter.

Spelling errors are one of the more obvious ways to tell if someone has not paid attention to detail. A quick read through your cover letter should alert you to any mistakes. Identifying poor grammar can be a bit more difficult, which is why using simple language can be best. Use spellcheck software that highlights any mistakes you may have missed.

7. Don't mention what you lack.

Your cover letter is an opportunity to impress the hiring manager. While you should be honest about your experience if asked, your cover letter should highlight the skills you have. Try to focus on how you meet the job requirements and go into detail about those skills or experiences.

8. Limit your content.

Your cover letter should not be longer than one page, with about four paragraphs. Your format should be one introduction paragraph, two body paragraphs, and one conclusion. There is room for perhaps another paragraph if necessary, but be sure that you are not rambling.

9. Speak about the company.

The first priority of any cover letter is to demonstrate how you would fit the role. Something that has become equally important is whether you will fit the company culture. Do research on this aspect of the company and include a description of how this appeals to you and how it may align with your values.

10. Ask another person to read your draft.

Reading over your own writing can lead to skimming because you know what you want to say. However, a fresh set of eyes can pick up on errors or run-on sentences that you may not have noticed. A friend, co-worker, or professional career counselor can help by giving your cover letter a read and letting you know their impression of you from your writing.

FAQs:

What are the best cover letter tips for 2020?

To write a cover letter you should read the job listing carefully and make note of specific instructions and preferences required. Next, you should describe how you meet the role requirements with reference to your experience and skills.

What are some cover letter format tips?

A cover letter should include an introduction, a few body paragraphs in which you describe how you qualify for the role, and a conclusion that mentions your eagerness to hear from the hiring manager.

What are some tips for starting a cover letter?

Your cover letter should start with an address to the hiring manager. Find out the hiring manager's name if possible, as this will make you stand out.

What are some tips for writing an impressive cover letter?

An impressive cover letter makes specific reference to how your skills and experience make you a good fit for the role and the company. Writing a cover letter that pays attention to detail and shows your suitability in a straight forward way will impress the hiring manager.

What are some cover letter tips for recent graduates?

Focus on the experience you have from student societies and internship programs if you have no formal work experience to reference. If you have completed any relevant courses in your personal time, this would be beneficial to mention because it shows initiative and a dedication to your chosen industry.