Want a Better Cover Letter? Avoid These Extremes

Your cover letter is a first impression that should be as memorable as an elevator pitch, as brief as a one-page resume, and as effective as an interview in showing why you’re the right candidate to move forward in the hiring process.

Oh yeah, and it’s all in writing.

That’s because your cover letter is used to judge not only your qualifications, but also your communication skills. This may sound overwhelming, but here’s the good news: If you write an excellent cover letter, you will stand out from the pack.

So, what do the very best cover letters have in common? They strike the right balance. Meaning: They say enough, but they’re not too long; they’re memorable, but not too personal; they show how awesome you are, but they don’t brag.

To make sure you walk the perfect line, try this approach. First, write the best cover letter you can—down to proofreading and spell-checking—or dig up the last one you wrote for review. (Trust me, having something to work with is way easier than staring at a blank page and thinking about balance). Then, review the letter and see where it falls on the spectrum for each of the points below—and adjust accordingly.

See the rest of my lastest Daily Muse post here.