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Looking for a new job? You first need to get an interview. To do that, a cover letter is key to setting you apart from the competition. The question is: how do you write one that’s effective? Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you in the process.

Don’t copy and paste from the Internet.

Hiring managers get generic letters online all the time. If you send one, it won’t do anything to help you stand out. In fact, it might even count against you. Use these as examples and inspiration, but write your own unique cover letter for each job.

Don’t regurgitate your resume.

Your resume and cover letter are two separate documents that should complement, not mirror, each other. For instance, your resume might highlight an achievement in bullet point format, while your cover letter digs deeper into what you did, how you did it, and the results you delivered in the process.

Do address your letter to the hiring manager.

When you’re writing your cover letter, address it to the hiring manager, not “to whom it may concern.” If you don’t know their name, call the company or do some online digging on LinkedIn or the company website to try and find out.

Do keep your letter short and sweet.

Your cover letter is an opportunity to show some personality and what sets you apart from other candidates. That said, write a letter that is short and concise. It shouldn’t be long-winded but should provide examples and illustrations that showcase the value you bring to the table.

Don’t use vague or generic language.

Avoid phrases like “team-oriented” or “results-driven.” Anyone can claim this and they don’t communicate anything unique about your strengths or abilities. Instead, get specific, detailing a relevant past project or why you’d like to work for the company.

Do focus on the company.

Don’t talk too much about what you’re looking for in an employer. Instead, discuss what you can do for the company. Tie your specific background experience and skills to the company’s challenges or objectives, so it’s clear you’re the right pick for the job.

Do format your letter properly.

Keep your letter to one page and format it in the same way as your resume. Also, set the font size to between 10 and 12 points to ensure it’s easy for the hiring manager to read.

Need more help with your next job search?

PrideStaff is here for you. We’re a leading recruiter in Tempe and can help you polish your cover letter and resume, prepare for interviews, and land the position you want. Contact us today to learn more.

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