How to write a perfect cover letter, according to experts

Making a cover letter that complements your resume can be a challenging task.

But, when it’s done right, it can potentially land you a job interview with a dream employer.

Here are seven cover letter writing tips that’ll grab a hiring manager’s attention, according to career experts.

Be concise, but have a story ready

Just like a resume, cover letters shouldn’t be too long. Recruiters read dozens or even hundreds of cover letters per day, so a lengthy document could appear daunting.

“Anything that’s too wordy will be ignored,” she said.

At the same time, Wheatman said it’s important for job candidates to convey a relatable account.

“Humans are storytellers, so use this method of communication to connect with your reader,” Wheatman said. “Tell the hiring manager something that he or she wouldn’t know about you simply by reading your resume.”

She continued, “An effective cover letter sells you, but its focus is not on you. Instead, it’s on the current business needs of your audience, so align your letter with those.”

Customization is a must
Cover letter templates can help you get started, but the actual cover letter you submit to an employer shouldn’t be a carbon copy.

Margaret Buj, a multi-region senior talent partner at Mixmax, a sales engagement platform in San Francisco, told FOX Business that cover letters need to show “at a glance” how suitable job candidates are for a role.

“Recruiters view job seekers who send out generic cover letters as unmotivated and out of touch – so if you don’t take the time to customize your letters, you might as well not bother sending them,” Buj said.

If a job candidate needs help figuring out what to write, Buj recommends making a side-by-side list of a job description’s mandatory requirements and any professional accomplishments you’ve achieved, which should help you when writing the actual cover letter.

“You need to make sure you connect your qualifications to the job requirements for your target job in your letter,” Buj said.

Figure out your cover letter structure
As with any other piece of writing, having an outline will always help the writer find their structure.

Luckily, cover letters have a relatively easy format, according to Joseph Liu, host of the Career Relaunch podcast – an international career advice podcast that’s based in London.

“There are three major parts to any cover letter: Why them, why you and next steps,” Liu told FOX Business.

“Use the first paragraph to articulate what this specific role and company is appealing,” he continued. “Use the second paragraph to convey your enthusiasm and capture at least three relevant skills and experiences that position you well for the role.

Liu concluded, “Use the final paragraph of the cover letter to recap why you’re a good fit and request an opportunity to interview for the role.”

Research company challenges
Job candidates can usually up their chances of being called in for an interview if they can demonstrate that they’re capable of solving everyday work challenges.

“I recommend that people research the company and the role they are applying for,” said Renee Small, a cybersecurity super recruiter at Cyber Human Capital – a Virginia-based cybersecurity talent recruitment firm.

“If they know of contacts on LinkedIn, or other networks, that have some insight into the role, that’s helpful,” Small told FOX Business. “They will want to find out the challenges that the company is having. The person will want to present themselves as the solution to the hiring manager’s problem.”

Small noted that job candidates can mention in their cover letter any solutions they’ve provided a past employer to support their capability claims.

“The hiring manager will definitely take note and may be excited to meet the candidate,” Small said.

Show that you understand the job
Aside from demonstrating potential knowledge of company challenges, a cover letter is a perfect place to show you know exactly what a position entails along with the organization’s overarching mission.

“It needs to be clear for the reviewer that you are clear on what you would be expected to do and how your skills would fit,” said Thomas Roulet, an associate professor at the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School in England.

Roulet added, “Understanding what a job entails [can be] extremely difficult for an outsider, so having information from an insider or having an excellent knowledge of what a job entails makes a huge difference because it makes recruiters feel understood.”

Make yourself unforgettable
A good cover letter should always leave a positive impression on the reader.

Bianca Riemer, finance director at the International Coaching Federation UK, told FOX Business that she thinks job candidates should leave memorable tidbits in their cover letters.

“A simple but effective way to stand out is to make yourself unforgettable,” Riemer said. “One example to do this is to mention somebody you know in the company.”

“[Or you can mention] a positive experience you’ve had with the company’s service or product or write how something you’ve read in the news really resonated with you,” she continued. “Make sure you are specific.”

Use keywords
Whether your cover letter is being read by software or a human, using keywords that are related to a job role will likely raise a positive flag for the reviewer.

Baruch Labunski, the CEO of Rank Secure, a Toronto-based digital analytics firm, told FOX Business that job seekers can pull keywords from job advertisements or descriptions.

“Insert them naturally according to your experience into the cover letter,” Labunski said. “For instance, a description may state that you will coordinate a staff of three. Put in the letter that you have coordinated a small volunteer group of three to five people if that is something you’ve done.”