Summer is finally here, and many college graduates are heading out into the real world. If you are just starting the job hunt, know that the perfect cover letter will help you land that dream job. This is the one thing that will catch the attention of any hiring manager and make them want to meet you in person. Here are five general guidelines to keep in mind when drafting the perfect cover letter.

1. Research.

Know what the position you’re applying for entails. Figure out the kind of company or organization you would be working for, understand their mission and how you fit into it. This information will help you construct the tone and content of the cover letter and will demonstrate your willingness to commit to the company.

2. Customize.

Generic letters won’t get you the coveted interview. Tailor it to each job you are applying to and make sure it’s evident that you have done your homework. Addressing it ‘To Whom It Might Concern’ just won’t do. Find the name of the person who will possibly be reading the cover letter and find out the proper way to address them according to their gender and position. Also, don’t forget to use the keywords in the job posting to increase your chances of getting a human to read it.

3. Complement.

While the length of your cover letter should not be super long, and it should complement rather than restate your resume. This is not the place to be humble, tell them exactly why you are the person they need for the job. Highlight your educational merits, your accomplishments and why you are passionate about the work you’ll be doing.

4. Ask (and you shall receive).

You are more likely to get an interview if you ask for it. Keep the letter light and conversational and invite whoever is reading it to contact you to discuss further anything they might be interested in. Don’t forget to include current contact information.

5. Proofread.

Before sending it in, get some eyes on it for proofreading. Double-check that you are addressing the right person and the right company for the right position.

By following these guidelines, you will ensure that managers actually pull out your cover letter from the pile and extend an invitation for you to dazzle them in person during an interview. So, get to writing and good luck on the job hunt!

Resources & References:

How to Address a Cover Letter

3 Things a Potential Employer Wants to Know

Q&A: What’s the Ideal Cover Letter Length?

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How to Write a Cover Letter: 31 Tips You Need to Know

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