Economy & Jobs

5 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter That Lands You an Interview

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If you’re looking for your dream job, there is one inevitable fact you must face: You must embrace the cover letter.

While many career experts focus on the importance of a solid resume, writing a cover letter is equally important. When written well, it showcases not only your career experience, but your skills and personality, too.

Think about this: Employers may receive hundreds of resumes and cover letters each day. In some cases, they may not have more than 30 seconds to scan the information and decide whether your application should move to the next phase. How can you stand out in the crowd?

Here are five tips for writing a cover letter that’ll help you prove you’re the right fit for the job.

1. Be Personable and Engaging

Your cover letter is an employer’s first impression of you before an interview. Why are you a good fit for this position? More importantly, what sets you apart from other candidates? While cover letters should be professional answers to these questions, don’t let your language be too dry. Instead, let your personality shine through.

While it’s important to be personable and engaging, you should avoid getting too personal. Try to strike a balance between showing who you are and demonstrating why you are the best fit.

2. Complement Your Resume

A classic mistake among job applicants is supplying a cover letter that is simply a replica of their resume, written in paragraph form.

A resume is a time line of your professional experience, whereas a cover letter describes who you are, why you’re interested in the position, and what you can bring to the table. Your cover letter should complement your resume, not copy it.

3. Make Them Want More

When writing a cover letter, it can be easy to talk about your accomplishments and successes. But, you also get under a minute of their time.

To grab the employer’s attention, don’t go overboard with a lengthy letter. Keep it to one page, giving enough information to pique their interest after reading your letter so that they’ll look at your resume and then call you to book an interview.

4. Use Keywords From the Job Description

Before crafting a cover letter, study the job description and company website. Get a feel for their brand as well as what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate.

After you have an understanding of the type of employee they’re seeking, extract keywords from the job description and integrate them into your cover letter. This makes it clear that you actually read the job description and reinforces that you are the person they want to hire.

5. Find Points of Connection

A great way to help your cover letter stand out from the rest is to find points of connection with the job or the company’s current staff. For example, did you go to the same school as one of the employees? Did your major prepare you for this specific job?

You can find some of this information by looking at a staff or bio page on the company website, as well as by searching on LinkedIn. While you certainly don’t want to sound creepy, mentioning these connections can help a potential employer relate to you.

As with any part of the job application process, writing a cover letter gets easier with practice. Remember to stay true to yourself while connecting to the employer in a professional manner. Coupled with a killer resume, you may be on your way to your next interview.

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer and passionate debt fighter who writes at She is currently climbing out of $81,000 in student loan debt and is often dreaming of her next adventure. Her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Rockstar Finance, GoGirl Finance and more. She has her M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU, loves karaoke, is obssessed with the Wizard of Oz, and is a ceviche connoisseur.