If you’re debating on whether to include a cover letter with your resume or not, you should know that 87% of hiring managers read them.
For this reason alone, it’s crucial to include one with your application. It can make or break you as a candidate in some cases.
Learning how to write a cover letter is a crucial skill that you’ll use throughout your life, so its beneficial to put in the time and effort to learn how to write them properly. If this is something that you’re looking to learn, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll look at everything that you need to know to begin, and answer some of your most asked questions in this article.
How to Write a Cover Letter
To start writing your cover letter, all you need is a device with the capability to write. The first thing that you’ll want to focus on is your header.
The header should give the recruiter all of the information that they’ll need to contact you in the future. It should be easy to read and laid out appropriately.
The information that you should include in the header of your cover letter is:
- Your first and last name
- Your phone number
- Your email
- Your city and state/province
- Your website (if you have one)
- LinkedIn profile (Optional)
This information tells the recruiter how they can get ahold of you. Giving them multiple points of contact allows them to choose the one that they like best.
Typically, a personal website is included for positions where you may have a portfolio to show. This won’t apply for all positions, so don’t panic if you don’t have one.
A LinkedIn profile can be used to substitute for a website as well, but it’s not a hard requirement either. For some types of positions, a LinkedIn profile will reiterate what your resume already states. If this is the case, you may include it for added convenience, but omitting it should be fine too.
After your heading, it’s time to start the cover letter. The first thing that you need to add is the date.
The date you put is the date that you’ll be sending the cover letter. If you’re writing it on March 1st, but won’t be sending it until March 2nd, put March 2nd as your date.
Next, you need to address your audience It’s a good idea to do a little bit of research on your recipient before writing.
If you’re applying to jobs on LinkedIn, you’ll typically see the recruiter’s name at the top of the posting. If this is the case, be sure to address them directly in your letter.
Here are some ways to address recruiters in your cover letter:
- Dear John Doe
- To John Doe
- Greetings John Doe
- Good Morning Jane Doe
- Good Afternoon Jane Doe
- Hello Jane Doe
If you can’t seem to find a name to address the letter to, keep it open. You can replace the names above with “hiring manager” instead to allow for it to be open-ended.
With your header and greeting sorted, it’s time to give a nice introduction to the hiring manager. This section of the letter gives you a chance to tell the recruiter a bit about you and why this role is a good fit for both of you.
Start by introducing yourself and telling the recruiter about your interest in the position. Be sure to let them know what excites you about it and why you think you’re the right candidate for the job.
Here’s a good example that can help you brainstorm:
“As a marketing professional who has worked with large software brands in the past, I was thrilled to find your job posting searching for a Marketing Specialist. My experience with in-depth competitive research will be helpful when it comes to positioning Digital Marketing Firm as the leader in software marketing.”
All About You
After your introduction to the hiring manager, you want to tell them a little about your past achievements. Make sure that they are relevant and useful for the company that you’re applying to.
If you don’t have experience within the field yet, you can use transferable skills to show what you can do. For example, if you have previous experience answering the phones at an old job, you can talk about how you were able to successfully solve a customer’s problem over the phone.
This would be especially helpful in a customer service position because you’re demonstrating that you have had great success with this before.
For example, you could say:
“During my time at Busy Restaurant, I routinely dealt with customers calling to place orders over the phone. Not only did I enjoy communicating with our customers and helping them with their orders, but I was effectively able to manage more than 50 orders an hour on busy nights. My boss counted on me to ensure that orders and customers were dealt with in the most efficient manner.”
In closing, you’ll want to talk about how your skills and experience will translate into your new potential role at this company. You can mention an achievement or a belief that you hold in relation to your position that tells the recruiter a bit about what you would be like if hired.
Here’s an example:
“In the past, I’ve learned just how important multi-tasking is when it comes to customer service. I’ve been able to manage 10 customers at one time while being polite and helpful, and I hope I can continue to improve upon that number as an addition to your customer service team.”
To truly finish off the letter, you need an effective closing line that gives thanks to the recruiter and directs them to the next steps. The next steps can be different depending on what you’d like the recruiter to do.
For example, if you have a website, you may ask them to read your resume then have a look at your website. If you’ve included your LinkedIn, you might ask them to connect with you for more information once reading your resume.
Here are some examples of effective closing lines for your cover letter:
- Thank you for reading and please feel free to have a look at my resume below.
- I appreciate your time and hope to connect with you on LinkedIn to chat further about the position.
- Please feel free to contact me by email after reading through my resume.
- I look forward to hearing from you after you’ve had a chance to review my resume.
Now that you’ve given your recruiter a good first impression, all that’s left is to sign out. This step is pretty simple and isn’t a large part of the letter.
To sign out, all you really need to do is include your name. But you can take it a step further by adding your details again after your name.
The goal is to make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to contact you.
Tips For Writing a Cover Letter
With your formatting and information in check, there’s even more that you can do to make your cover letter professional and interesting. It’s important to pay attention to details with your letter as this is your first impression.
First impressions can make or break you in the eyes of a recruiter, so you want to make sure that you’ve got everything in order on your cover letter.
Keep It Short, But Impactful – Nobody wants to read a book-length cover letter. Your recruiter has many other resumes to read in addition to yours, so be considerate of their time. You don’t have to go into detail about every past job that you’ve had, as your resume will cover that. Keep it short and keep it memorable.
Be Professional and Personal – There’s only one you in the world, and no one can take credit for your own accomplishments. Show the best reasons for working with you in the most professional way that you can.
Keep It Legible – Part of being professional on your cover letter has to do with displaying it. Ensure that you have the correct formatting, and use a professional font. Some great fonts to use are Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica. You can always choose a font that represents you, just make sure that it is in fact professional.
Be Unique, But Not Too Unique – It’s important to be memorable when applying to jobs, but you don’t want to be too unique. Make a great first impression visually, and an equally good first impression with your achievements. Save the fancy graphics and fonts for another time and place.
Ask For Opinions – The people in your life have likely had to submit their fair share of cover letters, or maybe they’ve even been in the position where they’ve received them. They may spot errors or have ideas on what you can change. A second pair of eyes is valuable to have!
Why Is a Cover Letter So Important?
As we discussed earlier, a cover letter is your first impression to an employer or a recruiter. You’re directly addressing them and introducing yourself.
With this being your one chance to get it right, you want to be sure that you have an effective and personable cover letter.
Does a Cover Letter Increase Chances of Getting a Job?
A personalized cover letter with time and effort put into it will show a recruiter that you’re serious about the job. A cover letter takes time and effort to put together and can put you above another candidate if they haven’t included one.
Knowing this, it’s a wonder that more folks don’t submit their resumes with cover letters attached!
Write the Perfect Cover Letter to Win the Job
Applying to jobs is not easy by any means, but knowing how to write a cover letter can dramatically increase your chances of getting hired. Be sure to put time and effort into it and personalize it for the company that you’re applying for.
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