The must-have cover letter checklist

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

The must-have cover letter checklist

Cover letters are easier to write when you have a checklist.

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. You don't need to go rifling through cover letter examples in the hopes of finding the secret formula. You simply need to convey what makes you appropriate for the job, the value you could bring to the company, and why you'd be a great cultural fit. Sound daunting? Relax. 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 stand out. 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 the job description?
  • 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 likable 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?

Make sure your resume matches up

A strong cover letter is a great way to introduce yourself to potential employers, but if you really want to impress them, your resume should be just as thorough and work in tandem with your cover letter. Could you use some help with that? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. Monster's experts will run down their own checklist and show you how to quickly and easily boost your resume for job-hunting success.