5 top cover letter tips that will make you stand out from the crowd

A person is sitting with one hand on their computer. There is an overlay with a handwritten note.

The starting point in the job application process is always a strong CV and an engaging cover letter.

While the CV lists your work experience and skills, the cover letter is your chance to showcase your personality and stand out in the talent pool. Even if you have a LinkedIn profile, you should still have a strong cover letter whether applying through LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster or the many job posting platforms.

Writing a cover letter that highlights your personality, your skills and why you are a good fit for the role is a crucial part of the process. A strong cover letter compliments and adds context to your past work experience and achievements. The cover letter isn’t just a mundane part of the job application journey, it is the first chance to make an impression. 

With so much information online about what makes a strong cover letter, how do you know what makes a cover letter stand out from other candidates? 

5 cover letter tips from PinkNews’ recruiter

We’ve reached out to our own recruitment expert, Izzy Francke, Talent Acquisition Manager here at PinkNews, for tips on creating a cover letter that can give a glimpse into your personality, skills and why you’re the perfect fit for the job.

Izzy Francke smiles for the camera.
PinkNews’ own Talent Acquisition Manager Izzy Francke shares her tips on how to make your cover letter stand out. (Izzy Francke)

Have a strong opening hook that evokes an emotional response

Doing some research and personalising your cover letter to the hiring manager is a good start, and you can expand on this by including a personal anecdote and how this relates to your passion for this role. Don’t be afraid to “fan out” and have details of why the position excited you, something you read that intrigued you about the company and why, or your passion for the general mission or industry that this company is a part of. 

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Tell me something that isn’t on your CV! 

I love to see that you considered the cover letter its own distinct entity separate from your CV. Maybe you can elaborate on a passion project you were involved in and how those skills relate directly to what’s needed in this role. 

Make it more personal 

Recruiters and hiring managers sift through a lot of applicants! It’s always great when someone shares a personal tie they feel towards the role or something witty. It is an easy way to show some personality during the application process. Be sure to include real evidence of your skills too, but don’t be afraid to add some personality!

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Include proof of how your skills and experience relates to the role 

Tailor your cover letter to the company and the role. It does require extra work for you, but it shows that you are excited about the opportunity. Read through the job description and mirror the language used there. Cite a few key points with direct examples of how your experience lines up. If you were previously in a different type of role, give evidence of how your skills are transferable. 

Avoid language that feels too cheesy, corporate or idealistic 

No one can be everything to everyone, we are not perfect and we should not be! It feels disingenuous when someone lists out a thesaurus of adjectives saying that they are the “perfect match who is a team player creating synergy while also being incredibly directive and detail-oriented and achieving wide-spread results that impact results worldwide.” Pick out top skills and match them to an actual project or a result you’ve worked on or achieved. Do not list adjectives as skills without being prepared to back them up with evidence.

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