Cover Letter Checklist : Learn How To Impress Recruiters

Published on: 31 October 2020

You have found the perfect job. You apply with the self-confidence that you have the needed experience and knowledge. But they reject you…

Why?

A day of a Recruiter is full of applications – colorless and long. Take time to make your cover letter impeccable and you will be noticed!

In the following lines, we’re going to show you cover letter checklist points, so next time you need a great cover letter, you’ll have all you need, just one click away.

Here is what we have for you:

  • How to introduce yourself and seize recruiters’ curiosity immediately.
  • Simple ways to show yourself in the best light
  • The best strategy to seal the deal at the end of your cover letter.
  • How to correct your cover letter and make it look compelling.

Let’s start with the Cover letter:

The beginning of your cover letter should be something that is going to be remembered. Introduce yourself with enthusiasm, brief the company why you love doing what you do. Show them that you are driven by passion.

Verify your contact information

Imagine this situation: A recruiter from your most wanted company loves your resume and cover letter and wants to invite you to an interview. They call you immediately, but the answer they get is “Wrong number”… Why? Because you mistyped it.

This is one of the most common reasons why people don’t get invited to interviews or don’t receive feedback. Because they mistyped their mail or phone number. So, always double-check your contact information.

Customize your greeting

You should always try to customize your greetings by starting with “Dear” and calling the hiring person by name. Try as hard as you can to find the name of the person, who is going to read your cover letter. This could mean calling the company, explaining to them that you are applying for one of their positions and asking for the name of the hiring manager.

We know it sounds strange, but believe us, this makes a very good impression.

However, sometimes it is a struggle to find the wanted recruiter and you will need to use more generic greetings, such as “Dear Human Resources Manager” or “Dear Hiring Manager”.

Cover letter checklist – What Items to Include in the Content

Build upon your resume bullet points and provide actual examples

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when writing their cover letter is that they just repeat what they have already said on their resume. Don’t do that. When the hiring manager sees a cover letter, he expects to learn more about you.

Look through your resume and see which points are most valuable as an experience for the position you are applying for. Keep them in mind and add real examples from your work.

Answer the Why question

Why have you chosen this company?

Every company wants to feel special. Believe us, they will find out if you have used your cover letter to apply for 1000 more companies. Show real interest in the position.

If you have some personal story connected to the company, share it. If you do not, explain why you like the organization, show them that you know more than just their name. This small research is useful for you too, because at least you will know what their main products or services are. And yes, there are people who don’t know what the company is doing, when they go to an interview. Please do not be like them, show that you care.

Adapt your cover letter to the job description. Speak about your personal experience and how it relates to the company you’re applying for.

Imagine this situation: The company is looking for somebody, who has worked with customers and remains under control in stressful situations. Tell them an actual example of a situation with a customer, that you have handled.

They want an experienced manager, working with technical projects and you are in this sector? Tell them all of the projects you have managed and have finished successfully.

Speak about your transferable skills if you’re switching careers or you are early on in your job hunting. If you are just starting your after college journey or you are diving into something new, you won’t have a lot of experience to add. That is absolutely okay, write about your experience in school or in the university or even in an unrelated work field. Tell them how you can transfer those skills.

For example, if they are looking for a person with a team spirit, use your experience in group projects in your school or university.

Closing paragraph

Now, you have poured out your soul in your cover letter, it is time to shine for one last time. The key here is to finish on a high note, short and strong.

We all know everyone’s favorite closing sentence “I look forward to hearing from you”. Well, if you use this, it is possible not to hear from them. Don’t be sad, there are plenty of ways you can have a good closure.

“I am really excited to learn more about the position of [name of the position] and demonstrate why I am a great fit for your company.”

“If I’m hired for this job, I’ll exemplify the passion and commitment that helped me grow [name of your old company] business by 30% in just one year”

End with signature, name, and best regards.

A couple of last clicks and the cover letter is ready. It is time to sign it.

Like you did in the opening, you should keep the formal tone and show respect to the person who is going to read your letter. The old golden hits such as “Best regards” and “Best wishes” plus your name will do the work.

How about a Formatting Checklist?

Okay, now you are ready with the content. Now it’s time to make it shiny.

There are a couple of easy steps that are going to make it look professional, and yet not boring.

Business letter format

The best way to format your cover letter is as a business format.

And if you want to make it even better, you can use the same design that you used in your resume. This way they are going to be perfectly connected.

If you are still wondering how to format it best, here you can check out lots of different cover letters. If you are lucky enough, you can even find the perfect one for your wanted position.

Contact information

Make room for your contact information, keep it separated, with higher font-size and color different than black. This catches the attention of the Hiring Manager at the moment they open it.

Because you are drawing attention to your contacts, you should keep in mind to have a professional email address. If your address is something like “sweetgirl10@gmail.com” or “coolboy99@gmail.com” you won’t really have much of a chance.

Margin, font size, and line spacing tips

Let’s face it, your cover letter won’t be very representative if all of the symbols are too close to each other, or if the font size is so small that you have to put glasses on.

There are simple rules that you can follow and you will have a readable letter.

  • Have a single blank line spacing between the paragraphs
  • Line spacing of 1.5 in the paragraphs.
  • Font size could be between 10 and 12 points – it should be readable
  • Align it to the left or Justify
  • Margins could be left at normal (1 inch)

Keep it up to one page.

Imagine this situation: You are a hiring manager and there are 125 applicants for the position. More than half of them have a cover letter. You are going through the pile of resumes and letters and around the hundredth one, you see a letter, which is two pages long. Would you read it?

Most probably no, because you have read a hundredth more before that.

This is part of the life of a Hiring manager, so if you want to be sure that they have read your letter, you should keep it short.

Spelling and Grammar Checklist

Spelling and grammar are some of the most important aspects of your resume and cover letter.

Nobody wants to hire somebody illiterate or lazy, so better look through these tips and make it perfect.

Use language that’s familiar to every reader, only use industry jargon if you’re sure the recruiter will understand the specific terms

Most of the time your application goes through the sharp eyes of a recruiter. However, they are not always familiar with the industry jargon and the twisted words in your work field, so it’s better to keep it simple.

Consistent Capitalization

Check if you start every new sentence with a capital letter. When you are writing on a computer, it will correct it automatically, however, some mistakes may occur.

Correct spelling

Double-check your content, you want to make the best impression. You can use Enhancv’s content analyzer or  Grammarly.

Consistent punctuation to end bullet points and sentences

We talked about consistent capitalization, but it is also important to remember to put periods, question, and exclamation marks in the right places. And don’t forget the semicolons after bullet-points.

You followed all cover letter checklist points

And voilà, you have a consistent and eye-catching cover letter. As you see, cover letters are an important part of your introduction to the company and we are glad that we can help you through this journey.

Keep in mind our cover letter checklist tips and you will increase the return rate of your job applications for sure.

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We hope that the article showed you a new angle of cover letter writing. However, tell us your personal most interesting cover letter experience? Does it follow these tips and tricks?

Kal Dimitrov

Kal has 10 years of experience as a marketer and lecturer in youth leader organisations, with a focus on career and job skills enhancement. He has written and edited over 100 resume creation guides for different jobs. Kal is also a co-founder of a career accelerator hub that helps students and recent graduates excel at job interviews and get the job of their dreams.

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