We’ve seen thousands of cover letters. THOUSANDS. The good, the bad and the oddball have all crossed our desks and regardless of profession, industry or seniority it’s probably time we all took a refresher. But just like your cover letter, there’s no need to be too wordy about it; so here’s our top Dos and Don’ts of Cover Letters.

  • Do write one. Always. In an email body is acceptable practice these days.
  • Don’t send the same cookie cutter letter with every application.
  • Do try to address it personally. Check the website and LinkedIn for contacts, but Don’t stress too much if you can’t find one.
  • Do be brief. One page. No exceptions. Preferably 3-4 short paragraphs.
  • Don’t just regurgitate your resume.
  • Do pick out relevant snippets from your resume to highlight which correspond to the job.
  • Don’t begin all your sentences with “I”.
  • Do demonstrate any understanding you have of the company and how you’ll fit in.
  • Don’t use ‘fancy’ or unprofessional fonts (read: comic sans).
  • Do use spell check. And then spell check again.
  • Don’t forget to include all your contact information.
  • Do tie your resume in with your cover letter. If you use personalized letterhead for your resume, apply it to your cover letter as well. It’s ok to be creative! (as long as it doesn’t involve comic sans)

Job searching can be a tiresome exercise and the temptation to not customize each letter can be hard to resist. But remember you only have a few seconds to capture an employer’s attention and entice them to read your resume, so make those few seconds count and go the extra mile to make sure your application doesn’t get tossed to the side