If you’ve ever written a cover letter, you’ve probably wondered if there are rules that apply to it. And though the format of a cover letter is fairly flexible, there are some general guidelines that most recruiters and hiring managers agree on. Here’s my list of 10 things to know about writing effective cover letters:
|A well-written cover letter can help you stand out in the job application process.|
|It is important to tailor your cover letter to the specific job you are applying for.|
|Keep your cover letter concise and to the point, typically no longer than one page.|
|Avoid common mistakes such as using a generic salutation and failing to proofread.|
|Use a professional tone and highlight your most relevant skills and experience.|
1. Should A Cover Letter Have A Header?
A: Yes, your cover letter should have a header that includes your name and contact information. This is the first thing an employer will see when they open the document and it sets the tone for what’s to come. A well-crafted and professional-looking cover letter are sure to grab their attention, especially if you use subheadings!
Using bullet points in a cover letter can be a powerful way to draw attention to your most important qualifications and accomplishments. As our article on using bullet points in a cover letter explains, bullet points can help your cover letter stand out and make a strong impression on potential employers.
Who Should I Address My Cover Letters To?
A: The people you’re writing to should be specifically named in job postings on websites or other sources of gaining employment opportunities (like LinkedIn).
You can also call up companies directly if you know someone who works there personally who might be able to recommend you for an opening or suggest someone else within their organization who might need help with their online presence strategy at some point down the road (i.e., SEO services).
2. What Is The Format Of A Cover Letter?
In a cover letter, you can use subheadings to break up your content and make it more readable. This is especially useful if you’re applying for a job that requires multiple skills or qualifications.
For example: “I am an expert at creating digital marketing campaigns” is more boring than “Digital Marketing Campaigns: My Expertise.” Or if you have a lot of experience in different areas, try including these sections as subheadings:
Business Operations (i.e., human resources management)
Customer Service/Marketing Communications
3. How Do You Write A Cover Letter For A Resume?
A cover letter, or “letter of introduction,” is a professional letter that accompanies your resume. It lets the employer know who you are and why you’re interested in your position. A cover letter should be short and sweet 2-3 paragraphs at most and written in a formal tone that reflects both respects for the company and confidence in your abilities.
Be specific about what position you’re applying for when writing your cover letter so it’s clear how you fit into the company’s needs (i.e., “I am seeking employment as an accountant at ABC Company.”)
Make sure to include relevant information about yourself such as experience and skills, volunteer work or extracurricular activities that demonstrate qualities such as leadership ability or teamwork skills, awards won, etcetera;
This will help demonstrate why they should hire YOU over other candidates who may have similar qualifications listed on their resumes but lack certain qualities specific only to YOU!
Just like subheadings in a cover letter, subheadings in a resume can help to organize your information and make it easier for employers to find what they’re looking for. For more information on using subheadings effectively, check out our guide on using subheadings in a resume.
4. How Do You End A Cover Letter?
Once you’ve worked your way down to the bottom of your letter, it’s time to leave some space at the bottom and type out a closing statement.
The closing statement is an opportunity for you to wrap up your letter by thanking the company for their time and reminding them why they should hire you. What this looks like will depend on who you’re applying to and what kind of job it is, but here are a few good examples:
“I look forward to speaking with someone about this position.”
“I’d love the chance to show off my skills in person.”
“Thank you again for this opportunity.”
5. Should I Use The Same Font On My Resume And Cover Letter?
You should use the same font throughout your resume and cover letter. The best fonts to use are:
Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri
Font size 11 or 12 (the larger the font size, the more space each line takes up on the page and the less space you have for content)
A readable font (no cursive writing!)
No decorative fonts
6. How Long Should Your Cover Letter Be?
This question is tricky because the answer depends on a few factors. If you’re applying for an entry-level position, no one will likely read beyond the first paragraph (if that).
But if you’re applying for a senior-level job or internship, then it’s more likely that your cover letter will be read in full. The key is to write a resume summary in which all of the important information stands out in bold so recruiters can quickly get an idea of what kind of person you are and whether they want to learn more about your experience and skill set.
If they decide they want to learn more about you, then they’ll probably read your entire application through until the end (or at least until they come across something else that catches their eye).
This means that when writing this part of your document, don’t make it too short, and also don’t make it too long either!
There’s no definite rule here because it depends on how much experience/education/skillset overlap there is between yourself and other applicants; however, I’ve found that most people only need 1-2 pages worth of content at most before things start getting repetitive.
7. Do You Sign A Cover Letter?
While you can leave your cover letter unsigned, it’s generally a good idea to sign it. If you do sign it, use your full name, not just your first name. For example:
It’s also a good idea to sign your cover letter in the same place on the page where you would sign a check or other document that requires an authorized signature.
This signifies authority and professionalism. You should always use a pen when signing any document that requires an authorized signature; never use pencils or pens with ballpoint tips (which are often advertised as “permanent”).
Changing fields can be a daunting prospect, but with the right approach, it’s possible to create a compelling cover letter that demonstrates your transferable skills and makes a strong case for why you’re a good fit for the job. Our guide on writing a cover letter when changing fields provides tips and strategies to help you make a successful transition to a new career path.
8. What Are Some Good Opening Sentences For A Cover Letter?
While the opening sentence is important, so is the paragraph that follows. While you should be specific about the job you are applying for and the company you are applying for, you should also specify what position or opportunity you are applying for. Other good openings include:
I am writing about your recent listing for an [job title]. I believe my experience and qualifications make me an excellent candidate for this role.
The attached resume details my professional experience over the past [number] years as a [job title]. My education includes a bachelor’s degree from [college name] in [subject area] with a GPA of 3.5/4.0
If you’re still having trouble with this part of your cover letter, consider using our Cover Letter Builder tool to help develop your unique style and format!
9. Is The Third Paragraph Of Your Cover Letter The Most Important One To Get Right, Or Is It The First Paragraph That Counts Most?
While the first paragraph of your cover letter introduces you and provides a little bit of information about what you can bring to the table, the third paragraph is where you close. It’s often referred to as “the closing paragraph” because it wraps up all your previous elements.
In other words, this is the part where you tell them why they should hire YOU! It shouldn’t be too difficult to do this because by now you should know who they are and what their needs are.
10. Does Your Resume And Cover Letter Have To Be Only 1 Page Each?
The short answer is no.
The long answer is that the length of your cover letter and resume will depend on the company you’re applying to, their preferences, and their hiring manager’s preferences.
In many cases, there are no hard-and-fast rules about how long these documents should be. The point of a cover letter is to introduce yourself and tell them why they should hire you.
Therefore, the goal shouldn’t be to make it as short as possible you want to convey your best qualities while being concise enough so they can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to read more about who you are and what sets you apart from other applicants.
Are cover letters really necessary? The answer may depend on the industry and the job you’re applying for, but in general, a well-crafted cover letter can help you stand out from other applicants and demonstrate your interest in the position. To learn more about the role of cover letters in the job application process, check out our article on whether cover letters are necessary.
11. Are There Any Rules About What To Include In A Subject Line Of An Email Message When Sending In Your Resume And Cover Letter As An Attachment?
Yes, there are rules you should follow when composing your email subject line. Be sure to include the job title and company name, along with the word “resume” or “cover letter,” so that it is clear what exactly you’re attaching. For example:
[Company Name] – [Job Title] – [Your Name], Resume Attached`
Don’t use a generic subject line like “resume” or “cover letter”! This could confuse someone into thinking they have a document from someone else instead of yours. Don’t use generic email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org either!
When it comes to the length of a cover letter, there’s no hard and fast rule – some employers may prefer shorter, more concise letters, while others may be more receptive to longer, more detailed ones. Our guide on how long a cover letter should be explores the pros and cons of different cover letter lengths and provides tips on how to strike the right balance between brevity and detail.
If you want to make sure that your cover letter is perfect, then make sure that you include all the information in it. You may also want to consider having someone else proofread it before sending it out into the world, as they will be able to point out any mistakes or grammar errors that might have slipped past unnoticed by yourself.
Cover Letters – University of Leicester Career Development Service: This comprehensive guide covers the basics of writing a cover letter, including tips on structure, content, and tone.
10 Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid – CareerOne: This article provides a list of common cover letter mistakes and tips on how to avoid them, from addressing the letter to the wrong person to using inappropriate language.
The 10 Cover Letter Don’ts – Fastweb: This article provides a list of 10 things to avoid when writing a cover letter, including using a generic salutation and failing to proofread.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document that accompanies a resume and provides additional information about the applicant’s skills, experience, and qualifications. It is typically sent to potential employers along with a resume as part of the job application process.
What should I include in a cover letter?
A cover letter should include a brief introduction, a summary of your relevant experience and qualifications, and a closing statement expressing your interest in the job and your willingness to follow up.
How long should a cover letter be?
A cover letter should typically be no longer than one page, and should be concise and to the point.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a cover letter?
Some common mistakes to avoid when writing a cover letter include using a generic salutation, failing to proofread, and including irrelevant or inappropriate information.
How can I make my cover letter stand out?
To make your cover letter stand out, try to tailor it to the specific job you are applying for, and highlight your most relevant skills and experience. Additionally, make sure to proofread your letter carefully and use a professional tone throughout.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.