Ask a CM!

Hello everyone!

This week’s question is: What can I do to make my cover letter stand out?

That is a great question! Here are the top 5 tips to make your cover letter stand out from the rest!

1. Focus

Well-written professional document created for a specific company and addressed to a specific person/department/company.

    • If the position description does not have a specific contact person listed, you can contact the employer by phone or email to determine the appropriate person to address the cover letter to.
    • If reaching out is not an option, you can address the cover letter to “Human Resources”, “Search/Hiring/Selection Committee”, etc.
    • Avoid saying “To whom it may concern”. This phrasing shows a lack of effort in determining who to contact.

2. Balance

The document must look good on a page! You can fill the entire page, but don’t overcrowd it.

  • 1 page
  • Recommended font Size: 10-12 pt.
  • Recommended font Styles: Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial

3. Address Position Requirements

When reading the position description pick out the keywords and include them on your cover letter with specific examples of how you have that skill.

  • Identify skills, core attributes, experiences, etc. that show your value to the reader.
  • The cover letter shouldn’t repeat information that is on the resume.
  • The cover letter should be an expansion of what your resume covered.
  • Always connect your skills to the company/organization you are applying too!

4. Strong Closing

  • Express an interest in participating in an interview to discuss your qualifications in greater detail.
  • Make sure you thank the employer as well!

5. Error Free

  • Always double check your cover letter for any grammar or spelling errors. You can ask a friend/family member or the Career and Advising Center to review your cover letter as well!
  • If an employer sees grammar errors on the document, it can send the message that you didn’t take the necessary time and care when preparing your materials.

Click here to check out the NDSU Career and Advising Center cover letter guide. You can fill out our Resume & Cover Letter Review request form to get your documents reviewed!

That concludes this week’s blog. Please write your questions on the lower, right side of the main page of our website!

I will be answering them every Friday. Ask any question you like, no question is too small!

Signing Off,


By Andrea Richard
Andrea Richard Graduate Career Mentor Andrea Richard