College guidance

7 Tips for Standout Cover Letters

Struggling with your cover letter for that dream job application? You're not alone! But fret not, we've got your back with expert tips to make your cover letter shine and land you that interview! Check out our latest blog post for all the insider secrets.

Cherilynn Tan
February 8, 2024
2.5 min
7 Tips for Standout Cover Letters
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7 Tips for Standout Cover Letters

Are you gearing up to send out a job application but feeling a little stuck on the cover letter part? Well, you're not alone. The cover letter often feels like that necessary evil of the job application process. But fear not, we've got you covered with some expert tips to help your cover letter stand out, shine and possibly even secure that coveted interview!

1. Understand the Job Description

Before you even start typing, make sure you understand what the employer wants. Scour the job description and highlight keywords or phrases that appear frequently – those are what you want to address in your letter. If the description mentions that the job requires a 'meticulous and detail-oriented individual,' you may want to mention your love for triple-checking your work in your cover letter!

2. Start Strong and Personalize

Avoid the yawn-inducing, generic "Dear Hiring Manager" opening. If the job ad doesn't include a contact name, do some detective work online to find out who will be reading your application. If you can't find a name, address it to the team or department, such as "Dear Marketing Team." Starting with "To whom it may concern" may concern them that you didn't put in the effort.

3. Show, Don’t Just Tell

Anyone can claim they're a "hard worker" or "quick learner". What sets you apart is providing examples that showcase these skills. If you claim to be a great problem-solver, tell a short story about a problem you faced at work and how you solved it. Real-life examples are always more compelling than buzzwords.

4. Mirror the Company’s Language

Every company has its unique language and style. Visit their website, read their "About Us" section, check their social media. If they're casual and quirky, let your humor shine in your cover letter. If they're more formal and professional, stick to a more formal tone. Mimicking their language shows that you've done your homework and you'll fit in with their culture.

5. Keep it Brief and Neat

A cover letter isn’t a novel about your life, think of it like a movie trailer instead – short, exciting, and leaving the reader wanting to know more. Stick to a one-page limit, and remember to break up your text into three or four concise paragraphs. If your cover letter looks like the unbroken wall of text from an old-fashioned novel, your reader might decide it’s not worth their time.

6. End on a Forward-Looking Note

Finish your letter with a strong closing statement that shows enthusiasm for the role and expresses desire for a follow-up. Instead of "I look forward to hearing from you", try something like "I'd love the opportunity to discuss how I can contribute to your team".

7. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

We had to say it thrice because it’s that important. You don’t want to end your perfectly crafted letter with a typo or a wrong company name (yes, that happens). Consider having someone else review your letter, a fresh pair of eyes often catches mistakes you may have overlooked.

Crafting a standout cover letter may seem daunting, but with these tips, you're well on your way to creating a memorable first impression. So go ahead, start typing, and let your personality and skills sparkle. A good cover letter is like a firm handshake, it’s your first chance to make a strong impression.

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