cover letterWhile there’s always some argument about whether or not prospective employers actually bother to read cover letters, no one seems to dispute the fact that you need one anyway.

Since cover letters are often your first impression, they must be flawless.

There are several common mistakes that are easy to make on your cover letter. However, you can avoid these errors if you know what they are! We’re going to look at nine quick tips that can improve your cover letter. When evaluating these tips, always consider things from the perspective of the employer.

Use these tips to make your cover letter shine:

1. Spelling and grammar are critical. Your spelling and grammar should be spot on. Use the spelling and grammar function on your word processor.

* This is one of those items that is easily fixed and will help you tremendously. Companies view these types of errors very negatively, so take an extra two minutes and get it right.

2. Show you have a long term interest. Hiring and training a new employee is expensive, so companies need to believe that you’re in it for the long haul.

3. Stay local if you can. Unless the position pays quite well, companies prefer local applicants. There are no moving and travel expenses, and they can be sure that you’re comfortable with the area and won’t jump ship for geographical reasons.

4. Avoid vagueness. Companies are almost always looking for someone to perform specific tasks and manage specific responsibilities. Be clear about what you’re looking for and what you have to contribute.

5. Be unique. After a while, all applicants and cover letters start to look the same. But if you put considerably more time into your cover letter, it will stand out compared to all the others. Like you mom probably said, “Be you.”

6. Be 100% professional. Was your last boss a jerk? Was your last employer cheap? Those things might be true, but it looks bad if you mention them. If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself.

7. Show some personality. It makes employers feel better about you if they can get some sense of who you are on a more personal level. Cover letters frequently make the applicant appear to be a hard-working robot. And who wants to work closely with a robot? Remember to be professional, but show some personality in your cover letter.

8. Come from a position of strength. The employer is only interested in what you can do for them and how you fit into the company culture. Focus on your strengths and skills and show them what you can do for them.

9. Be reasonable. Commonly, applicants apply for positions that are either way beyond or way beneath their experience. In the first case, the employer will never believe you can perform the job adequately. In the second case, the employer won’t trust that you’ll stay. Stretch yourself, but be reasonable in your aspirations.

Cover letters are a necessary part of any professional job search. In conclusion, always present yourself as a professional and keep the perspective of the employer in the front of your mind. Hiring managers are always looking for someone that can competently perform the job, fit into the corporate environment, and show a reasonable amount of loyalty.

Get these things across in your cover letter and you’ll have that new job before you know it!