A cover letter is just as important as your resume when applying for a position. But it’s not simply a regurgitation of your resume details. If you want to impress a recruiter, you’ll need to learn the craft of writing a knock-your-socks-off cover letter for each position you apply for. Unlike a cover letter you can tweak for each position, in most cases you’ll want to dedicate the time to write a truly unique cover letter. Here are other tips for a cover letter made to impress.

1. Make it tell a story.

Your cover letter should tell a story – about where you’ve been, and where you want to be. Your resume is all about the six-second scan – which often equates to bullet points of skills and certifications. Your cover letter should reveal some insight into why you’re applying for that job, and why you’d make a great fit. You can also focus a bit on some critical accomplishments from your career – just make sure you’re not listing out your previous job accomplishments or assignments – that should be clear in your resume.

2. Get personal (within reason).

Your resume is a really great opportunity to reveal some of your personality traits. Your cover letter should give some idea of why you’re not just a great skills for for a company, but a great cultural fit, as well. One of the best ways to do this is by revealing something about yourself that goes beyond the work day. If you can think about something that you’re passionate about that relates to the company, mention that in the cover letter. (“Encouraging other service members is really important to me, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve run the Army Ten-Miler on behalf of the Fisher House for the past ten years – I was always glad to see Company X as a sponsor.”)

3. Avoid cliches.

We know you’re a ‘team leader’ with ‘one-of-a-kind skills’ and a ‘great personality.’ PLEASE don’t list any of those cliche terms in your cover letter, however! The cover letter is your chance to reveal what makes you unique – you can’t do that with cliche terms.

4. Mention the company name at least once or twice.

Don’t fill the cover letter with information you googled about the company – this is a letter to introduce you, after all – but mentioning the company name at least once is a great way to show the hiring manager you wrote the cover letter just for him. You can include an anecdote about previous experience with the company, or just mention the company by name when you indicate what excites you about the job.

5. Keep it short.

Almost all recruiters say keep the letter less than a page – many say they prefer closer to 250 words (if that seems really short, it is). Think you can’t say much in 250 words? You can – but you’ll have to do it carefully. Keep your sentences short and make every word count. Read, re-read, and re-read again. Cut out any fluff, specifically any anecdotes or accomplishments that don’t directly apply to the job. And have a trusted friend read it and give their thoughts – they may think of content you should cut, or recommend something to add.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at ClearanceJobs.com. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer