Score Your Next Job Interview With These Must-Use Cover Letter Tips

So, let me guess, you’re a recent college grad with a liberal arts degree, living it up, and distracting yourself (unsuccessfully) from the thought of ‘real life’ looming right around the corner? Well, take a break from watching the latest “Girls” episode and pretending to apply for jobs online, heed this most important of cover letter tips: know exactly who you are applying to.


1. Double check your cover letter

Make sure your cover letter to Google doesn’t start with “Dear Facebook Hiring Manager… ” Once, when recruiting for tutors for Magoosh, I received a cover letter that was addressed to a different company. Double checking your cover letter may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but make sure to do it nevertheless! Mistakes like the one I described are careless, unprofessional, and certainly do not make a good first impression.

2. Write to the specific person who will be reading the application

I’ve received cover letters addressed to “Magoosh’s California Branch Recruiting Manager.” While this may not be a big faux pas, it shows that these applicants clearly did not do their research about our company. As a result, their cover letter seem generic and not very thoughtful (background: we have fewer than 20 people and only one hiring manager–myself). On the same note, if you can call or check out the company’s website and find out exactly who will be reading your resume, that’s even better.

3. Adjust your tone accordingly

Are you applying to a driven, bootstrapped startup? A diverse corporation? A fun-loving non-profit? Make sure your tone of voice is appropriate for the particular company you are applying to. If asked “What makes you unique?” your answer should account for that company’s particular culture and values. Don’t respond with a haiku if the company values formality.

4. Get to know them like you are starting to date them

Look them up on Facebook! Check out their Instagram! What matters to them? Who are they really? As a recruiter, when I’m doing a phone interview and ask the inevitable question, “So, why do you want to work for Magoosh?” I’m more likely to be impressed when people give responses that show they’ve read up on our company. So when you’re applying for a job, read about the company values, mission, and team. Talk about what you have that aligns with these values. Why would you work well with the company? Why are your goals in line with their mission? As a company, why would they want to be in a relationship with you? Why should they give you a chance?

From the perspective of a hiring manager who has read through many, many resumes and cover letters, these are some things you can do to effectively target your application to your employer and stand out from the rest of the applications. They may seem like small things, but they are important.



About the Author

Amrita Kulkarni is the Office and Operations Manager at Magoosh, responsible for all things people operations, such as hiring, onboarding, team culture, and making Magooshers happy.

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