Your CV is as smooth as can be. Your LinkedIn page kills it. You’re ready for the interview. But wait! One last thing to submit, that annoying cover letter.

It could be tempting to just grab a template online. But you should think twice, because according to recruiters, cover letters are a point where a lot of applicants fail to show their worth.

Luckily, we spoke to hiring and recruiting experts about their 5 best tips for writing a cover letter that will help you stand out from the crowd.

#1 Don’t Skim-Read the Application

Do you remember the story about Van Halen’s rider? The one where he specifically asked not to get brown M&M’s backstage? It’s not just rock’n’roll hubris. There is actually a good reason for that: to make sure people had read his demands.

Well, recruiters use the same technique. They carefully place “easter eggs” in their applications to filter out those who read it too quickly. So make sure you study the whole thing and answer ALL of their questions, even if some of them seem absurd!


# 2 Show You’ve Done Your Homework

Recruiters go through hundreds of applications everyday. So it’s very easy for them to spot when people use templates. Anything vague or slightly irrelevant will get your application thrown into the “no way” pile.

Which is why it’s important to show you know and understand the company. Do a bit of online research and make sure your cover letter reflects the values and ideals of the job you are applying for.


# 3 Connect Your Resume’s Dots

There is one good reason recruiters ask for a cover letter on top of a resume. It’s because the latter does not clearly tell the story of who you are as an individual.

Unless recruiters can clearly see you’ve been working at the same company for 10 years and gradually climbing up the corporate ladder, your cover letter is a great opportunity to highlight some of the decisions that made you switch job. Or if there’s a big gap in your employment history, don’t hesitate to confirm that you took some time off, and explain why.


# 4 Act Like You’ve Got The Job

Too many cover letters spend a huge amount of time talking about why the candidate should get the job. But according to a recruiting expert, the best cover letter he ever got actually listed what the candidate would do as soon as he would start!

This is a great tip to follow if you have a clear idea of your goals and objectives. It presents you as a professional, driven, and dedicated individual, one recruiters will surely pick for an interview.


#5 Add Some Personality Into It

Even if you follow all the points above, a cover letter could still make you sound like a robot. Remember that recruiters and HR people are humans too! They enjoy a story as much as the next person.

We know this one is difficult, but try to add a little bit of personality into your cover letter. You don’t have to be Hemingway to add a line or two that really reflects your personality and presents you as likeable to the person who will hire you.