The Dos and Don’ts of Cover Letters: A Guide to Making a Splash


Diving into the world of job applications can often feel like navigating the open sea without a compass. Amidst the waves of CVs and resumes, your cover letter is your beacon, guiding potential employers to your shores. But beware, sailor! There are treacherous waters and mythical creatures out there. Fear not, for this guide will help you chart a course through the Dos and Don’ts of cover letters, ensuring your journey is both successful and enjoyable.

The Dos: Your Treasure Map to Success

  • Do Tailor Your Message: Like a message in a bottle, your cover letter should be crafted specifically for the person who finds it. Research the company and position, and tailor your letter to highlight how your skills and experiences align with their needs. Remember, one size does not fit all in the land of cover letters.
  • Do Start with a Bang: The opening line of your cover letter is your hook. Forget “I am writing to apply for X position.” Yawn. Be bold! Start with a compelling anecdote or an impressive achievement to grab attention like a pirate spotting a treasure chest on the horizon.
  • Do Show, Don’t Tell: Instead of simply stating you’re a “hard worker” or a “team player,” illustrate these qualities with concise, vivid examples. Paint a picture of that time you led your crew through a stormy project or dug up the treasure of a major client win.
  • Do Keep It Brief and Sweet: A cover letter should not be a novel. Keep it to one page, like a treasure map that leads straight to the X. Your goal is to intrigue and entice, leaving them wanting more.
  • Do End with a Call to Adventure: Conclude your letter by expressing your eagerness to discuss how you can contribute to their team. It’s like asking them to join you on a quest for gold.

The Don’ts: Navigating Through Stormy Seas

  • Don’t Rehash Your CV: Your cover letter is not a lifeboat tied to your CV; it’s your flagship. Use it to tell the story behind the bullet points on your CV, not to repeat them. Highlight experiences and achievements that provide depth to your application.
  • Don’t Be a Ghost Ship: Address your letter to a specific person whenever possible. “To Whom It May Concern” is a foggy, impersonal approach. If the job listing doesn’t include a contact name, a little sleuthing on LinkedIn or the company website can usually uncover the treasure you seek.
  • Don’t Get Caught in the Sargasso Sea of Typos: Just as a ship can become trapped in seaweed, a single typo can ensnare your application in the rejection pile. Proofread meticulously. Better yet, have a matey review it for you.
  • Don’t Be a Braggart: While it’s important to highlight your achievements, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Remember, there’s no “I” in “crew.” Showcase how you’ve worked as part of a team and contributed to collective successes.
  • Don’t End on a Sinking Note: Avoid phrases like “I hope to hear from you” or “If you find me suitable.” End with confidence! Assert that you look forward to discussing how you can add value to their team, as sure as the compass points north.

Charting Your Course

Writing a cover letter can be an adventure in itself, a chance to tell your story and why you’re the right matey for the job. Think of it as setting sail towards your next great adventure. With each letter, you’re not just seeking any port in a storm; you’re searching for the place where you’ll make your mark, discover new horizons, and perhaps find a bit of treasure along the way.

So, there you have it, brave navigator. The Dos and Don’ts of crafting cover letters. Keep these guidelines as your compass, and you’ll be sure to make waves. Remember, the goal is not just to land an interview; it’s to embark on a journey that leads to a fulfilling career. So hoist the sails, set your course, and let your cover letter be the wind that guides you to new opportunities. Here’s to smooth sailing ahead!

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