11 Skills To Include in Your Cover Letter

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 25, 2022 | Published July 26, 2021

Updated October 25, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When applying for jobs, a well-crafted cover letter can help you showcase your skills. Employers often receive thousands of applications, and including the right skills in your cover letter can help you distinguish yourself from other candidates. Knowing which skills to include in your application depends on the specific job, but many skills are transferrable. In this article, we highlight 11 cover letter skills to include in your next job application and offer tips to improve those skills.

11 cover letter skills to highlight on your job application

There are several important skills employers look for when reviewing your resume and cover letter, including hard and soft skills. Other skills are transferable if they are relevant regardless of the profession or career. Here are some transferable skills you can include in your cover letter to impress hiring managers:

1. Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills enable you to identify why a particular problem is happening and the best way to solve the problem. It is a key skill most employers seek when recruiting, as employees who possess these skills usually show self-reliance. Important elements of problem-solving include:

  • Analysis

  • Logical reasoning

  • Persistence

  • Lateral thinking

  • Negotiation

  • Observation

  • Brainstorming

2. Creativity

Creativity skills can help you establish innovative solutions to various challenges. Some of the creative skills that you can highlight in your cover letter include divergent thinking, inspiration, innovation, experimenting, design, and mind mapping. Creative thinkers know how to look at a situation from several points of view and decide on the best course of action.

3. Adaptability

The ability to adapt to a different working environment can increase your employability. Possessing adaptability skills means you are ready to learn new skills, face challenges, and transition easily into additional responsibilities. Being adaptable in a workplace is important when implementing projects and establishing strategies. To improve your adaptability skills, consider using the following strategies:

  • Familiarizing yourself with recent changes in your work environment

  • Creating a growth mindset

  • Setting realistic goals for yourself

  • Asking for feedback for continuous improvement

  • Learning to accept changes and adapt to differing circumstances

When outlining your adaptability skills in a cover letter, explain some of your achievements that required adaptability skills to accomplish. Summarize how these skills enabled you to attain specific goals. These skills are particularly crucial if you aspire to work in a rapidly changing working environment like advertising, event management, public relations, technology, or nursing.

4. Time management

Time management is an important skill for employees in many organizations. Including this skill in your cover letter means you can work efficiently and complete all tasks by the deadline. You can achieve this by arranging your workload to focus on the most important tasks first. Timesaving is a common strategy for many organizations that want to reduce operations costs and increase revenue. To improve your time management skills, set both short- and long-term goals, work with a calendar, and prioritize your responsibilities. Here are some time management skills that you can include in your cover letter:

  • Goal-setting

  • Planning

  • Prioritizing

  • Scheduling

  • Task management

  • Stress management

  • Delegation

5. Leadership

Companies often look for candidates who can fill leadership positions, so try to highlight this skill in your cover letter. It implies you can work well with your colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders. Employers presume that a person with strong leadership skills demonstrates integrity, a high degree of emotional intelligence, and patience in their workplace. Mention how you have mentored others, trained new hires, or guided a team in your cover letter. The most important leadership skills employers also look for include the following:

  • Cultural intelligence

  • Management skills

  • Selflessness

  • Empathy

  • Motivation

  • Trust

  • Authenticity

Various practices can help you develop and improve your leadership skills, such as studying useful resources about leadership and taking part in leadership training classes or workshops. Other strategies include focusing on the leadership style you admire and finding a mentor to advise you on becoming an effective leader.

6. Communication

Regardless of the position you are applying for, you can benefit from possessing excellent verbal and written communication skills. In your cover letter, show your ability to communicate effectively with your colleagues, executive leaders, and clients in person, in writing, and on the phone. You may provide examples from your previous work to showcase your communication skills. Below is a list of communication skills you may consider for your cover letter.

  • Presentation skills

  • Written communication

  • Verbal communication

  • Nonverbal communication

  • Active listening

  • Giving Constructive feedback

Different jobs require unique communication skills. Take your time to match your credentials to the job requirements to show the prospective employer that you are qualified for the job. Here are a few areas you can work on to improve your communication skills:

  • Ask for feedback from a trusted party

  • Regularly practice your communication habits

  • Enroll in a communication skills class

  • Identify more opportunities to communicate

7. Teamwork

Teamwork skills are essential in most job settings. Including teamwork skills in your cover letter means you can work effectively with your team members and clients in the organization to complete tasks and create a healthy and friendly working environment. With teamwork skills, you are likely to help the organization meet its goals as you also improve your career by building strong relationships with your colleagues. Some examples of teamwork skills include:

  • Conflict management

  • Delegation

  • Active listening

  • Collaboration

  • Negotiation

  • Mediation

  • Cooperation

  • Coordination

8. Work ethic

Demonstrating a strong work ethic can quickly help you advance in your career. When you include this skill in your cover letter, you show the recruiter that you can produce quality work, foster strong relationships with other employees, and contribute to valuable tasks in the organization. If you possess strong work ethic skills, this indicates to a recruiter that you take pride in your work, care about enhancing the company's reputation, and are a valuable asset as an employee. Various qualities demonstrate work ethic, and they include:

  • Professionalism

  • Commitment

  • Teamwork

  • Time management

  • Self-motivation

  • Integrity

  • Discipline

  • Initiative

  • Responsibility

Work ethic is a skill you can improve by using the following ideas:

  • Be disciplined and keep distractions to a minimum

  • Set goals for yourself

  • Be mindful of how you spend your time

  • Stay organized

  • Practice a healthy work-life balance

  • Believe in the purpose of the work you're doing

  • Observe time management

9. Interpersonal skills

Employers may evaluate interpersonal skills to assess how a new employee interacts in a team or group environment. Featuring these skills in your cover letter shows your ability to interact and communicate effectively with others in the workplace. Interpersonal skills are important because they foster effective communication, create a constructive feedback loop, expand career opportunities, make you more relatable, demonstrate social awareness, and build trust. Here are a few interpersonal skills to include in your cover letter:

  • Empathy

  • Mentoring

  • Networking

  • Sensitivity

  • Public speaking

Interpersonal skills are an essential requirement in any workplace for increased productivity. You can improve your interpersonal skills in the workplace in the following ways:

  • Give credit to your fellow employees

  • Practice compassion and be considerate

  • Show interest in other employees' issues

  • Resolve workplace disputes

10. Attention to detail

Attention to detail is an essential skill that is likely to attract the attention of an employer during recruitment. When an employee focuses on minimizing errors in accomplishing their tasks, it helps the organization improve its performance and productivity. You can practice several skills to ensure you enhance your attention to detail in an organization. Some careers suited for detail-oriented people include pharmacology, engineering, and accounting. Key elements of these skills include:

  • Critical observation

  • Scheduling

  • Introspection

  • Analysis

  • Questioning

  • Memory

11. Computer skills

Even if you are not applying for an IT position, it is important to mention your computer literacy skills in your cover letter. These are transferrable to most roles and become more relevant and necessary as industries grow and develop. The work environment is constantly changing to digital as organizations embrace the use of technology to reduce paperwork. Job seekers who showcase the ability to apply computer knowledge in their work can be an asset to recruiting companies. Identify your strength in computer software usage and share relevant experiences for the job you are applying for in your cover letter.

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