How To Write A Cover Letter
While your resume is a summary of your background and qualifications, your cover letter explains why you're sending in a resume and should always be included in a job application.
If there’s only one thing you’ll remember from this guide, it should be this:
Always tailor your cover letter to one specific company and one particular job position.
Hiring managers can tell immediately if you created one generic cover letter and sent it all over the tri-state area. They throw those out.
Here’s how to format a cover letter effectively:
Align everything to the left side (block formatting), from beginning to end. Don’t use text justification.
Single line space all text (or use 1.15 line spacing).
Use a double space between each cover letter section and paragraph.
Include a 1-inch margin on all sides of the cover letter.
Choose a great cover letter font. Select the font by how legible it is over how pretty it looks.
When in doubt, a cover letter is a business document, so follow formal letter formatting rules.
Pick a cover letter template that matches your resume template to give the employer one unified job application package.
Unless otherwise instructed, send them a cover letter PDF rather than Microsoft Word doc or another format. PDFs look better on more devices than Word cover letters.
Also, how long should a cover letter be?
Never let your cover letter spill over onto a second page. One page is plenty. In general, the best cover letters are relevant, concise, and have a word count which doesn’t exceed 300 words.
The header of a cover letter is quite simple—it’s basically like addressing a postcard. Just your deets, a date, and their info.
Here’s how to write an effective cover letter heading area:
On any formal letter, such as when writing a good cover letter, the sender’s information goes first. Include your name and address, to follow standard letter formatting rules. Add relevant contact information, such as your phone number, email address, or LinkedIn URL.
Leave a line break, then add the date of writing.
Finally, add the recipient’s information, including the name and job title of the person reviewing your application, followed by the company’s name and address.
Who to address a cover letter to?
Find the name of the hiring manager or recruiter, because science says people are more receptive to the sound of their own names.
Locate their names by searching LinkedIn, checking the job ad, or looking at the company’s about page online.
If those fail, give them a call!
First name or last?
If applying to a more traditional role, such as at a law firm or at a university, go with their title (e.g., Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr.) and their last name to be on the safe side. Otherwise, using their first name is a great way to grab the reader’s attention.
How to address a cover letter with no name?
If you tried everything and can’t find the hiring manager’s name, go with “Dear hiring manager.” Replace “hiring manager” with a job title (e.g., “IT director,” “HR manager”) if you at least have that information.
If you aren’t happy with these options, go ahead and skip the salutation, jumping straight to the first paragraph. That’s much better than the universally despised “Dear sir or madam.”
Comma, semicolon, or colon?
Finally, use a colon (:) rather than a comma after your cover letter greeting. Save the commas for less-formal letters to your grandparents.
The opening of a cover letter sets the tone for what follows.
Bore them at your own peril.
Intrigue them, and they’ll be dying to read more.
How to write a cover letter opening paragraph that’ll keep you in the running?
Here’s how to make a cover letter intro:
It must introduce you to them as a candidate.
It needs to officially identify the position to which you’re applying.
It should give a quick overview of your professional background, skills, and experience.
It has to be relevant to the company and the particular position.
You’re applying for a job, and the hiring manager’s job is to assess how well you’d fit.
In the second paragraph, it’s time to show them you’re the best candidate they could possibly consider.
How? Refer to the job description.
The employment offer’s job requirements section tells you exactly the applicant they’re looking for.
Let them know their search is over.
Don’t simply tell them how you’ll make their lives better. Explain to them that they’re perfect for you, as well.
Of course the company needs to know that you have the job skills, work experience, and professional background they’re seeking. However, they also want to hire someone who’ll enjoy coming to work for them and who’ll be a great fit on the team.
Time to wrap it up with a powerful and compelling cover letter closing paragraph.
How to end a cover letter effectively?
In the last paragraph of a cover letter, invite them to discuss further, request a meeting, and promise them all this greatness you’ve exemplified is just the tip of the iceberg.
Signing off on a cover letter is super straightforward and simple.
Sincerely” is the most standard complimentary close (also known as a valediction), but feel free to use other formal or semi-formal options, as well. “Regards,” “Yours Truly,” or “Thank You” work just fine, too.
Avoid anything too informal, such as “Peace,” “Cheers,” or “TTYL.” Just as you start a cover letter formally, end the cover letter formally, also.
Structure of The Cover Letter
Address of Company
If possible, use the name of person in charge of unit or department/name of Hiring Manager by searching online (company website or directory). This signals seriousness of intent. If you cannot find a name, Hiring Manager will suffice.
Provide specific greeting to person whom you are corresponding. If no name available, Dear Hiring Manager will suffice.
State the position you are applying for and how you found out about it. If you heard about the position via a professional connection, check with them and ask if you might mention them here.
State how your experience matches the position. Include 2·3 key qualifications that you will address in the rest of the letter (these items should match up with your resume).
Taylor cover letter to company to be more effective (through company research via informational interviews, website review, and online reading). Do not use the same cover letter for different job applications.
Recognize organizational need (as mentioned in job description) and make your claim as how you can help them (that you have the matching skills).
Give specific examples to support your claim.
Refer to your resume (do not repeat it verbatim).
Close with a strong reminder as to why you are a good match for the job and the organization.
Request an interview in some way.
Provide contact information.
Express appreciation for consideration.
Sign your name and print it underneath.