Cover letters are the backup dancers and supporting actors of your job application: you tend not to pay too much attention to them when they are there and everything is going smoothly. However, if something’s off, or they are absent, you’ll see it right off. That’s why getting a cover letter right is just as important as keeping your resume succinct. Here are a few tips on what we really don’t want to see in your introduction letter. 

Don’t use the ‘Mr/Mrs’ address format.
More often than not, a letter introduction starts off with “Dear Mr/Mrs XXX”. But most of us are not gender-interchangeable. Keep it neutral with terms like “To the HR Director” or some variant of such an address. Or the more common practice these days is to stalk the person on LinkedIn to find out their gender, and then address it appropriately. Only do the latter if you are sure the person will not know. 

Career Advice: Nail that Cover Letter-am_il_v1001_i_b6abe0c9311115a1b140e0f2644bad3854_58b83f26945e4302f5934605b2d78de234

Photo by Getty Images

Treat the letter professionally. 
This isn’t an email, even if cover letters are often sent today as part of an email introduction. Under no circumstances should you start your email with “Hi” or “Hello”. In addition, don’t write like a kid penning a letter to Santa Claus. There’s no need to introduce your name. We can read a signoff at the end of the letter. Use a formal letter format, sans full addresses. 

Leave your contact details. 
It’s common sensical, you’d think, but more often than not, we get sent resumes with a distinct lack of contact information. By that, we mean an email address and contact number, not a Facebook profile link. It might sound petty, but it’s a bit of etiquette you should remember. Incidentally, don’t ever use your current work email address to apply for a new job. That’s tacky and dumb. 

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Photo by Getty Images

Explain why you would like to apply for the job, and why you would fit the role being offered. 
Telling us you are highly talented isn’t quite nearly enough to convince us to hire you. It’s wiser to explain how you would fit well into the needs of the company and your relevant connection with the role that is being offered. 

Check your spelling.
These cover letters aren’t complex, so spelling errors are quite inappropriate. Plus, Microsoft Word has spellcheck. So spellcheck. 

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