3 Things to Check Before You Send Out Your Cover Letter

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Your cover letter can make or break your chances of landing a job. Since it's the first thing a hiring manager looks at, it has to be good enough to make them want to pick up your resume. This means your cover letter shapes their first impression of you. You have to sell yourself, and it is your marketing campaign. 

So, how can your cover letter knock a potential employer's socks off? Make sure it's well-written and error-free, summarizes your best qualities and most relevant experience, and highlights the reasons why you’re the best fit for the job. 

Even if your resume is top-notch, it may fail to serve its purpose unless you sell yourself in a professionally written cover letter that leaves a recruiter wanting more. Crafting one that gets you through the door is tricky, so if you’re not sure how to do it, check out our cover letter service

Here are three critically important questions to ask yourself before sending out your cover letter. 

Did you get the names right?

You should always include the company's name in your cover letter to personalize it. Don't leave out terms such as Inc. or Co. if they're part of the full name. That would be equivalent to a spelling error, only more grave since it can be construed as a sign of disrespect for the company. Get it right and show the employer your scrupulous attention to detail. 

If you're applying for several jobs, make sure you don't mix up the companies and refer to the wrong one. Triple-check for this before you hit “send” or your application will immediately land in the trash bin. In fact, this is so important that you may want to wait a few hours before your final check. If the content of your cover letter is too fresh in your mind, your brain can easily “auto-correct” to what you know you want to say.

In addition, make sure your cover letter is addressed to the person in charge of assessing applicants. Do not ever use a generic greeting such as "To whom it may concern"! This is unprofessional and a quick way to get yourself kicked out of the race.

Instead, use the person's actual name, appending "Mr." or "Ms." to their last name. “Ms.” has become the default title for women, and it saves you from having to find out whether your female hiring manager is married. 

Using the correct name lets the employer know that you've taken the time to do some research and personalize the communication. If you found the position on a job listing site, chances are the posting also says to whom you should address the cover letter. If it doesn't, call the company and ask. In case you still can’t get the relevant name, ask who you should address it to. Take comfort in the fact that if you can’t get this piece of information, other candidates won’t be able to, either.

Did you check for errors?

One of the biggest turn-offs to a hiring manager is a cover letter riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes. Employers that get dozens of qualified applicants won’t tolerate even a single error. Mistakes in your cover letter make you appear careless, which could be seen as a reflection of the type of employee you'll be. 

A good way to catch mistakes while you're proofreading is to read the text out loud. You're more likely to notice something than if you just skim over it. If someone you know is excellent at spelling and grammar, consider asking them to proofread your cover letter. It always helps to have a second pair of eyes go over it. If you want to be absolutely sure that your cover letter is in tip-top shape, have a professional editor take a look.

Did you include your email and phone number?

It may seem like sharing your contact information is a no-brainer, but applicants have been known to leave these essential details out of a cover letter. Yes, this information is on your resume, but it should appear on your cover letter as well. Always include your full name, phone number, and email address so the employer knows exactly how to reach you. If you don't, it could cost you the job. When submitting an online application, upload your cover letter using the same formatting for your contact details as in your resume for consistency.

To keep things professional, it's best to use a simple email address, preferably one with your first and last name. If your current address sports a bunch of random numbers and a nickname, create a new one using a free email provider. Gmail is seen as the most professional one; avoid Hotmail as it doesn’t have a very professional image. Also, never ever use the email address you have at your current job—you might still need that job if things don’t pan out.

Remember: The cover letter is an employer's first impression of you, so don’t take it lightly. Craft a professional one that shows you at your best to get noticed and land an interview. If you’d rather leave this task to the experts, consider our cover letter service

Improve Your Resume or CV