Cover letter format and content advice tips

Wondering how to write a cover letter? Make sure you can answer “yes” to the questions on this checklist.

Cover letter format and content advice tips

Many job seekers struggle with how to write a cover letter, as well as cover letter format, but this skill can be learned and perfected. The time and effort will pay off, because a great cover letter can increase your odds of getting a job interview.

These cover letter tips can help your job application standout. Make sure you can answer “yes” to the questions on this checklist:

Introduction

  • Does your cover letter have a strong opening paragraph, communicating your job target and key strengths within the first few lines of text?
  • Does your cover letter conform to a standard business letter format? (See our cover letter examples.)
  • Is your cover letter addressed to a specific individual, if the name is available?

The body

  • Does the body of your cover letter express how you would benefit the employer if you were hired?
  • Do you avoid starting every sentence with “I” or “my” so you can focus more on the employer’s requirements and not your own?
  • Do you demonstrate your expertise by using industry-specific language?
  • Do you include examples of your accomplishments so employers can see you have a proven track record?
  • Is the content engaging and relevant to hiring managers’ needs?
  • Is the cover letter succinct, containing just enough information to entice the reader to review your resume?
  • Did you include all information that was requested, such as a job reference number, employment availability date and salary requirements?
  • Is the content unique? Did you avoid copying text from your resume verbatim?
  • Does your cover letter sound genuine? Does it reflect your personality and make you seem likeable and approachable?
  • Did you proofread your cover letter to ensure that it’s free of spelling, grammar, syntax and formatting errors?
  • Does the writing style and design coordinate with the resume, such as by using the same font and layout style?

Closing paragraph

  • Did you provide an easy way for employers to contact you, such as a direct phone line and email address?
  • Does your cover letter end with a call to action, confidently requesting an interview?
  • Did you remember to sign your letter if you’re mailing a hard copy?