To many recruiters and HR professionals, most job seekers are perplexed by cover letters. According to one post on social media by a top recruiter, people don’t know how to write them. The problem is that most cover letters are simply repeating what is on an applicant’s resume. To make your cover letter stand out, you need to highlight your personality. Help the hiring manager or staffing team know who you are and what you bring to the company. Below are some tips we’ve found to help you.

Personalize the salutation. Do your best to find the name of the recruiter or hiring manager. Check the company website, LinkedIn, an email, job posting, job description, or a contact. Using a name in the salutation of your letter shows that you cared enough to find out the person you are addressing. It may be difficult and time-consuming to find a name (especially in large companies) so, if you can’t find a name after reasonable effort, use an opening such as “Dear Hiring Team”. This wording comes across as warmer and friendlier than “Dear Sir or Madame” or “To Whom It May Concern”.

Present the real you. Although there will be some degree of formality, write your cover letter in the same tone you would use when speaking with a co-worker. Try not to make it so formal that you don’t sound human. Leave out the jargon and fancy words and just communicate as you would at work. You’ll seem accessible and approachable, and someone a potential hiring manager would want on the team.

Next week, we’ll have more tips for creating a well-written and memorable cover letter.

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