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Cover Letter Etiquette: What You Should Do and Shouldn't Do

May 11, 2023
5 min read
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In addition to a resume, a cover letter is a document that enables you to communicate more about yourself. Employers learn more about you in a cover letter than in your resume, so it's important to include one in your application. There are examples of relevant achievements and a call to action in this introduction of who you are.

Not only can cover letters help potential employers notice you, but they also serve as an essential part of the application process. They go into further depth about topics covered in resumes while displaying a personable side that might help employers determine whether you're a good match for the company culture. We've compiled a list of do's and don'ts for drafting a cover letter in this post.

Do's: Talk about what you can do.

Cover letters allow you to go beyond a resume's standard list of qualifications by providing context for your experience and accomplishments. Consider how your talents have benefitted you in the past and, if required, provide a narrative about how they have aided your work performance.

Do's: Explain what you can do for the company.

Don't be afraid to go into further detail about the qualifications and experience you've stated on your CV. When interviewing for a job, use these skills to demonstrate your suitability for the position and why you should be hired. Explain in detail how you were able to enhance client retention by 20% and how you plan to do the same with your new firm.

Do's: Show some personality

It takes a lot of time for hiring managers to read generic cover letters and drab resumes. Including a personal touch in your cover letter will help you stand out from the competition and demonstrate your compatibility with the company's culture. 

Do's: Self-promotion

Including a cover letter with your application documents can help you show a prospective employer that you are qualified for the position based on your previous work experience and education.

Your CV has to include a section that highlights these achievements. It is unlikely that a hiring manager would be impressed by nebulous phrases such as "was responsible for" or "was entrusted with"; thus, it is essential to highlight your accomplishments using quantifiable language.

Do's: Before drafting a cover letter, do some homework about the business.

Look for a section on the company's website that covers the organization's history, purpose, and values. Try to learn more about the business and use that information in your cover letter. Take notice of the company's charitable contributions in your letter of recommendation, and explain why it matters so much to you. If you do this, your application will be seen as more competitive since you have done your homework and invested more time and effort into it.

Do's: Specify keywords in your post.

In organizations that often get a large number of job applications, scanning resumes and cover letters for keywords is a common practice. The software is programmed to arrange results according to a predetermined list of significant keywords.

There are a set amount of recommended keywords that resumes should include, and those with less or no preferred keywords should be eliminated from further consideration. Look for recurring terms in the job description and the job advertisement. In your cover letter, utilize the words you've identified regularly.

You can use AI writing tools like WordHero to help you generate the right keywords to add.

Don'ts: Cover letters that are too generic will be ignored.

To save time, many job searchers use pre-written cover letters for many positions and then tweak the specifics for each one. On the other hand, using a boilerplate cover letter means you're losing out on an important chance to build relationships with potential employers. Don't use a boilerplate cover letter to increase your chances of landing the job of your dreams.

Be specific about why you'd want the job, what sets you apart from the other candidates, and what value you'd bring to the table if hired. Do you think creating a broad cover letter is a bad idea? That isn't precisely correct.

A well-written generic cover letter might save a lot of time by highlighting the essential accomplishments you wish to emphasize. Regardless of the job you're applying for, you should always tweak your cover letter a little.

Don'ts: Don't think about what the work will do for you.

Some job seekers devote a significant portion of their cover letter to describing why they believe the position they are applying for is the ideal one for them. It's a good idea to provide facts that show how good you are as an employee and what you can do.

Don'ts: Resumes should not be summed up.

To do their jobs effectively, hiring managers must simultaneously review many applications. Don't submit the same information to the employer and your chances of getting an interview if you don't have to.

It is not necessary to restate your curriculum vitae in your cover letter. What's the sense of putting in two distinct papers if your cover letter states the same thing as your resume?

The purpose of a cover letter is to elaborate on the qualities and accomplishments shown on your CV while also demonstrating your enthusiasm for employment. In addition, your cover letter should describe why you are the ideal candidate for the position.

Don'ts: Don't get hung up on your existing position or educational background.

Your education and past work experience are important. Instead of just restating your resume's benefits, build on them in your cover letter. Instead of listing your degrees, describe what you've learned and any talents you've gained. Describe how your expertise may benefit the business.

Don'ts: There should only be one page.

You may believe you have a lot to say about who you are, what you've accomplished, and why you desire the job you're applying for. As a result, potential employers don't have the time to read a lengthy bio. You may come out arrogant if the hiring manager spends a significant amount of time reading a lengthy cover letter, which might hurt your chances of being hired.

Make your cover letter no more than one page if you want to retain the attention of the recruiting manager. Additionally, it's critical that you keep your sentences succinct and straight to the point. Even the busiest hiring managers will obtain a complete picture of your relevant credentials and accomplishments if you are brief in your application.

In a cover letter, you're introducing yourself to a potential employer. It's a way for you to demonstrate your worth to the firm and how well you fit in with the rest of the workforce. As a first impression, a cover letter may help you stand out as an attractive prospect.

It's also an excellent spot to elaborate on your abilities and experiences or to provide a narrative about how you put them to use. To write the best possible CV letter for your future, follow the advice in the preceding list of dos and don'ts.

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