Your resume lays out the facts of your work history, experience, and skills for a hiring manager, but a cover letter acts as a first introduction, so it needs to stand out. A well put together cover letter guides the hiring manager through the information on your resume while expanding on your career accomplishments. You’ll need to customize for each position you apply to, keep reading to learn how to write a cover letter.
Make sure your critical contact information is front and center on your cover letter for hiring managers to see easily. You’ll also want to make sure you’re using your full name, avoid nicknames or pet names that sound unprofessional. You can format as you would a traditional letter or align your contact information to the left side of the document. Below is an example of both.
123 Main St. Cityville, USA | (111) 222-3333 | email@example.com
123 Main St.
Include the Date
Be sure to include the date of the day you are sending the letter. The date line should be separated from your address and the recipient’s address.
Make sure you open your letter with a professional greeting such as “Dear” or “Hello.” Also, it is essential that you do your research and find the hiring manager(s) name(s) and avoid opening your cover letter with “To whom it may concern.” The hiring manager(s) will immediately know you didn’t take the time to see who would be reviewing your cover letter, and it will come across as incomplete, or worse, lazy.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
The introductory paragraph must include the job you’re applying for. You should also include a statement about your enthusiasm regarding the role and company. Note you do not need to go into detail about your relevant work experience or skills just yet.
Paragraph 2: Work Experience Relevant to the Position
The second paragraph should be a brief overview of your career background relevant to the position you’re applying to. You’ll need to include your key work achievements, skills, and abilities that make you uniquely capable of doing the job well. You should focus on one or two of your accomplishments and provide details about your success, including any measurable impacts you made.
Extra tip: pay close attention to the keywords listed in the job description and add them where applicable to this paragraph.
Paragraph 3: Additional Skills and Qualifications Relevant to the Position
The next paragraph should focus on specific qualifications or skills that are relevant to the job. Avoid simply repeating details from your resume, expand on specific stories that highlight your fit for the position.
The last paragraph should recap the reasons why you’re applying for the job and why you feel you’d be a perfect fit. Be sure to keep the conclusion concise and that you look forward to hearing from the employer with next steps.
Conclude with Your Signature
Lastly, sign your name after a professional closing line like “All the best,” or “Sincerely.”
Cover letters are an essential part of your job search toolkit. Make sure yours stands out by crafting a cover letter highlighting your work experience and qualifications as a complement to your resume. Do not dismiss cover letters as optional when applying for jobs, take the time, and do the work to put one together and see how it pays off when you land your dream job.
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