Your Cover Letter Checklist

Today, we will be covering the qualities you should be looking for when reviewing your cover letter.

Cover letters are an essential part of most job postings. A cover letter provides an opportunity for you to show how well you can organize your thoughts and to highlight some of your most appealing qualifications.

Before sending off your cover letter, make sure it has the following qualities:

It is properly addressed

Read over the job posting and do some background research on the organization to which you are applying. If you can find the name of your hiring manager, personally address them in your salutation line. This can put you ahead of many less careful applicants.

If you can not find the name of your potential hiring manager or supervisor, “dear hiring manager” is an acceptable alternative. Just ensure you have made every reasonable effort to find a name, as it will make the cover letter much more personable.

It includes position/job number

Your subject line should contain the name of the job position and the job code (if advertised).

This little inclusion can have a big impact on your application. Your cover letter is the first sample of your business communication skills. You want to show hiring managers that your future emails will be easy to understand and easy to reference.

It is organized

The body of each cover letter should follow the same general pattern across applications.

You should begin with an introductory paragraph that

  • expresses your interest in the position,
  • explains where you found the position, and
  • briefly explains why you would be a good fit for the role.

Following this introductory paragraph should be a background on your experience and some key accomplishments that relate to the position. This is an opportunity to provide more context to the most important parts of your résumé. Try to back up your qualifications with solid numbers and accomplishments wherever possible.

Conclude the body of the letter with a paragraph thanking the hiring manager for their time. Express your interest meeting with them to further discuss your qualifications at their convenience. Finally, include your contact information.

It is free from walls of text

A wall of text happens when you fail to split your content into readable paragraphs. These text walls are daunting for the reader and can easily become a disqualifying factor for busy hiring managers.

Avoid these by separating your text into paragraphs. Each paragraph should cover one general idea and should be as concise as possible (ideally under five sentences).

Do not be afraid to use bullets if you have a list of three to five items you want to cover. Bullet points are a great way to avoid long, cumbersome paragraphs.

It has been proofread

As with all business communications, give your final product a proofread. As you write, you may find yourself tinkering with previous sentences here or there, and some errors may fall in between edits. One final proofread should help you smooth those rough edges in your cover letter.

If you can, get a friend or family member to review your letter with a set of fresh eyes before sending it out.

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