The Dos and Don’ts of Cover Letters


  • Address the cover letter to the hiring manager if you know their name
  • Communicate your interest in the position, your relevant skills and/or experience and your knowledge of the company, it’s products or industry
  • Tailor your objective, skills and experience to the job description you’re applying for. Draw a picture for the recipient. Don’t expect them to read between the lines
  • Provide contact information and detail your availability to start
  • Write in the “first-person” using the “I” voice


  • Make simple spelling errors. Use your word processor’s spellcheck tool
  • Include clipart, fancy fonts, patterned paper, or personal photos
  • Use templated cover letters that sound stale and mechanical. Write the cover letter in a formal yet conversational tone
  • List shortcomings. This will come up in the interview, if at all, and you should have a few responses ready that won’t sink your application
  • Include personal information like age, marital status, gender. All of these things are protected under Equal Employment and shouldn’t be a factor in whether you get the interview or not
  • Beg or plead for an interview