6 Tips for How to Write a Cover Letter

by Paige Ryan   Advice  | Job search  | Resume tips  | Cover letter tips  | 

Cover letters are just as important as your resume when applying for a new job. You should never skip out on submitting a cover letter with your resume because it will fill in the places that your resume cannot include. It will be a little more personal and be able to explain who you are, why you’re writing, and why you’re a good fit for the position. A cover letter should be a complement to your resume, it should not regurgitate what your resume has already stated and should include more information, like how you plan to use the experiences and skills you may have. Use the following tips on how to write the perfect cover letter.

1. Formatting

First thing to keep in mind while writing a good cover letter is how to format it. You should have a header and a closer on your letter. Next, open your letter with who you are, the position your applying for, and how you found it. Start with an opening paragraph that grabs the reader’s attention, then talk about what you have to offer, and end with your proof that you are the best fit for this job. The closing should include a call to action and end it with a sign off. Limit yourself to just one page and do not forget to proof read and check for grammar after writing your letter.

2. Header

At the top of your cover letter you should have a header with all the important information this potential new employer is going to need. It should include your name, number, email, and the date. Also include the name and professional title of the hiring manage as well as the name and address of the company. Some optional items you may want to include are your current professional title, address, and links to professional websites or social media like LinkedIn. Make sure to keep everything professional, meaning use an email from a Gmail account with only your name as the email address. Do not use your current work email as it is rude to your current and future employer.

3. Greeting

Start off by addressing the person who will end up reading the cover letter, which will be the hiring manager. You can do this by using their first name or using Miss, Ms., Mrs. or Mr. followed by their last name. What ever you prefer, just do not forget to add “dear” in front of it. To find their name, you are going to have to do some research, which will impress them that you took time to look into the company. If you look on the company website and absolutely cannot find the hiring mangers name you can use an alternate, more vague greeting such as “Dear Hiring Manager,” “Dear (company name) team, or just keep it simple with “To Whom it May Concern.”

4. Opening

The opening paragraph is the most important because it needs to grab the reader’s attention immediately. Introduce yourself, the job you are applying to, and where you found out about the position. The rest of the opening should present basic information about yourself such as your degree, career goals that line up with company goals, and your areas of expertise. Avoid writing an opening that sounds like you are just saying that you have done this before, so they should just hire you. You want to sound enthusiastic for this specific job.

5. Body paragraphs

Explain why you are the perfect candidate for this position by responding directly to the job description of qualifications or responsibilities. Do not use your cover letter as a trophy case, this is not an appropriate place to boast. Use the first sentence to show you are a professional at what you do, but do not continue bragging past that. Show, don’t tell, what your experiences are and how they will be useful in you becoming successful in the position you are attempting to acquire. This should not be about how amazing you are and how successful you have been in the past. Use your experiences to show how it will help you in the future rather than how amazing these accomplishments were in the first place.

Next, explain why you are eager to become a part of this company’s team. No employer is going to want to hire someone who is going to just go through the motions. They will want someone who is excited to work for them and will enjoy coming to work most days. If you do not enjoy what you do, your work will not be as productive as it could be, and you may leave at any point. A company is going to want you to benefit from this as much as they do. To show your eagerness start with a fact about the company and why you find it interesting. For instance, speak about a project they are currently working on. This also gives you an opportunity to show how your experiences can be successful for this project. By doing this you show that you’re excited to start working, and you have the skill capable of doing the job.

6. Call To Action

You have shown your skills, enthusiasm, and motivation by now. It is time to conclude with a call to action from the employer. Say something along the lines of how you are looking forward to meeting them in person to discuss your skills and experiences and how you can help this company succeed. Do not sound needy. Also avoid the “thank you for your consideration and time” cliché. It is over-used, boring, and is an underwhelming way to end your letter. Lastly, don’t forget to end with a nice sign off. Such as thank you, best regards, sincerely, with best regards etc.

Writing a cover letter can be difficult, especially trying to get all the information needed to help you get hired. Do you have any experience writing a cover letter? Comment below with your advice. Don’t forget to share your story on UltiCareer and help students and others learn about what your type of job is really like!

on UltiCareer to help others on their job search, get to know what your type of job is really like.

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