Congrats, you did all the hard work that comes with writing the ultimate cover letter!
You included all your relevant experience, you added a creative and eye-catching introduction, and you ended on a great note. (Or, at least I hope you did all these things.) You’re so close to pressing “send” and getting one step closer to that dream job.
But—you probably know where I’m going with this—before you declare you’re completely and utterly done, you have to give it one more edit.
Not sure what you should keep an eye out for while double checking your work? Everything you need to think about is below:
1. The Hiring Manager’s Name
First off, are you addressing your cover letter to the right person? Notice how I said person here, not “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” You should always do your best to find the name of the hiring manager so that your cover letter is personalized, shows you did your research, and proves to the reader it’s not a copy-and-paste job you send to everyone.
Then, check the spelling, as well as their title. According to career expert Lily Zhang, when in doubt of “Ms.” vs. “Mrs.” vs. “Dr.”, it’s better to just drop the title.
2. The Company’s Name
Similarly, this is crucial to check, especially if your mind (and computer) is jam-packed with various company names. Not only should you question if it’s the right name, but also is it spelled correctly? Do you include the full name (for example, is there an “Inc.” at the end)? The more considerate you are of their reputation, the more likely they’ll read on.
3. Your Contact Information
How horrible would it be if your cover letter was absolutely error-free, except the hiring manager couldn’t reach you?
Pretty horrible, I’d imagine.
Stop this from even being a possibility by making sure your address, phone number, email, or any other form of communication is included and correct.
Now, I’m going to hope you don’t use the exact same cover letter for every job you apply to, right?
Vigorously shakes head.
Good—but if you did use older ones as a template, you may want to check that the dates included are accurate. For example, if the letter is a year old, would you now be working in marketing for “the past two years,” not “the past year.”
And, don’t forget about the formal date in the upper corner! If you wrote it last week, make sure the date is the same as the day you actually submit it.
Does the application box have a character limit? Or, will it get cut off after a certain length? Best to be safe and copy and paste your work into Wordcounter.net and see how you’re doing.
And, if you find it’s too long after all, we have just the tips to cut it down without losing the important stuff.
DOES YOUR COVER LETTER CHECK ALL THESE BOXES?
Great! Now get out there and land some interviews.
It would be nice if everyone used the exact same program, brand of computer, and font as you, but this just isn’t the case. Which means there’s always a possibility that that pretty and neat cover letter on your PC won’t look so pretty and neat on the hiring manager’s Mac.
To avoid this, simply download it as a PDF to “freeze” it in its place (and make it easy for anyone to open without Microsoft Word) and check that it looks good on two different computers or phones.
7. Basic Spelling and Grammar
Let’s face it, spellcheck has let us down before, and it could do it again. So, print it out (seriously, print it out, don’t just say you will and do it on your computer) and give it one more proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes.
For example, is it “your” or “you’re”? Did you mean “affect” or “effect”? (Hint: one’s a verb, one’s a noun). Do you consistently use oxford commas? Even the tiniest mistake could turn a busy hiring manager away from reading on—especially if the job you’re applying to requires “good communication skills.”
OK—we promise you’re done now. Good luck!
Photo of person on computer courtesy of JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author