What Your Cover Letter Should Look Like in 2017

4/17/2017
Kristen Bahler

Cover letters are a tough and tricky business.

Striking the right balance between formal and conversational—while differentiating yourself from every other job seeker on the market—is no small feat. And the monotony of filling out online applications can make the task downright exhausting.

But make no mistake: a stellar cover letter is still a job search must-have, and it could be key to catching a hiring manager’s attention. Here are some tips, and a downloadable cover letter example, to make yours stand out.

1. Personalize

Every cover letter you write should be tailored to the job you’re applying for — just like your resume. Study the job posting carefully, and make a quick list of any essential qualifications.

“Job seekers really struggle with what to say on a cover letter,” says Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, President and CEO of Great Resumes Fast. “Taking a second to think about why you’re applying, and why you’re a good fit for the company, makes the process a lot easier.”

If you’re adding a cover letter to an online application, use a business letter format with a header and contact information. If you’re sending an email, it’s OK to leave out the header, but be sure to provide a phone number (and an attached resume, of course). Make sure you’re clear about the position you’re applying for.

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