"If you think business and manners don’t mix, try talking with your mouth full.” - Diane Gottsman, Modern Manners & Etiquette Expert, Author, Media Resource

How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

March 9th, 2017 by

Dear Diane,

I am interviewing for a new job and am finding it difficult to write a cover letter without it sounding self-impressed or boastful. I know a good letter is a way to introduce myself and appeal to the employer.

How do I get my point across in a clear and concise way?

Jen P.


Dear Jen,

I understand that you want to find the right balance when it comes to writing your cover letter. It is often the first thing a potential employer sees and a vital tool to your success. It should even help you to get a foot in the door.

Here are some etiquette tips for writing an effective cover letter.

Go the extra mile

Research the hire manager’s name and use it in the cover letter. Personalizing your introduction is a good first step in making a positive initial impression. Avoid generic terms such as “Dear Ma’am/Sir” or “To Whom It May Concern.”

Promote Yourself in the Cover Letter

It is perfectly acceptable to mention your accomplishments. A personal website or specific statistics can also be included to highlight your skills. Use your previous experiences to show that you are a good communicator and a corporate fit. Make sure you are accenting your strengths and not re-hashing your resume.

Pay Attention to Details

Avoid spelling and grammatical errors in your cover letter at all cost. It is important to set the right tone and you don’t want it to be riddled with mistakes. Get a second set of eyes to review it. Hire a professional to assess your letter if you want additional assistance. The expense could pay off.

The letter should be no longer than one page and have a call to action. Don’t be afraid to request an interview. Make sure you provide updated contact information. It’s surprising how many candidates overlook this important detail.

The Perfect Match

Use this opportunity to get across how your skills will benefit the company. Emphasize your strong work ethic and your ability to work both independently, as well as on a team.  Social skills are an important key to success so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.

Show Enthusiasm

Let your potential employer know just how much you enjoy your field of work. The saying “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” rings true.

Categories: Ask the Etiquette Expert