According to Grammarly, this is the formula for the perfect cover letter

The cover letter is the best shot you have.  Don’t waste any time spotlighting your accomplishments or skills, that’s what your resume is for.

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A great cover letter makes an indelible impression, is composed succinctly, and informs the employer with information not already present in your resume, all at once. This is often a difficult thing to enact, thankfully, our friends over at Grammarly provided Ladders with some helpful ideas to be mindful of when composing a brief and clearly expressed cover letter.

First impressions

If you’ve ever scanned through how-to’s while on the job hunt,  you might have noticed that the importance of singularity features in most aspects of the discussion. Fierce competition demands you stand out in every step of the hiring process, especially in your cover letter.


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The cover letter is the best shot you have at selling your individualism before the one on one interview.  Don’t waste any time spotlighting your accomplishments or skills, that’s what your resume is for. The first couple of lines of your cover letter should be devoted to accenting the personality traits you believe to be congruent with the firm you’re looking to be a part of; that’s why it’s important to open with a short captivating line that will get a recruiter’s attention. Grammarly reports, “It’s not just a Blues Traveler Song, The hook does bring you back.  Consider opening your cover letter with a clever hook — your goal is to keep a hiring manager from clicking auto-delete, so get creative!”

Be direct — express excitement.

Industry keywords

After you’ve decided on a cheeky way to get a firm’s attention, your next job is to keep them reading. The best way to accomplish this as early as possible is to employ a couple of industry keywords. Industry keywords are phrases and words that are relevant to the field/company that you’re addressing. Do a little research, read press statements or bios, find out which words or phrases appear the most often, then use them to your advantage.

This tactic works for tone as well. If the company you’re applying to tends to use a lot of dense-technical languages, maybe steer clear of too many puns and anecdotes.  Grammarly explains, “match their excitement or formality and use any industry keywords to show you’re up-to-date on the things that matter to them.”

Crisp and comprehensive

The first 4,000 pages of War And Peace are perfect, but I will never finish it. Busy people hate reading.

Even if you effectively grab a recruiter’s attention with a line only Groucho’s ghost could write, and you managed to perfectly tie in the company’s mantra with the name of the CEO’s pet dog, if it’s a hair too long, the reader will tap out. It’s important not to give a recruiter any excuse to move on to the next, potentially shorter-I get to go home that much earlier, resume. “Avoid long, wordy sentences that reiterate your resume. If it’s too long, odds are the hiring manager stopped reading. Keep it short and stick to highlighting your strengths and skills,” Grammarly told Ladders.

End intensely

Congratulations, the employer is nearing the end of your cover letter. They laughed, they learned a  little bit, and their ego has been stroked to completion. The last line of your cover letter should mimic the first line, except you have even more reign to get creative. They liked what they saw enough to make it to the end, now you implant your self in their brain to make sure you get a callback.  Grammarly adds, “Jobs want to hire people who are passionate and will bring that passion to the office — let the hiring manager know why you care! ”

Ladders composed a sample cover letter below, based on Grammarly’s helpful tips.


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.