Careers OfficeCareer GuideCV & Cover Letter › Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts

Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts


  • Customise your Cover Letter to the position you are applying for. Take the time to tailor each letter to the company and potential employer to whom you’re writing.  “Generic” letters are easily recognizable to recruiters. If you want to send an effective cover letter then you need to tailor it to each new job for which you apply.
  • Use simple, clear sentences and avoid abbreviations. Choose every word carefully.
  • Refer to the job that you are interested in and how you heard about it.
  • Address your letter to the appropriate contact person, either the employer or a human resources officer. Use their name and title and double-check the spelling.
  • Refer to how your skills, abilities and experience match the company’s needs. Mention how you will be a valuable addition to their team. Tell the employer how you can meet his or her needs and contribute to the company.
  • Provide your name, phone number and address.
  • Keep your letter to one page.
  • Proofread carefully. Errors and misspellings leave a poor impression on the employers.
  • Include a closing statement: Close the Cover Letter by indicating to your potential employer when you intent to follow up on your application
  • Appearance counts. Type or print it out on good quality paper. Always send originals, never send photocopies or corrected versions.
  • Keep copies of your CV and cover letter. They will help you when you follow up later.


  • Do not write to a department or title. It is better to write to a real person with a real title. Address your Cover Letter to the hiring manager, HR professional or recruiter but be sure to spell their name job title and address correctly.
  • Do not send out a letter addressed, “To Whom it may concern.” or “Dear Sir/ Madam”
  • Do not write unrelated career achievements. Customize each Cover Letter to the employer who will receive it. An employer is interested in what you can do for him/her.
  • Do not exaggerate on your experience. Remember that your cover letter should be truthful.
  • Do not forget to give the employer a way to contact you. Do include your phone number or email address or both.
  • Never send handwritten letters. Your cover letter should be typewritten or word processed.
  • Do not include abbreviations. Take time to spell words out.
  • Do not forget to enclose your CV.
  • Do not enclose a photo.
  • Do not send a letter without proofreading it carefully
  • Do not forget to spell check. There's no excuse for grammar or spelling errors.
  • Do not use the pronoun "I" to start every sentence.
  • Don't wait until the last day before a deadline. Send your Cover Letter in advance.