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Advice / Job Search / Cover Letters

A Quick Way to Tell How Your Cover Letter Sounds to Others

When it comes to editing your own work, Microsoft Word is great for some things—checking your spelling, pointing out punctuation errors, alerting you when “there” should be “their.” But wouldn’t it be great if it could also tell you when your writing be stronger, shorter, or just, well, less sucky?

For those oh-so-important documents—your resume, your cover letter, a memo to your boss—that’s exactly where Hemingway comes in.

Drop your text onto the page (or use the desktop version), and the color-coded app will give your writing a once-over. Is a sentence too wordy, overly complex, or totally unreadable? It’ll be highlighted in red until you revise it. Tend to overuse the passive voice? Every instance of it will show up in green. The site will even recommend when you can use shorter or simpler words (Why take up precious resume space with “utilize” when you can say “use?”).

Best of all, the app will give your writing a “readability” grade, based on the lowest level of education you’d need to understand the text (Hemingway recommends “less than 10 for bold, clear writing,” which is pretty much what you want when it comes to your job applications).

Basically, it’s the closest you’ll come to having a real-life person tell you when you’re droning on and on or your GRE vocabulary flash cards have gotten the best of you. (For the record, we still recommend having some real eyes on it, but this’ll make sure the draft you send them is as squeaky clean as possible.)