When it comes to job applications, one of the most important components is your cover letter. Your cover letter serves as a first impression on the hiring manager, and also acts as a sales pitch for why you should be interviewed that is then supported by your resume. But, writing a cover letter can be challenging! Here are some tips for creating an engaging cover letter:

Make it Personal

Try your best to avoid addressing your cover letter, “To Whom it May Concern,” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” If you can, address your cover letter to the hiring manager directly, or the head of the department or team the job resides in.

Your cover letter should be tailored to each job you apply for, and the more specific the better. Most hiring managers can tell when applicants have just copy and pasted their cover letter from one job to the next, and it can come across as impersonal. Use keywords from the job application within your cover letter as you discuss why you feel you’re the right fit for the role, and tailor the tone of your writing accordingly.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Most hiring managers don’t have time to read through a multi-page cover letter. Keep your cover letter to a single page, and try to stick to between 300-500 words. Additionally, keep your writing simple; your cover letter should be upbeat and conversational while also sticking to everyday language, so you can increase your chances of getting an interview.

Showcase Accomplishments and Expand on Your Resume

Now is the time to back up your sales pitch with evidence that you’re the right fit for the role. Take this as an opportunity to showcase how past responsibilities make you the perfect candidate and provide the reader with brief anecdotes. If possible, quantify your accomplishments; having the data to back up your statements can make a world of difference in a strong cover letter and help you expand on what your resume already shows.

At the end of the day, the purpose of your cover letter is to clearly express to the hiring manager how you are the ideal candidate for the role. Be confident in what you can bring to the table, and don’t be afraid to showcase things about your resume that you’re proud of!