First off, why bother writing a cover letter when the resume is most needed by companies? Because having a good cover letter will make you stand out in a sea of just resumes.

Cover letters are often misunderstood to be just an essay version of your resume, but it is far from it. Your cover letter is your opportunity to make a first impression based on your personality to the hiring manager. Here are 7 things to know when writing your winning cover letter.

1. Address to a person who works in the company

The first mistake made by a lot of candidates is addressing their cover letter to an unknown person, namely “To Whom It May Concern.”

In an age where most of the peoples’ lives are online, this just comes off as lazy and sloppy. Look through the job post and find out who is the contact person or the hiring manager. If it cannot be found, do a Google search or search on LinkedIn to find out who the VP of the department is and address it to them.

2. Write like you speak

Avoid super formalities such as “With the aforementioned experience, I hereby declare my interest….”

The person reading is also human and they would prefer if you talk like one. Silicon Valley investor, Paul Graham wrote an essay on this and it’s referred to as the “spoken language.”

Remember that this letter is to serve as starting a dialogue and not a one-off speech.

3. Write confidently

Do not undersell yourself by saying things such as “I know you have other qualified candidates than me….”

And avoid highlighting your weaknesses. Instead, highlight your strengths only and hyper focus on relevant points found on your resume.

Use the cover letter to introduce yourself in the best light and to talk about things that would be beneficial to the hiring manager.

4. Watch your spelling

Are you concerned about your spelling? Are your apostrophes not always spot on?

If so, ask a friend to spell check your cover letter for you or refer to this infographic for the common spelling mistakes.

5. Articulate your fit

Now we get the crux of the matter – why you are what they are looking for.

Companies don’t just hire people to fill up a role, they hire people to make their lives easier. Exhibit your knowledge and enthusiasm for the company. In other words, show them you have read their site, used their product and offer your solutions.

Further, emphasize your fit by adding examples to your strengths and relevant experiences.

6. Remove the redundancies

Avoid clichés like “I’m a fast learner… I think outside the box… ” and other redundancies.

Words like “I think… I feel… Really/Very….” are redundant and can give off a very wrong impression.

For a more detailed resource, read this.

7. Follow the 3 C’s of Writing

In three words, you will understand what makes good writing – that is Clear, Concise and Compelling.

David Silverman highlighted on the Harvard Business Review of a cover letter that he received that it was just 5 sentences and titled it the best cover letter he ever received.

Writing a cover letter is not difficult nor is it easy. There’s a fine balance to play between being needy for a job or being confident you are the right fit for the role, but having one thoughtfully written cover letter alone – is enough to separate you from the pack and stand out.

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Author Bio: This post was written by Ben Sim from iPrice group.

Ben Sim

Content Marketer at iPrice Group
An entrepreneur at heart with the spirit animal of an owl, Ben loves reading and practicing on psychology, marketing and business. He lives under the mantra that "less is more" and "perception is reality". He is currently a content marketer for iPrice Group.

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