Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts

By Emily Bowman ’17

Cover letters can often seem daunting, but they don’t have to be! Check out these do’s and don’ts of cover letters to ensure you’re presenting yourself to potential employers in the best way possible.

DO include a formal heading with your name and address as well as the contact information for the person you address the letter to.

DON’T write too much. Three detailed paragraphs should take up no more than about ¾ of a page.  Brevity and concision are key!

DO spend time thinking about what traits you want to highlight about yourself. Make sure you’re engaging the reader right away and emphasizing the qualities that make you a perfect fit for the job.

DON’T use too many personal pronouns. Nix any extraneous “I think,” “I feel,” “I believe” phrases.

DO your research on the organization and make sure to include specific details about its mission/services. This will assure the employer that the cover letter is personal and that you’re knowledgeable about the position, which will go a long way in making you a competitive candidate!

DON’T make a form letter and just change the organization’s name for each different application. Employer’s will easily be able to tell it’s not a customized letter.

DO read through the job requirements and make sure you mention experiences and qualities about yourself that fit the description.

DON’T forget to convey enthusiasm for the position and use positive language and tone!

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