3 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter That Recruiters Want to Read

3 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter That Recruiters Want to Read

Cover letters often seem like the most difficult part of applying for a job or internship. Unlike a resumé, which is highly structured and is relatively easy to put together, cover letters have no expected template. Often, the guidelines for a cover letter are very loose—something along the lines of “tell us why you want this position and why you would be a good fit.” So how do you write a cover letter that attracts your recruiter’s eye?

1—Keep it short and sweet.

This may seem a bit counter-intuitive—why wouldn’t you want to answer the question as fully as possible? The answer is because recruiters glance at cover letters pretty quickly—30 seconds or so on average. If your cover letter is too long, a recruiter may miss some of the most important points. By only covering the necessary information, you can ensure that the recruiter won’t get bogged down by unnecessary commentary. Jot down the ideas you want to express in a notebook, cross out the less important ones, and really dig into those two or three most important points.

2—Don’t restate your resumé.

You submitted your resumé for a reason. It provides the recruiter with information about your educational and work experience. There’s no need to go into this again—your cover letter should give the recruiter an idea of who you are as a person, not just a rehashing of what your resumé says about you. Focus on what you’re passionate about and what your skills are. The only real exception to this is if your resumé doesn’t quite cover an aspect of the value gained by that position. Applying for a marketing internship and your only work experience was at a cupcake bakery? Talk about how your job showed you that the better the cupcakes were arranged, the better they sold that day. Tie it back into the position you’re applying for.

3—Make it visually appealing

This can vary a bit from job to job, so don’t go down the brightly-colored graphic design road if you’re applying for a legal internship. However, there is value in formatting your cover letter in a way that catches the recruiter’s eye before he or she even reads it. The phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a bit of a lie, and we all know it. There are so many pretty and professional cover letter layouts that can be found online. any of them come with matching resumé templates as well to complete the look. If you’re particularly creative and gifted with design software, design your own cover letter heading that captures your personal brand.

With a golden cover letter like this, job application season doesn’t seem so intimidating anymore. My final pieces of advice? Always wear a blazer to an interview and never forget to write a thank-you note to the recruiter. Happy job hunting!

Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below!