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How to write a cover letter: Do's and don’ts

Let’s say you’ve already looked into writing a cover letter. You understand how to start a cover letter, how to format it, more or less what to include in a cover letter, and how to end a cover letter. You have plenty of tips and examples. You even have a professional email address to send it from.

Now you need a quick guide to dos and don’ts so you have a checklist you can look at to ensure you tick off all the right boxes and don’t make mistakes.

This is exactly what we have here: 10 dos and 10 don’ts that can help you on your way to crafting the perfect cover letter.


  1. Customize Each Cover Letter: Tailor your cover letter to the specific job and company you're applying to, highlighting relevant experiences and skills.

  2. Address it to the Right Person: Whenever possible, address your cover letter to the hiring manager or recruiter by name to add a personal touch.

  3. Highlight Achievements: Use specific examples to highlight your achievements and contributions in previous roles, demonstrating your value to potential employers.

  4. Research the Company: Familiarize yourself with the company's mission, values, and culture, and incorporate relevant information into your cover letter to show your interest and fit.

  5. Proofread Carefully: Thoroughly proofread your cover letter for typos, grammatical errors, and clarity before submitting it, ensuring a polished and professional final product.

  6. Keep it Concise: Aim for a cover letter that is clear, concise, and focused on the most relevant information, typically no longer than one page.

  7. Show Enthusiasm: Express genuine enthusiasm and interest in the job opportunity and company, demonstrating your passion for the role and industry.

  8. Follow Instructions: Adhere to any specific instructions provided in the job posting regarding format, submission method, or additional documents required.

  9. Use a Professional Tone: Maintain a professional tone throughout your cover letter, avoiding slang, jargon, or overly casual language.

  10. End with a Call to Action: Close your cover letter with a call to action, expressing your eagerness for an interview and inviting further discussion.


  1. Use a Generic Template: Avoid using generic cover letter templates that lack personalization and fail to address the specific requirements of the job or company.

  2. Focus Solely on Yourself: While it's important to highlight your qualifications, avoid solely focusing on yourself. Instead, emphasize how you can contribute to the company's success.

  3. Exaggerate or Lie: Be truthful and honest in your cover letter, avoiding any exaggerations or false claims about your qualifications or experiences.

  4. Rehash Your Resume: Your cover letter should complement your resume, not duplicate it. Avoid simply restating information from your resume and instead provide additional context and insights.

  5. Include Irrelevant Information: Keep your cover letter focused on the job at hand and avoid including irrelevant details or experiences that do not directly relate to the position.

  6. Use a Casual Tone: While you want to convey enthusiasm, avoid using overly casual language or slang in your cover letter, as it may come across as unprofessional.

  7. Forget to Proofread: Neglecting to proofread your cover letter can result in embarrassing errors that detract from your professionalism and attention to detail.

  8. Send Without Researching: Take the time to research the company and job position before writing your cover letter. Failing to do so may result in a generic and ineffective application.

  9. Be Negative: Maintain a positive and optimistic tone throughout your cover letter, avoiding any negative comments about previous employers or experiences.

  10. Leave Out Contact Information: Ensure your contact information is included in your cover letter, making it easy for potential employers to reach out to you for further discussion.


How do I write a good cover letter?

Write a good cover letter by customizing it to the job, highlighting achievements, addressing the hiring manager, and keeping it concise yet informative.

Where can I find resume cover letter examples?

You can find resume cover letter examples in all kinds of job related sites, blogs, and books. You can also check our guide on how to write a cover letter, which includes cover letter examples.

How can I get a free cover letter template?

If you want a template that sets up the format so you can just start filling it out, you can use programs like Microsoft Word and Google Docs, which have in-built cover letter templates.

Should I use a cover letter generator?

Using a cover letter generator can be helpful for formatting and structuring, but personalize the content to make it specific to the job and avoid writing a cover letter that sounds generic.

Can I use ChatGPT for a cover letter?

Yes, but you should understand how to use it. You can use ChatGPT to generate ideas, review drafts, and get feedback on your cover letter content. You shouldn’t actually write the cover letter using ChatGPT though, as it won’t sound like you and perhaps not even totally human.

Can I save a cover letter template in Google Docs?

Yes, you can save a cover letter template in Google Docs by creating a document, formatting it as desired, and then saving it to your Google Drive for future use.

Updated: April 23, 2024 at 2:25 PM

Published: April 2, 2024 at 4:58 PM