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The Dos and Don’ts of Cover Letters

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emerson chapter.

It’s about that time again – time to brush up on your interview skills, update that resume and start applying for internships. Along with endless applications comes the cover letter, a note to a potential employer that explains why you would be a good fit for the position you are applying for. While cover letters don’t seem like a tricky business, there are certain rules you should be following when drafting them up. Here are a few dos and don’ts to guide you when writing cover letters!


1. Do address it to the right person

A major mistake applicants often make is addressing their cover letter to the wrong person – or no one at all. If you have the name of the person who will be reading applications, be sure to address your letter to him/her. If the opening description doesn’t give a name, do some research online and see if you can find the contact. If there’s no way to find out, then resort to using “to whom it may concern.”


2. Don’t talk about everything you’ve ever been involved in

Your resume should give an overview of your past projects and experiences, but your cover letter should go in depth about which experiences have prepared you for the open position. Take the most important and relevant projects from your resume and expand on them. Explain what you learned and how these lessons will help you at a future job.


3. Do keep it short

While your cover letter is more detailed than a simple resume, you shouldn’t drag it on. Your letter describe who you are and why you specifically would be a good fit for the job. No employer wants to read three pages of you blabbing on and on, so keep it short, sweet and to the point!


4. Don’t send the same letter twice

You might be sending your resume to multiple employers, but remember to change your cover letter for each recipient. Again, your cover letter is detailed and should outline exactly why you are meant for a certain position. Therefore, the content should change for each job you apply to. Make sure to tailor your letter for each employer and position!


5. Do get creative

Your cover letter is your chance to make a first impression and a great opportunity to get creative. Use the letter to show a little bit more about yourself than you can demonstrate on a resume. Employers may be reading hundreds of applications, so use your cover letter to make yourself stand out!


Cover letters are a vital part of most application processes, so make sure you’re doing them correctly. A great cover letter can make you stand out in a pool of applicants – so get writing!

Megan is a Community Manager at Her Campus, working to grow and maintain networks of 3300+ Influencers and 1000+ High School Ambassadors. She conceptualizes and executes new programming initiatives for network members, assists the Integrated Marketing team on paid client campaigns for bloggers and ambassadors, and serves as the public face of both the InfluenceHer Collective and the High School Ambassador Program.
Emerson contributor