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How to Craft a Winning Cover Letter in 10 Minutes

Cover letters are never easy. Here are some tips to help.
How to Craft a Winning Cover Letter in 10 Minutes
Image credit: graphicstock
4 min read
This story originally appeared on Glassdoor

Let’s be honest: some of us would rather visit than dentist than write a cover letter. But it doesn’t have to be difficult -- and it doesn’t even have to be time-consuming. (We promise!)  

Glassdoor has created a guide for creating the perfect cover letter in a matter of minutes -- complete with everything from the anatomy of an eye-catching opening to a checklist you can reference when you’re ready to edit your first draft. But with these key points -- as well as some expert advice -- you can write a killer cover letter as soon as you read this article.

Related: 6 Steps to Figuring Out If You've Got the Right Job Offer

Here’s how to craft a winning cover letter in 10 minutes -- or less.

Nail down the key points.

Every cover letter covers the same basic points: each includes your contact information, a greeting and your past experience. But to make your cover letter stand out, you’ll have to make those same ol’ points sing, Glassdoor’s guide points out. For example, when it comes to your contact information, “don’t make recruiters dig through your cover letter to find” it, the guide advises. Place it on top of your letter, where it’s easy to spot, read, and reference.

As for that greeting? “Forget ‘To Whom It May Concern,’” according to the guide. If you can find a contact person’s name and title, use it. You’d be amazed what a difference it makes.

Show why you’re right for the role.

Your resume clearly lists all of your qualifications, so your cover letter is the best place to elaborate on what makes you right for the job. “Whenever possible, include concrete metrics that illustrate the results you’ve achieved,” our Glassdoor guide recommends.

Related: 7 Common Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

You can also show your personality, recommends career coach Hallie Crawford. “Try to grab the hiring manager’s attention in the introductory paragraph regarding why you’re interested in the position and passionate about the work. Tell a personal story that relates to the industry or the organization,” she recommends. Try out quotes or anecdotes too.

Keep it clean.

According to Glassdoor’s guide, “cover letters should be clean and easy to read,” so be sure to “skip the intricate designs and crazy fonts for party invitations,” Glassdoor advises. And, if possible, keep your cover letter to a single page -- just like you did with your resume, too.

One way to make your cover letter clean is to use bullet points. “Address specific skills and qualifications needed for the job in a bulleted list that’s easy to read,” Crawford explains.

What’s more, “your cover letter should match the format of your resume,” Crawford says. Think of it this way, Crawford adds: “Both of these documents are your personal branding materials, so they should match with the same header, font and style to brand you.”

Related: 4 Myths We're Taught About Success

End on a high note.

Lastly, “at the end of your letter, let the hiring manager know why you stand out from your competition for the job,” Crawford advises. “Highlight your unique combination of skills and experience.” One way to do that, Crawford says, is to “review your peers’ LinkedIn profiles to understand what’s typical in your industry and how you’re different from them.”

For more, click here for more help crafting the perfect cover letter. 

(By Jillian Kramer)

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