BlogCover LettersExpert Cover Letter Tips to Help You Stand Out in 2024

Expert Cover Letter Tips to Help You Stand Out in 2024

how to write a cover letter

As an extremely valuable CV or resume companion, a cover letter allows you to impress a hiring professional with your achievements and convince them you’re the right candidate for the job. Creating a strong document of this type can be grueling, but with our cover letter tips, you’ll surely make an awe-inspiring one!

You may think that writing cover letters is nothing more than a waste of time, as they never get read; however, that is not the case. Hiring managers love them—even 83% believe that a strong cover letter could help a candidate move forward, even if their resume is weak.

Thus, don’t dread these documents; with our guide, you’ll learn how to craft a stellar cover letter for any job!

Key Takeaways

  • A cover letter is an exquisite addition to your resume, as it enables you to go into more detail about your professional history, achievements, and skills.

  • To make a perfect cover letter, you need to format it properly and tailor it to every job you’re applying for.

  • A strong cover letter should include your best achievements supported by measurable results, figures, and percentages.

  • Don’t write a cover letter as if your life depended on it; it should be one page long, with an intriguing opening and an inviting call to action.

What Is a Cover Letter & Why Is It Important?

A cover letter is a one-page document you send together with your resume when you’re applying for a job. As a complement to your CV or resume, it lets you elaborate on your professional experience and your interest in the position, aiming to land you an interview.

While it’s not as strict as a resume in terms of format, a strong cover letter should include:

Mandatory Information

  • Heading that features your full name, job title, and contact information

  • Greeting

  • Introduction

  • Body, including your most relevant skills, qualifications, experience, and accomplishments

  • Reasons for applying

  • Conclusion and sign-off

Besides allowing you to introduce yourself and your professional background to a hiring professional, a cover letter helps you stand out from other candidates. With it, you let a hiring manager learn about your ambitions and aspirations, as well as why you’re applying for the position and what you expect from it. 

A strong cover letter also shows what contribution you would make to the company, illustrating how it could benefit from you. This is a perfect chance for you to show how your career goals align with the company’s objectives, demonstrating that you’re the perfect candidate for the position.

12 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter Like an Expert

Here are 12 hot cover letter tips in 2024 that will help you craft a stellar document:

#1.  Format Your Cover Letter Properly

What a hiring professional will see upon opening your cover letter is how it’s formatted and organized. If they notice it’s all jumbled, without paragraphs or adequate line spacing, and, worst of all, written in an unintelligible cursive font, they will ditch it instantly.

To format your cover letter properly, you should:

Cover Letter Format

  • Opt for a business letter format

  • Have 1–1.5 margins on each side of the letter

  • Use a professional-looking font instead of a stylistic one

  • Set font size at 10-12pt 

This way, your cover letter will be neat and easy to follow, allowing a hiring professional to instantly spot the most important information.

#2. Be Precise

You certainly have a lot to say about your professional experience, education, and qualifications. But do you actually think a recruiter wants to learn about your exquisite chef or dance skills? The answer is: not really.

When writing a cover letter, you need to be precise and include only the relevant professional experience and accomplishments. However important it is to you, the marathon award that you won last year won’t earn you any bonus points.

A hiring professional seeks to find out more about your professional, not personal, achievements. Thus, focus on what you achieved in your previous positions, not in high school or poetry competitions.

#3. Tailor Your Cover Letter to the Specific Position

One-size-fits-all or AI-generated cover letters may seem convenient and time-saving. However, they aren’t of great use; if you do decide to submit such a document, you risk being rejected instantly.

To stand out from the sea of other candidates, you need a cover letter that is tailored specifically to the position you’re applying for. You may use universal templates as cover letter examples to draw inspiration from, but you should never submit one without personalizing it.

By tailoring your cover letter, you’ll highlight your skills and achievements that are relevant to the role and demonstrate how you’ll contribute to the company’s growth. Your qualifications and achievements won’t be of great significance if the company can’t benefit from them and overcome the challenges it may be facing.

#4. Address the Hiring Manager

How would you react if you read ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’ for the twentieth time in just one day? If you were a recruiter, chances are that you’d go berserk and throw away all the cover letters with such a greeting.

This is exactly what hiring professionals do when they see such overly formal greetings in a cover letter. While this document should remain professional, it should be personalized as well. The best way to achieve this is to use a more personal greeting that includes the hiring manager’s name.

Address the Hiring Manager

If you can’t find their name in the job posting, use your research skills to discover it—check out the company’s LinkedIn and staff section on the official website. Alternatively, you can greet them with ‘Dear Hiring Manager.’

#5. Use Numbers and Keywords

There is not much point in including your achievements in a cover letter if they’re not supported by specific measures. Adding figures and percentages will allow you to demonstrate the measurable impact you had on your previous company and your contribution to the new employer.

Therefore, if you brought new clients, increased sales, or drew traffic to the company’s website, provide precise figures to quantify the results. Don’t just brag about your accomplishments; show what effect they had on the company.

Also, when talking about your professional history and skills, make sure that you include keywords from the job posting. It will help you pass the ATS and pre-screening filters and get the hiring professionals to read your application. 

#6. Proofread Your Cover Letter

Submitting a cover letter full of typos is among the greatest mistakes you can make. Spelling and grammar errors are a huge red flag for most recruiters, as they imply that you 1) are too lazy to proofread for mistakes and 2) don’t pay great attention to details.

Both will put your job application in jeopardy. Firstly, no employer wants a lazy employee who will only do the bare minimum and not show a hint of motivation. Secondly, a lack of attention to detail might indicate that you’ll be sloppy and that you may need someone to cover up for your mistakes, which is a waste of valuable resources. 

Therefore, don’t let a slip of the keyboard leave a bad impression of you; proofread your cover letter with your family or friends before hitting the 'send' button.

#7. Don’t Be Arrogant

To persuade the hiring manager that you’re the perfect candidate for the job, you need to brim with confidence and present yourself in the best possible light.

However, this can be a double-edged sword. Though you need to boast a little about your accomplishments, be careful not to brag.

Don't Be Arrogant

Portray your qualifications and achievements to convince the hiring professional that you’re better than other applicants. But don’t do it by claiming that you’re the one who’ll make the company prosper, as you may sound presumptuous and arrogant. 

Instead, let the hiring manager draw such a conclusion from your professional experience and accomplishments.

#8. Don’t Be Too Humble

How many times have you given up applying for a job because you thought you didn’t have adequate experience? More often than not, impostor syndrome makes us believe we’re not good enough for the position and that we’re nothing but fraud. Due to this, we may undervalue ourselves in our cover letters, fearing that we’ll be exposed as cheaters.

Low self-esteem has never earned anyone a job, and no one was employed out of pure compassion. Don’t underrate yourself; think about the achievements that make you a good fit for the job and include them in your cover letter.

#9. Keep Your Cover Letter at One Page

If you’ve ever wondered how long a cover letter should be, the answer is 250–400 words, or one page. Anything more than that would be a waste of your time and effort, as a hiring manager will probably refuse to read it.

If you have a wealth of experience, you may be tempted to write a longer cover letter instead of a shorter one, but you shouldn’t do it. Instead, focus on your most relevant experiences and accomplishments and elaborate on them.

#10. Start Strong

Knowing how to start a cover letter is vital if you want to grab a hiring professional’s attention right off the bat. A strong opening paragraph will spark their interest so that they have no other option than to continue reading. Plus, it should let them find out why you’re the right candidate for the role.  

To create an impactful introduction, emphasize your most impressive achievements and state how your personal aspirations align with the company’s goals and mission. Remember to support your statements with credible results or actions. 

Also, don’t forget to show your zeal and enthusiasm for the job, particularly if you lack relevant experience. Employers love motivated employees, as they are bound to stay longer with the company.

#11. Avoid Cliches and Buzzwords

Admit it—how many times have you written that you’re an excellent team player and exquisite negotiator or that you possess exceptional interpersonal and communication skills?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these; after all, they are among the most sought-after soft skills for nearly every job in the market. However, they are so overused that they have become empty words or cliches. Today, everyone is an exceptional problem solver or decision-maker on paper, but can it be proved in practice?

In addition to these cliches, other buzzwords to avoid adding to your cover letter include phrases like ‘ninja,’ ‘master,’ or ‘guru.’ They might sound super fancy in a cover letter or resume, but in reality, they convey very little meaningful information.

#12. Include a Call to Action

The closing of your cover letter is a great opportunity to thank a hiring professional for considering your application and wrap up your document. It is also a good place to include a call to action that will compel them to reply.

The best CTA would be to directly request an interview by stating that you’re available for it and that you’d be delighted to discuss what contribution you can make to the company in more detail.

Skipping a call to action is another red flag for a hiring manager, as it signals that you’re not willing or ready to take the initiative. Since such employees are not wanted, you will be rejected.

Cover Letter Examples

To see these cover letter tips in action, check out the cover letter for resume examples:

Emma-Carter-Virtual Assistant-1

Final Thoughts

A cover letter gives you an opportunity to provide more details about your professional background, qualifications, and achievements, all in order to demonstrate to a recruiter that you’re the right candidate for the job.

Due to its specificity, composing this document can be somewhat challenging. However, with the cover letter tips we’ve provided, you’ll craft a perfect one without hassle!

Isabelle Dupont
Isabelle Dupont
Content Writer & Editor
Isabelle Dupont is from Portland, but she now lives and works in sunny San Diego. She is a content writer and editor for Resume.co. She loves casual Fridays and carefree days spent on the beach and has been writing for several years now. Whether it’s creating content or fixing it up, she’s always on point and makes sure no stone is left unturned. In her free time, Isa loves to immerse herself in fantasy novels, go on long hikes, and spend time with her friends and family.

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