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Cover Letter Trends for 2018

Fashion, makeup looks, eyebrow trends — these are things we expect to change periodically. Cover letters? Not so much. However, odd as it may seem, there are some things you can do to your cover letter to make sure it stays on trend. 

While the crux of your cover letter should not change with the seasons, there are some changes you should make to ensure your letter doesn't send the wrong message: outdated. 

Storytelling

It's a huge trend in marketing, so it makes sense that it also applies to marketing yourself. Instead of re-hashing your resume, (doing so is always out of style) use your cover letter to tell a story. J.T. O'Donnell, writing for Inc.com, suggests these steps in writing a cover letter:

  1. Identify what the company does that is different, special and unique. 
  2. Think about the job you are applying for and how you've come to learn its importance. 
  3. Ask yourself what life experiences have taught you how the work the company does makes a difference.

Once you find the connections between you and the company following these prompts, you know what story to write in your cover letter. 

Personalization

Telling your story is the ultimate personalization, so if you can do that, you've got the next trend pretty well covered. Apart from the content of your letter, the format can also be somewhat personalized. Though it's always best to use formal business format where appropriate. 

Another key to personalizing your letter is being upfront about your work history. Explain any strangeness in your work history, such as gaps or industry switches. Your cover letter is also the perfect place to show how you would fit in with office culture. Not only is it an opportunity to show your personality, but it also proves that you did your research.

Proper spelling and grammar

This one's for you fellow grammar nerds! There is less tolerance than ever for spelling and grammar errors in application materials, particularly cover letters. As most letters are written and submitted electronically, there are no excuses for not at least running yours through a basic spelling and grammar check. 

It's not an uncommon practice for application materials containing spelling and grammar errors to be immediately tossed. So avoid that painful fate, and edit your work. 

Trends may come and go, but good writing that shows your personality never goes out of style. For more help with writing cover letters, check out this guide

Related content: 

So You Want to Write a Cover Letter

A Guide to Personal Branding

How to Make a Good First Impression

Job Search

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