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If you’re applying for a job, you still need a good résumé. And if you really want to stand out, you’ll want to throw in a well-crafted cover letter as well.

While the resume covers the nuts and bolts of our career journey, the cover letter is where you can get a little creative. It’s where you make your case for why you will excel at the job in ways that can’t be quantified in clipped bullet points.

Our recruiters at Southwest Search share their top 3 things to avoid when crafting the perfect cover letter.

1. Never use a canned cover letter

Every job is different, which means your cover letter should be distinct.

A strong cover letter can be especially valuable when applying for roles that aren’t obvious next steps in your career journey. It can also be a way to artfully discuss leadership activities, volunteer experience, and jobs you wouldn’t think are related to the gig at hand but could provide some context about who you are as an individual and your passions.

A good place to start your cover letter is to ask yourself, “What is it about the company that makes you excited about the role?” Pinpoint that piece of the pie, and find a personal way to describe it along with other reasons you might be a great fit for that particular organization.


2. Don’t Just Repeat Your Resume

Don’t waste your opportunity to add new details to your application that are not on your resume. The most important thing you can do in your cover letter is to lay out the evidence for why you would excel at the job. Remember to be illustrative where the résumé is demonstrative.


3.Don’t Skip the Details or Your Personality

What actually stands out in a good cover letter is deep attention to detail. Try customizing the tone of your cover letter to the organization. If it’s an investment bank, for instance, keep it buttoned up and straightforward. But if it’s a fun, young start-up, you can be a little more jovial.



Whether you are looking for a new job or want to make a career change, our team at Southwest Search has over 20+ years of experience to help you no matter where you are in your career. Learn more about Southwest Search and contact us today to help you find your dream job!

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