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  3. Cover letter checklist: our ultimate guide with tips
Cover letter checklist: our ultimate guide with tips

Cover letter checklist: our ultimate guide with tips

Artwork by: Lizabeth Zaft

  • How to structure a cover letter
  • What is most important in a cover letter?
  • What to check before sending your cover letter
  • 1. White space
  • 2. Contact information
  • 3. Introduction
  • 4. Cut out the filler
  • 5. Show your qualifications
  • 6. Application instructions
  • 7. Keywords
  • 8. Cover letter style
  • 9. Call to action
  • 10. Spelling and grammar
  • Key takeaways

Making a great first impression on a potential employer starts with your cover letter. In this article, we will share a cover letter checklist to ensure your letter will give a hiring manager the best impression of you.

Before you submit a cover letter to a potential employer, you must ensure it puts your qualifications in the best light possible.  With this cover letter checklist, we will teach you all the things you need to look over before sending your cover letter to a potential employer.

Here are some of the things we will cover:

  • How to structure a cover letter

  • What is most important in a cover letter?

  • What to check before sending your cover letter

How to structure a cover letter

The first thing you will want to check before sending your cover letter to a hiring manager is its structure. Every cover letter should include the following sections:

  • A header that includes your contact information

  • A salutation/greeting

  • A brief introduction that present you as a candidate

  • The body of your letter with specific achievements

  • A conclusion and signature

What is most important in a cover letter?

The body is the most important section of a cover letter because this is where you will share highlights of your career and hopefully entice a hiring manager to review your resume. In this section, be sure to highlight a few of your most attractive achievements that relate closely to the position you want.

What to check before sending your cover letter

After you have written your cover letter, there are several things you should check before you send the letter. Use the following checklist to make sure your cover letter is the best it can be:

1. White space

The white space in your letter includes line and letter spacing, as well as the margins. You need a good mix of white space and non-white space because too much of either can be distracting and/or make the text difficult to read.

Expert Tip

Breaking your paragraphs up into smaller sections and using bullet points to highlight especially important achievements are two great ways to ensure you are adding enough white space to your cover letter.

2. Contact information

During your final cover letter review, you should double-check that you have spelled your contact’s name correctly and that the contact information is correct.

3. Introduction

The goal of your introduction should be to catch the attention of a hiring manager. Before sending your cover letter, review your introduction separately to ensure there isn’t a way you can improve it to present yourself as a viable job candidate.

4. Cut out the filler

You should be focusing on writing a cover letter that gets your point across quickly and efficiently. You won’t have a lot of time to catch the attention of a hiring manager, so remember to use words that are impactful. Cut out anything that isn’t necessary for getting an interview.

5. Show your qualifications

 Customize your letter in relation to the position you’re pursuing so that you stand out as an applicant. This includes highlighting skills and achievements that make you a great fit for the job.

6. Application instructions

Many job listings have specific instructions regarding information you should include in your cover letter, such as a link to a portfolio, your LinkedIn profile name, and references. Review the instructions to ensure you haven’t left anything out.

7. Keywords

Pull keywords from the job ad that apply to your work history and use them throughout the cover letter. Keywords help ensure a hiring manager knows you have the qualifications listed in the job ad.

8. Cover letter style

You should avoid using fonts, colors, and letter sizes that are distracting. Typically, it’s best to stick with 10 to 12-point font sizes, black colors, and common fonts, such as Arial or Times New Roman. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a letter format that isn’t compatible with a hiring manager’s system.

9. Call to action

Just before you add your signature to your cover letter, you will need to add a conclusion. The most important thing to include in your conclusion is a strong call to action that encourages a hiring manager to continue on to your resume and then reach out to schedule an interview. During your cover letter review, make sure your call to action is enticing enough to catch a recruiter’s attention.

10. Spelling and grammar

The final step in the cover letter checklist is reviewing your spelling and grammar. This should be the final thing you do before you decide it’s time to send your cover letter to a hiring manager.

We want to make the process of writing a cover letter as simple and easy as possible. Be sure to stop by our services page to learn all about our cover letter builder, which can help you craft the perfect cover letter.

Key takeaways

  1. A cover letter is your introduction to potential employers, so it should be structured properly and easy to read.

  2. The most important portion of your cover letter is the body because you can use it to showcase your skills and achievements.

  3. Along with checking your grammar and spelling, you should review the instructions included in the job listing, as well as your closing call to action.

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