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Being Lazy with Your Cover Letter Will Cost You

Applying for a job involves submitting dozens of applications. It can be tempting to copy and paste, but sending a bad cover letter is worse than not applying at all. Here’s a quick checklist of things to update every time you apply:

  1. Date. Being sloppy with small details communicates a lack of professionalism. All the work you put into the rest of your cover letter will be in vain if an immediate error disqualifies you.

  2. Addressee. This applies not only to the address and salutation, but all references to a company throughout the body of your letter.

  3. Skills. You should highlight skills that are relevant to the position. Use the job-posting as your guide. Many organizations use talent-management software to screen applications. Failure to include relevant keywords could mean a human never even sees it.

  4. Outcomes. What is the employer hoping this position will accomplish? Demonstrate your value by showing how you’ve delivered results in your career.

  5. Values. Your cover letter should never be a complete rehashing of your résumé. Central to its goal is showing your personality and how you’re a good fit for the company culture.