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Top Tips to Write a Compelling Cover Letter


Employment & Learning

YWCA Saskatoon’s Employment and Learning Centre remains closed for in-person programs in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.  We will continue to provide remote services via email, telephone, and social media (Facebook).

We believe it is important to maintain your job search momentum. As such the Employment and Learning Centre will offer you daily job search advice and support that you can complete from home.

Today’s post is another post in the series….

Many job seekers wonder how to write a cover letter and whether or not you should even write one. Do hiring managers/recruiters read them? And what does a good cover letter look like? Good advice is to write a cover letter – you want to give yourself as much of a chance as possible to wow them.

Here are some top tips on how to write a stand-out cover letter that works:

Don’t reiterate your resume: The hiring manager is likely to have already looked at your resume, so don’t rewrite it. Mention something in a cover letter that they wouldn’t know about you from your resume. Expand on what you’ve written on your resume to paint a fuller picture of your skills and achievements that would be relevant to the job that you’re applying for. If you’re struggling what specific examples you could include in your cover letter, ask yourself these questions:

  • What was your approach when dealing with the responsibilities mentioned in your resume?
  • What did your boss/colleagues/client say you were very good at? What about your skills or personality make you especially great at getting the job done?
  • What would you say to someone when telling someone a very short story about how you’ve accomplished a particular achievement mentioned on your resume?

Find out the hiring manager’s or recruiter’s name: You won’t always be able to get this info but why not contact the company to try to find out the hiring manager’s name? You’ll stand out from others who didn’t put in the extra effort. Also, you could try to find them on LinkedIn.

Keep it concise: Keep your cover letter short – no more than half to three-quarters of a printed page. Succinct is a lot better than a long essay. If you only had 15 seconds to tell the prospective employer what they needed to know about you, what would you say? Put that in your cover letter. All you need to include is:

  • Why you want the job.
  • What sets you apart from other applicants (highlighting specific accomplishments).
  • Thank you (and a request for information on the next step in the hiring process).

Personalize your cover letter: Your cover letter needs to show, at a glance, why you’re a suitable candidate for the job. Recruiters view job seekers who send out generic cover letters as unmotivated – so if you don’t take the time to customize your letters, you might as well not bother sending them at all. Use the cover letter to demonstrate how your skills, experience, and education are relevant to the requirements of the job. Pick 3-4 key qualifications listed on the job description and be very specific in terms of how your experience is a match. If you use a template, customize it to each job posting that you’re applying to. Don’t be afraid to add a little of your personality and values (keeping in mind the tone of the job posting) so that the hiring manager can get an idea of the person they will be hiring. A lot of job seekers feel it is too much work to customize their resume and cover letter for each position to which they are applying. However, putting these tips into action will set you apart from the rest and show the hiring manager that you’ve gone the extra mile to research and align with the job’s requirements and company’s values.

Your Employment and Learning staff are working remotely through email or over the telephone.  Should you have any questions about resumes, job interviews, job interview questions, how to prepare, or how to answer those difficult questions, feel free to contact any of your Employment and Learning staff for support.  You can reach us at:

Stay motivated; stay healthy as you achieve your employment goals.


You can view the full original article by Interview Coach and Talent Acquisition Manager Margaret Buj, at