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Some Positive Rules for Cover Letters


Trade Journey

Your resume lists your experience, accomplishments and skills; your cover letter should show how they are relevant to a particular job, and to the company’s goals. Before you write a word, research the company and the industry so that you can make informed references in your cover letter. “Look at the company’s website,” suggests Lakewood, Colorado Career Coach Donna Shannon, author of Get a Job Without Going Crazy: A Practical Guide to Your Employment Search. Shannon recommends looking at ZoomInfo and Manta for company information, Glassdoor for insight into hiring trends, and LinkedIn for information on the hiring manager and other company employees.


Watch your language. Applicant tracking software looks for keywords in resumes and cover letters that literally match the job description listed by the employer. So your uploaded letter needs to include as many of those words as possible. The software identifies exact matches and near-matches, but the more direct hits, the better.


Effective cover letters require clarity. If you show that you’ve done your homework, understand the job, and have the particular skills to fit the employer’s particular needs, you’ve written a good letter. Having a voice and showing some personality is fine, as long as it doesn’t obscure what you’re really trying to communicate.


Follow instructions exactly for an effective cover letter. If the application directions say to upload a cover letter, do it—even if you plan to send it in the body of an email.


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This article was based on an online piece by Gail Belsky for AARP. The full article can be found here: