A good cover letter is the key to landing a job. Let’s discuss how to write the perfect cover letter for your job application. You’ll have a new job in no time!
You’ve perfected your resume. You’ve found some amazing job opportunities online. You’re ready to start interviewing and impressing potential employers.
This sounds like a good plan, but there’s one step that you’re missing:
Before you can send that resume, you’ll need to write a cover letter.
The cover letter goes hand in hand with your resume, and you’ll need to submit the two together. A great cover letter alone can get you noticed, while a great resume without a strong letter might get you discarded off the bat.
If you’re ready to land that dream job, keep reading. Let’s discuss how to write a perfect cover letter.
Write It in Business Letter Format
Just because you plan to email your cover letter or submit it as a PDF in an online portal doesn’t mean it should be casual. It should still follow the business letter format.
The business letter format includes your name, address, and contact information at the top of the page. It also includes your recipient’s name, address, and contact info.
It should include the date and your email address for easy and immediate correspondence.
Just make sure that your email address sounds professional. In other words, firstname.lastname@example.org is not appropriate. Create a free Gmail account with a simple address, preferably one that includes your first and last names.
Whatever you do, don’t use your current work address. The last thing you want is for your current employer to know that you’re looking for a new position!
Direct it to the Hiring Manager
Don’t start your letter with To Whom It May Concern. If the job posting doesn’t list the hiring manager’s name, do some research to find out who that person is.
Get on LinkedIn or search the company’s website to find them. If you’re still not sure who to address your letter to, ask someone who works there or call the company directly to find out the person’s name.
When they receive your letter, the manager will appreciate that you took the time to track them down.
Keep It to Three Paragraphs
A cover letter should be succinct. Writing three pages about your work history could land your application in the trash barrel before anyone even reads it.
Instead, stick to three paragraphs:
The first paragraph needs to grab their attention. Write a strong opening line that mentions the position you’re applying for and why you’re excited about this opportunity.
The second paragraph should detail the skills and experience you bring to the table. You don’t need to repeat everything on your resume, but you can take this opportunity to back up some of the claims made in your CV.
Paragraph two is the perfect place to quantify some of your experiences with numbers. For example, here’s where you can say that you did X amount of dollars in sales last year or that you increased your business by X% last quarter.
In the third paragraph, show them that you are the best person for the job. Explain why in a way that makes it clear you will fit in with their company culture.
For example, if you’re applying to a graphic design firm, mention how their portfolio inspires you. Talk about why this company, of all the graphic design firms out there, best suits your work style and personality.
People want to hire (and work with) people they’ll get along with. The more you can demonstrate that you’ll fit in, the better.
Conclude by Reiterating That You Want an Interview
Finalize your cover letter with a brief sentence or two about how you would love the opportunity to interview for the job. Let the hiring manager know that you’re eager to discuss the opportunity further.
Here are some examples of how you can finalize your cover letter in a way that shows you’re ready to move forward:
“I welcome the opportunity to discuss the position in greater detail and learn more about this role. Please contact me at your convenience to schedule an interview or discuss next steps.”
“Thank you for taking the time to review my resume and cover letter. I would welcome the opportunity for a personal interview. Please let me know if there is any other information I can provide to support my candidacy for the XYZ position.”
“I welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications with you in more detail. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
Highlight Your Skills
Your skills should have a prominent place on your resume. But a cover letter gives you space to elaborate on them. Just don’t go into too much detail — save that for the interview!
Write a few sentences detailing a specific project you worked on in the past. Just don’t give away any company secrets or proprietary information.
Give an example of a success you had, quantify it with numbers to back up your claim, and explain how that experience will be beneficial in this role.
They’re probably hiring because they need to solve a problem, so show them that you are the person who can solve it for them!
Look at the Job Description to Find Keywords
The more resumes a hiring manager receives, the more likely it is that they will scan those resumes looking for specific things. This is where keywords come into play.
Look at the job description and identify a few keywords in the initial posting. Then make sure your cover letter includes a few of those keywords.
This tip holds true for your resume, as well. Always be honest about your experience, but do your best to cater your resume to the job description.
This is a great way to grab attention and show the employer that your experience aligns with their needs.
Edit and Proofread Your Cover Letter
Just like your resume, you should always have someone proofread your cover letter for typos and grammatical errors. Submitting it with errors only demonstrates that you don’t pay attention to detail, and that’s a great way NOT to get hired.
Your cover letter doesn’t even need to be a full page. Three short paragraphs and a brief closing statement are all you need. Make sure your writing is clear, concise, and easy to read.
Ready to write a cover letter that puts you at the top of the interview list? Here are seven tips and tricks to keep in mind when crafting your letter:
- Format it as a business letter
- Address it directly to the hiring manager
- Limit it to three paragraphs
- Conclude by stating you’d like an in-person interview
- Highlight your skills
- Incorporate keywords pulled from the job description
- Edit and proofread for typos and grammatical errors
A great resume and a persuasive cover letter will put you one step closer to your dream job. Make sure that both call attention to your skills and make it clear that you are THE best candidate for the job!