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Top 10 Cover Letter Writing Tips

Advice for Writing Cover Letters for Resumes

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When you need to write a cover letter, it's sometimes the small things that make a big difference. Review these tips and techniques for writing top notch cover letters to send with your resume, including format and presentation, choosing a type of cover letter, writing custom cover letters, how to send, and examples and templates.

Select a Type of Cover Letter

There are several types of cover letters that can be sent to employers and contacts. Be sure to choose a type of cover letter that reflects how you are applying for the job or the type of job search assistance you are requesting. Your cover letter should be designed specifically for the purpose you are writing and customized for each position you seek.

Format Your Cover Letter

Copyright Pali Rao

How you format your cover letter, both from a content (the information you include) and a presentation (what your cover letter looks like) perspective is important. Even when applying online or via email, your cover letter needs to be properly formatted, readable, and without any mistakes.

Review Cover Letter Examples

Take the time to review cover letter examples, then make sure that your letter explains how your skills relate to the criteria listed in the job posting.

Start From a Cover Letter Template

Copyright Johnny Lye

A cover letter template can be a good way to get started writing cover letters to send with resumes when you apply for jobs. Use a cover letter template as a starting point for creating your own personalized cover letter.

Tips for Using a Cover Letter Template

Include Keywords in Your Cover Letter

Image Copyright Getty Images Ines Koleva
It's important to include skill, results and recognition keywords which match the description of the job for which you are applying and attest to your credentials in your cover letter to increase your chances of getting selected for an interview. Here's how.

Write a Custom Cover Letter

Copyright Pali Rao

It can be time consuming to write a custom cover letter for each job you apply for, but it's important to take the time and effort to show the company why you are a good match.

Write a Personalized Cover Letter

Copyright Alison Doyle

When it comes to cover letters, taking the time to get personal is really important. Find out as much as you can about the company and the hiring manager. Personalize your cover letter and, if you can, address it to the individual responsible for hiring. If need be, research online or make a phone call to find out who the hiring manager is.

Send an Email Cover Letter

Copyright Marco Volpi

The most important part of sending an email cover letter is to follow the employer's instructions. If the job posting says to include your cover letter and resume as an attachment, attach Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF files to your email message.

Address Your Cover Letter

Copyright Alison Doyle

How to address a cover letter can be tricky if you are responding to a blind ad and don't have a contact person's name to include or you don't know the hiring manager's gender. Here's how to address a cover letter.

Send Your Cover Letter as an Attachment

Copyright Alison Doyle

When you apply for jobs via email, you may need to send your resume and cover letter as an attachment. It's important to send your cover letter and resume attachments correctly, to include all the information you need so your email message is read, and to let the receiver know how they can contact you to schedule an interview.  Here's how to send a cover letter as an attachment.

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