When it comes to writing a cover letter, every word counts. Your cover letter needs to be professional, engaging, and most importantly, effective. One topic that often comes up when discussing cover letter writing is the use of contractions. Are they appropriate? Do they make your writing less formal? In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the use of contractions in cover letters and provide you with everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
- Contractions can make your cover letter more conversational and engaging, but use them sparingly.
- Avoid using contractions when writing to someone you haven’t met yet or in very formal settings.
- Match the tone of your letter to the company’s culture and personality. Some professions will require a more formal tone and you should adjust your use of contractions accordingly.
- Always proofread carefully, including checking for the correct use of contractions – mistakes can make your writing appear unprofessional or sloppy.
Now, let’s explore each of these in more detail.
What Are Contractions?
Contractions are essentially shortened forms of words that are created by combining two words together. For example, instead of writing “I am”, we use the contracted form “I’m”. Similarly, instead of “I will”, we use “I’ll”.
In everyday speech, contractions are commonplace and rarely raise any eyebrows. However, when it comes to formal writing such as cover letters, opinions can be more divided. So, should you use contractions in your cover letter or not?
Pros of Using Contractions in Cover Letters
The main advantage of using contractions in your cover letter is that they can help to make your writing more conversational and engaging. By using slightly more informal language, you can show the hiring manager that you’re a friendly and approachable person – someone that they’d like to work with.
In addition, contractions can help to make your cover letter more readable. Long sentences and paragraphs filled with complex words can be off-putting and make it difficult for the reader to digest the information. By using contractions, you can break up these long sentences and make your cover letter more digestible.
Cons of Using Contractions in Cover Letters
While there are some definite advantages to using contractions in your cover letter, there are also some potential drawbacks to be aware of. First and foremost, using contractions can make your writing appear less formal. This may not be a problem if you’re applying to a creative or startup job where employees value personality and creativity over formality. But if you’re applying for a corporate job, for example, it may be best to err on the side of caution and avoid using contractions.
Another potential issue with using contractions is that it can sometimes make your writing seem less professional. If your writing is filled with spelling and grammatical errors or if you use contractions incorrectly, you’ll risk making a bad impression on the hiring manager. Remember to proofread your cover letter carefully and, if in doubt, have someone else read it over before submitting it.
How to Decide Whether to Use Contractions in Your Cover Letter
Ultimately, whether or not to use contractions in your cover letter will depend on the specific job you’re applying for and the tone of the company. Take the time to research the company’s culture and personality to get a better idea of what they’re looking for. If it’s clear that they value a more formal tone in their communication, it’s probably best to avoid using contractions. However, if the company seems more relaxed or you’re applying for a job in a more creative field, using contractions could be a good way to show off your personality and fit with the company culture.
Q: Are contractions considered unprofessional?
A: Not necessarily. In some situations, such as in creative industries or startups, contractions can be perfectly appropriate. However, in more formal or corporate settings, using contractions may be viewed as less professional.
Q: How many contractions is too many in a cover letter?
A: There isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it’s generally best to use contractions sparingly. Aim for no more than one or two in a single sentence and try to vary them throughout the document.
Q: Can I use contractions in a cover letter addressed to a hiring manager I haven’t met yet?
A: It’s generally better to avoid using contractions when writing to someone you haven’t met yet or in very formal settings. Stick with more formal wording until you get to know the recipient’s communication style.
Using contractions in cover letters can be a decided turn-off if the company or culture values formal communication, and they can limit your ability to show off your vocabulary or showcase your writing ability. However, in the right situation, contractions can help to make your cover letter more conversational and engaging. Ultimately, the decision to use contractions in your cover letter will depend on the specific job you’re applying for, the company culture, and your own personal communication style.