Here are 12 cover letter tips to improve your chances of getting an interview. Following each of these will help you:
- Explain the backstory of your skills and experience
- Showcase your personality and attitude
- Tailor your application to the company you’re applying to
We’ll also share 3 bonus executive cover letter writing tips as well as how to create a unique cover letter following the best practices in less than 60 seconds.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
12 Best Cover Letter Writing Tips
Use these tips to write a cover letter for any job. Following each of these will boost your chances of securing a job interview.
1. Personalize Every Cover Letter You Send
Hiring managers can tell apart the difference between a generic application and a tailored application.
Cover letters are meant to be personalized. The purpose of your cover letter is to prove that you’re the best person to hire. However, using the same cover letter for all companies you’re applying to reflects a lack of interest.
Personalizing your cover letter doesn’t mean you need to start again from scratch. Instead, make some tweaks by:
- Including job description keywords
- Mentioning a company’s core values
- Being selective with the skills and experiences to highlight
Quality gets more results than quantity. Still, it’s possible to do both with an AI cover letter generator.
2. Use the Active Voice to Write Impact-Driven Sentences
Active voice focuses on the subject of the sentence. Passive voice focuses on the object of the sentence.
Here’s an example:
- I am proficient in dealing with cross-functional teams to complete projects within tight time frames.
- Dealing with cross-functional teams to complete projects within tight deadlines is one of my proficiencies.
The former highlights the significance of your actions compared to the latter.
Your resume and cover letter are supposed to show the hiring manager how you can make an impact on the company. That’s why the active voice is used rather than the passive voice because it puts more emphasis on your actions and efforts.
3. Show How You Align With the Company Culture
When you’re applying for a competitive job opening, other candidates will likely have similar work experience and skills. So to help make a decision, a prospective employer would take into account transferable skills and personal traits.
Those of you whose personality matches the company’s core values have a competitive advantage, even if you have no relevant experience.
Here’s a few things to consider:
- Mention career goals that align with the company’s mission
- Share what impressed you most about the company and why
- Give examples of how you overcame challenges that the company is facing
- Highlight your passions, hobbies, and interests
4. Paint a Picture of the Future
Resumes give recruiters an overview of your work history. In other words, your past. Cover letters, on the other hand, are more about proving how you can be valuable to the company’s success moving forward.
Another tip here is to start by outlining before making a draft so that you know what to highlight in each paragraph.
Aside from writing a call to action, imply how your experiences make you stand out as well as how you can continue to stand out when employed.
Here’s a few examples:
- My success in exceeding sales quotas and instituting a customer cost savings program demonstrate my ability to consistently meet and exceed the expectations of my employers.
- I believe that my experience aligns with your current needs. After reviewing my resume, I am confident you will agree that my proven performance record and ambition will be an asset to the company.
5. Use a Variety of Sentence Openers
It makes your writing boring. It also looks amateur. It also looks unpleasant to the eye.
Notice the problem with that entire line?
Overusing the same words makes your application a lot less engaging. Too much repetition itself kills your writing. So instead, aim to use a range of sentence openers to retain your reader’s interest.
6. Use a Conversational Tone
Write in the same way you would talk in a professional environment. Have a friendly tone of voice but keep it semi-formal.
Taking a conversational approach makes your writing more engaging. It’s also how you showcase personality. That said, don’t be too friendly and too much on the casual side as if you were speaking to a family member.
7. Mention Mutual Connections or Personal Experiences With the Company
After mentioning the job opportunity you’re interested in, mention how you found out about it in the first place. For some of you, it’s because you were introduced to the company by a mutual connection.
Whether you’ve met the team before on a previous occasion or have a mutual connection, it makes for a strong conversation starter.
Here’s an example below on how to bring this up on a cover letter.
“I am pleased to present my application for the Product Manager position at Google. I have spoken with several members of Google’s Product Management team and was impressed by their acuity and passion for developing products that are a pleasure to use.”
8. Write With Conviction
Companies want to hire someone who can help them reach their goals. Not someone who thinks that they can do it.
Here’s some words to replace:
- Swap “if” for “when”
- Swap “but” for “so”
- Swap “could” for “would”
Write with confidence. Reinforce your points with statistics from key achievements to not come off as cocky or too subjective.
9. Keep It Short
Be concise. Get straight to the point. The ideal length for a good cover letter format is around half a page long.
Longer applications don’t always equate to good applications. A shorter cover letter that’s selective with what to include will get more results compared to a cover letter that includes irrelevant information for the sake of length.
10. Elaborate on Points From Your Resume
Copying your resume without introducing any new information is a common cover letter mistake. However, it’s not a mistake to go in-depth on the points you mentioned on your resume.
For example, say there’s a projects section on your resume. Although your resume lists down what you achieved, use your cover letter to write about the obstacles you had to overcome. Then, explain how that experience gives you confidence that you’re the ideal candidate on the list.
On that note, avoid repeating the same points on your resume. Although cover letters aren’t always necessary, sending a bad cover letter could hurt your chances of getting an interview.
11. Ask a Friend or Family Member to Read Your Cover Letter
To be absolutely certain, ask a friend or family member to read your application. They’re more likely to catch small slipups than you are, especially when you’ve already read through your cover letter numerous times.
Never send off your cover letter without proofreading it twice.
12. Do Some LinkedIn Research
Here’s a hack to use to your advantage:
- Find the company you’re applying for on LinkedIn
- Check the people page
- Use the search bar to enter your job position, e.g. software engineer
- Click on the software engineer’s profile that’s currently employed at the company
- Get inspiration from their profile
In other words, see what other successful candidates and current employees at the company are currently working on. Then determine if any of those details could be mentioned on your cover letter. This makes it clear that one, you’ve done your research, and two, you’re motivated.
3 More Bonus Executive Cover Letter Tips
Here’s a bonus: we’ll share 3 executive cover letter tips. This is applicable for c-suite professionals as well as workers at all levels. Or, feel free to check out our breakdowns of proven cover letter examples for inspiration.
1. Expand on the Success of a Passion Project
Share about the success of a relevant passion project that you worked on. Or you can share how many projects you’ve worked on in the past that’s related to the field you’re in.
The goal here isn’t just to flex your professional achievements. It’s also to demonstrate in-depth expertise and self-motivation. Explaining the backstory of your employment timeline as well as your work history alongside side projects is one of the best ways to show that you have a genuine interest.
2. Use Industry-Related Terms
Executives are industry leaders. Therefore, it makes sense to use industry-related terms when you live and breathe your profession. However, use these buzzwords naturally, sparingly, and in the context of your skills.
And to reinforce your industry knowledge, share relevant accomplishments using data.
3. Include Examples That Demonstrate Leadership Ability
Demonstrate leadership ability by giving examples from your professional experiences that highlight soft skills.
Cover letters are all about telling a story. With that in mind, explain how you developed soft skills and refer to past wins to support your claims. Hiring managers are interested in learning about your professional growth.
If you’re applying for internship roles, you can still mention examples that showcase leadership ability. Instead of referring to work experience though, you’d refer to your academic background.
Spend 60 Seconds or Less Creating Unique, Tailored Cover Letters
Rezi’s AI cover letter generator makes it possible to create a cover letter instantly based on both your work background and the job description.
Here’s how it works:
- Enter the company name.
- Write the job title you’re applying for.
- Select a previous role to highlight.
- Press “AI Writer Ready”.
Thanks to this, users can send more tailored job applications in minutes.
Or watch the short clip below to see it in action.
Resumes are important but so are cover letters.
Apply these tips to write a compelling cover letter. And if you want to speed up the writing process, try giving Rezi AI a go.