When applying for a job, a cover letter allows you to demonstrate your personal side while also demonstrating why hiring you is a wise decision.
While cover letters are not necessarily required, many hiring managers use them to assess an applicant’s skills, experience, and background in relation to the position. Submitting a cover letter is also an excellent way to demonstrate to the employer that you are genuinely interested in the position.
The key to writing effective cover letters is to communicate clearly how your professional experience meets the requirements of the role and the company’s culture.
This article will demonstrate to you how to write a cover letter that will make a good first impression on potential employers.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter explains your interest in the job and company, as well as your suitability for the position. In a job application, it is typically submitted alongside your resume.
This letter should illustrate your qualifications, experience, and accomplishments relevant to the position you seek. Cover letters, unlike resumes, allow you to go into greater detail about your professional experience and explain why you’re a suitable candidate for the position and company.
A well-written cover letter has the potential to impress employers and differentiate you from other candidates. To avoid writing a generic cover letter, do extensive research on the company and role for which you’re applying before writing your cover letter.
What to Consider Before Writing a Cover Letter?
Before crafting your cover letter, gather all of the information you may require. Here are some things to think about before writing a cover letter:
- Consider your experiences and how you would like to present them to a potential employer. What abilities, skills, or achievements would you like the company to be aware of?
- Consider how you learned about the job opening. Take down the person’s name and title if it’s a personal contact. If you saw it in an ad or on a job board, keep in mind where and when you saw it, as well as any specific instructions mentioned in the job description.
- Consider the company to which you are writing and what drew you to it. Do you have a soft spot for its culture or brand? Are the reviews favorable or unfavorable? Examine the company’s mission and vision statements to see if you agree with them.
- Consider who you’re writing to. If it’s a particular individual, address them by name and title. If not, consider addressing the cover letter to “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Human Resources.”
Cover Letter Format
A cover letter should be formatted similarly to a business letter, with the following sections:
- Header containing the date and contact information
- Salutation or greeting
- Opening paragraph
- Middle paragraph(s)
- Closing paragraph
- Letter ending and signature
6 Steps to Write a Cover Letter
Here are six easy steps in writing an effective cover letter. We’ll go over what to include in each section in detail, with examples, in the sections below.
- Begin with your header
As with any standard business letter header, include a few pieces of personal and position information at the top of your cover letter to make it simpler for a hiring manager or recruiter to follow it up with you. If you want, you can center your name and address at the top of the page, just like it is on your resume.
- Include a greeting
Try to discover the name of the person reviewing job applications during your research. Address your letter to this individual with a standard business greeting.
- Write an opening paragraph
Mention the job role you’re applying for and where you had seen the job posting in the first paragraph. Explain your interest in the role and company to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. The first section of your cover letter is also the reader’s first perception of you, so it’s critical to appeal to that person quickly and straightforwardly.
- Add a second paragraph
Your second paragraph should provide a summary of your background as it refers to the position. Include key accomplishments, skills, and specializations that make you uniquely qualified for the position. Concentrate on one or two and provide specifics about your success, including measurable impacts.
- Finish with a closing paragraph
The final paragraph should highlight another significant achievement or skill associated with the position. Instead of repeating information from your resume, summarize a specific story or anecdote that demonstrates you’re qualified for the position. If you’re changing careers, this is a good time to discuss transferable skills or relevant work experiences.
- Finish with a professional signature
End your cover letter with a paragraph summarizing why you’re applying for the position and why you’d be a good fit. Keep the cover letter conclusion brief and express your eagerness to hear from the employer about possible next steps. Finish by signing at the bottom.
Tips for an Engaging Cover Letter
These are the guidelines that you should keep in your mind when writing a cover letter:
- Customize your header based on the format of your application
It’s not necessary to include your address or other contact information if you’re writing your cover letter directly within an online employment application. You’ve most likely already typed it into other sections of the application form. If you attach your cover letter, you can use the same heading as your resume.
- Avoid making broad statements about your abilities
Tell purposeful anecdotes that connect your skills to concrete problem-solving activities or measurable business results you’ve worked on in your career whenever possible. Any candidate can claim to have a desirable skill. To make an impression, you must demonstrate examples of your skills in action to hiring managers.
- Keep it concise and directly to the point
There is no set length for a cover letter unless clarified in the job description. Focus on the most important job details when deciding how long a cover letter should be. Examine the job description carefully to find the best opportunities to demonstrate your qualifications.
- Proofread before submitting
Before sending your cover letter, go over it several times to check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Reading it aloud can help you identify awkward phrasing or overly long sentences. We all have a tendency to gloss over mistakes, so read slowly and deliberately, scrutinizing each word. If your salutation includes the hiring manager’s name, double-check the spelling.
Different Types of Cover Letter
There are various types of cover letters to choose from. The application cover letter, prospecting cover letter, and networking cover letter are the most important.
These three types can be customized to a particular industry or situational context, such as email delivery or referrals. You’ll find four different types of cover letters, both primary and situational, listed below:
The application cover letter should be customized to the job for which you are applying. When writing your cover letter, try to use as many keywords from the job role as possible to specify your skills.
When writing your career change cover letter, it is essential to demonstrate your thorough knowledge of the specific company. This may give the recruiter the impression that you are a passionate and enthusiastic candidate to work with.
A networking cover letter is the most common type used to request assistance, advice, and information about job vacancies within your network. Even if you are new to the workforce, you most likely have contacts in your professional network on whom you can rely.
A graduate cover letter is a formal document used by recent graduates of college to apply for jobs or graduate degree programs. A graduate cover letter is an extension of a resume that includes information about college activities and previous professional experiences.
The letter that the visa applicant keeps writing for the embassy where the visa application files will be submitted is known as a Schengen Visa Cover Letter.
Sample and Template
Here’s an example and a template of a cover letter that can serve as your guide in crafting your cover letter:
Sample Letter #1
Dear Hiring Manager,
I’m writing to express my enthusiasm for the position of administrative assistant at [name of company].
This opportunity appeals to me for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I have a proven track record of success in administrative roles, most recently as an administrative coordinator in my current position. Last year, I proactively stepped in to coordinate a summit for our senior leaders, which was a highlight of my time here. I coordinated travel and accommodations for a group of 15 executives from across the company, planned meals and activities, worked with our internal events team, and ensured that everything ran smoothly over the two-day summit. Because of the positive feedback I received, I’ve been tasked with doubling the event’s attendance this year and leading an entire department to get the job done.
I’m interested in this position because of the opportunities for advancement that [name of company] offers. My research on your company culture has revealed that there are numerous opportunities for self-motivated individuals such as myself. Organization and attention to detail are second nature to me, and I’m eager to put these skills to use in new and challenging situations.
I look forward to telling you more about my experiences and motivations. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Sample Letter #2
123 Monopoly Lane
March 17, 2019
Great Red Inc.
234 Fallen Street
Greetings, Jake Stewart,
How do I know if I’m a good fit for the open court reporter position at Great Red Inc.? Is it because I’ve worked as a transcriptionist for 14 years, or because I can type 82 words per minute? In any case, I’m looking forward to learning more about the opportunity with Great Red Inc.
I started my career in 2005 as a technician at a physician’s office. I quickly learned how to be a precise and detail-oriented stenographer. Since then, technology has altered the way transcriptionists work. In order to keep up with the times, I obtained a stenographer certificate in 2017. At the time, I had left the doctor’s office to start a freelance business. As a successful business owner, I am committed to providing high-quality transcription services to clients in medical, news media, and law.
I’ve had a long career in transcription and stenography, but perhaps my most unique and compelling qualification for this position is that I’ve worked independently as a stenographer for attorneys and legal professionals for the past three years. Furthermore, my experience as a medical transcriptionist has taught me the importance of confidentiality in business.
Finally, I am submitting my resume for the court reporter position at Great Red Inc. because my extensive stenography experience speaks for itself. Working with attorneys recently taught me crucial elements of legal transcription, and being a medical engage in any activity helped me develop discretion in client matters. I hope to hear from you soon, or I will contact you in two days.
All the best,
Cover Letter Template
Dear [Hiring manager’s name],
I’d like to express my genuine interest in the [position] posting with [company name] that I discovered on [how you learned about the position]. While reviewing your company’s website, I discovered that your company is a [compliment them on awards, philanthropy, innovation, and being an industry leader]. I am especially interested in collaborating with you in [specific area/department] because I believe that [what you find interesting or inspiring about the company] is the most crucial component in marketing and business.
My knowledgeable [skills] are well proven in my over [years of experience] in [areas of experience]. Currently, I work as a [position], where my attention to detail and [other skills] were essential to the success of my team and [project, challenge, task].
I’ve learned how to achieve and exceed [goals, standards] set by the companies I’ve had the pleasure of working for, as well as how to understand [concepts or responsibilities required in job description].
I believe I am qualified to handle the exciting challenges that this position presents, and I hope you will allow me to discuss my credentials with you further during an interview. For your review, I have attached a copy of my resume to this application. If you require any additional information, please let me know.
Thank you for your consideration and time.
- Start your letter with a header and include a few pieces of personal and role-specific at the top of your cover letter.
- You should not forget to include a greeting.
- End your cover letter with a paragraph summarizing why you’re applying for the position and why you’d be a good fit.
- Your conclusion should be limited to a few sentences.
- A cover letter is an important tool for distinguishing yourself from the competition during a job search.