En Route: A Career Blog

Cover Letter Savvy

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: February 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

Many of us have experience writing a resume to use on online job boards or to email a hiring manager.

Few of us are as experienced in writing a cover letter.

A Few Tips on Making the Most of Your Cover Letter

  • Use the same heading, font and general style that you do with your resume. This might not seem obvious, but it’s important. It maintains consistency of presentation and makes your ‘employment package’ professional. Therefore, if you use Times New Roman font in your resume, don’t use Arial in your cover letter.
  • Brevity is essential. Never write a cover letter that’s more than one page in length. No hiring manager or recruiter wants to read that much data. They expect you to tell them, in very few words, what position you’re applying for and why you’re the ideal candidate.
  • Address your letter to an individual, preferably the hiring manager or recruiter. Never write ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ or worse – ‘To Whom It May Concern’. You might as well write ‘Dear Occupant’. Failure to use an individual’s name shows lack of interest in the company and poor attention to detail. If you don’t know the name, find out. Google the company or give them a call and ask.
  • Don’t copy your resume word for word. If the hiring authority finds the exact same data in each, they’ll be irritated because you’re not telling them anything new. Provide fresh details in your cover letter that paint you as the ideal candidate for the position.

Don’t Forget These Important Points

  • Never begin with a negative. I’ve seen countless letters that state, “I know I don’t have any experience in this _______ (field, industry, job – fill in the blank); but…” Trust me, no one will get past the ‘but’. Don’t apply for positions that you aren’t qualified for.


(Photo: IconFinder)

  • Consider sending it as a PDF. A very important tip I found at Forbes in their article “6 Secrets to Writing a Great Cover Letter“. PDFs can be opened by Adobe Reader, which nearly everyone has. If you send a Word document, especially the newer version – docx – those who haven’t upgraded their software may not be able to open the document.

Cover letter writing is a skill. If done correctly it provides a strong first impression of you as the perfect candidate. If done poorly, your resume may not be read.

ResumeEdge specializes in cover letters, resume writing, resume editing and interview coaching through JobInterviewEdge. Our certified writers have decades of experience in 40+ industries. They can craft a cover letter that will wow a hiring manager and compel that individual to read your resume.

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

» Read Full Bio

Sign Up for the En Route Newsletter

Career articles, resume advice, and interview tips delivered every month!

Propel Your Career

Get to the next level faster with professional Resume Writing or Editing products.

My writer cared about me as an individual. She educated me on why my last resume did not produce the results I desired--in a constructive way. I am very satisfied with all her efforts. She did a terrific job!

— Phillip T.
Advertising/Marketing/Public Relations
» See All Testimonials

We're Busy Little Bees

Resumes Written This Month
Resumes Written Since 1998