When applying for a job, your cover letter is the first thing the potential employer sees. It is your first impression, and it needs to be a good one. A cover letter that is lacking in interest, relevance, or accuracy will not encourage that hiring manager to move on to your CV, which is where you have space to detail all of your accomplishments.

Here are four tips how to create a cover letter that stands out from the pack.

Make your cover letter snappy

Have you heard the expression, “Always leave them wanting more”? That applies significantly to your cover letter.

Cover letters should only be one page long. It should also be tightly written.

Keep your sentences and your paragraphs on the short side, because if a reader gets lost in the middle and has to backtrack to understand what you mean, that is a failure that could get you disqualified.

Make it disruptive

Disruptive sounds like a bad thing, but in this case, it is the story you tell that makes the recruiter stop and pay attention.

Can you describe a personal connection that you have with the company or the industry?

What inspires your passion for the job?

Avoid merely rehashing your CV and tell the recruiter something that could move them emotionally and create the desire to know more about you.

Demonstrate an understanding of the job

Rather than make your cover letter all about you (that is what your CV is for), take the time to demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the company to which you are applying. Everyone wants to feel as though someone “gets” them; this is true both personally and professionally.

By showing that you have put real thought into how the company may be best served, you are showing the recruiter up front that you are not just here for yourself.

Proofread, proofread, proofread

Typos are real killers of opportunity because they negate a lot of the messages you are trying to convey. For example, if you report that you have sharp “attention to detail,” the misspelling tells the exact opposite story.

It is also vital to reduce ambiguity in your statements so that the reader is not left wondering which of several possible interpretations is correct.

We recommend that not only do you reread your cover letter multiple times but that you also have someone else with a skill for language take a look. It is tough for writers to proofread their work because the brain naturally sees what it meant, rather than what’s there.

Through these simple tips, you can get the most out of your first impression, and we bet you will start to pick up more interviews. Good luck!