You’ve written a resume that conveys your experience and qualifications in a clear, concise manner. Now it’s time to send it out into the world!
But before you hit “send” on your email or post it on Monster.com, there’s one more important piece of the job-seeking puzzle: the cover letter.
The cover letter is an introduction to the resume, but so many people don’t realize that they have to write one and then tweak it for every single job they apply for.
In this article we’ll go over everything you need to know about writing a killer cover letter (including what makes one stand out), plus give some examples of letters that landed their writers interviews and offers.
|A well-written cover letter can help you stand out from other job applicants.
|Cover letters should be tailored to each job application to highlight relevant skills and experiences.
|Including a cover letter, even if it’s not required, can show initiative and interest in the job.
|Cover letters should be concise, one page or less, and include an introduction, why you’re interested in the job, how your skills match the requirements, and a conclusion.
|Personal information should not be included in a cover letter.
Why Do You Want This Job ?
A cover letter is an opportunity to explain why you are a good match for the job. Explain how your skills and experience will help the company, and discuss how your personality will fit in with the culture of the business.
Talk about what you like about the company and its products or services.
Tell them why you feel they are so successful, and how they could do even better by hiring someone like you.
Describe any connections (professional or personal) that might help them understand why hiring a person like yourself would be beneficial to both parties.
Whether or not a cover letter is necessary can be a confusing question, but our guide on do I need a cover letter provides insights into when a cover letter might be required, and when it might not be necessary.
Why Should We Hire You ?
As you write this section, you want to try and prove that you are the best person for the job. In other words, make sure that your cover letter clearly explains why you would be an asset to their company.
Do not simply say why they should hire YOU. Instead, try saying how YOU will help THEM grow as a company or individual by joining their team.
You want to show off what makes YOU unique (your skills, talents) and explain how those skills can benefit them specifically in regards to their goals and objectives as a business or organization.
What Are Your Strengths?
Your cover letter should be an opportunity for you to tell the hiring manager about your strengths. Think of it as a mini-resume, in which you can highlight specific skills or attributes that make you stand out from other candidates.
But instead of listing all your accomplishments, focus on just one or two things: how do these areas align with the company’s needs and goals?
If someone was reading through hundreds of applications for a position at their company and found yours particularly interesting because it focused on customer service skills, they might ask more questions about those specific qualities when they meet in person!
More often than not, people who have been successful in their careers have learned how to use their strengths to their advantage and then worked hard at improving weaknesses where necessary.
For example: if someone has always had trouble making sales calls but knows enough about marketing trends so that she could talk intelligently about product features during those calls (and maybe even show off some results from past campaigns), does this mean she should stop trying so hard?
Of course not! Instead, she should continue making herself aware of what works well for her personality type
If there are certain types of clients who respond better than others depending upon circumstances like location or budget constraints etcetera ad nauseam then maybe consider adapting accordingly until finding something more effective overall within whatever parameters exist today.”
Writing a cover letter can be a daunting task, but with our expert advice on how to write a cover letter, you’ll learn how to structure your cover letter, what to include, and how to stand out from the crowd.
What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
I’ve seen many cover letters that tell me a candidate’s weakness is their inability to follow instructions. This is not a weakness; it’s a strength!
If they are so good at following instructions, then presumably they will be able to perform the tasks outlined in the job description with ease. It’s like saying that you’re bad at math, when in fact you’re actually good at it it just wasn’t relevant to the job description.
Another common example I see is “I’m a perfectionist.” Perfectionism isn’t necessarily a bad thing; however, if someone tells me this as their greatest weakness, I’ll assume they consider themselves too invested in details and accuracy.
That’s not necessarily bad for every organization or role (like legal), but it could be problematic for other fields where creativity and risk-taking are valued more highly than precision and thoroughness.
Tell Me About Your Work Experience
If you want to put your best foot forward, you must be prepared to answer this question. In order to do so, include:
Your experience. What have you done? Include the responsibilities of each position and how it relates to the job that you’re applying for. Also include any accomplishments or awards related to your previous positions.
If a skill is required for the job description but wasn’t required in your previous positions, make sure that you mention it in one way or another (for example: “I took an Excel course…”).
Your education level and certifications if applicable (e.g., Microsoft certification).
Any other experience that could help explain why someone should hire them (e.g., being actively involved with an organization where they gained leadership skills).
Training received from previous employers related specifically back to this position (e.g., training on project management software).
Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?
You should explain why you are leaving your current job. Was the company sold or did you and the company part ways? Are there any circumstances that led to your departure, such as an incident with a manager or having some serious troubles with a coworker?
If so, be sure to explain what happened and how it affected your time at work while still keeping things professional.
You should also explain what you learned from this experience and how it will help make you a better employee moving forward. If possible, try to include personal examples of what happened and how they would apply in this new position if hired (for example: “I learned that my time management skills need improvement because I was often late for meetings.”).
In a competitive job market, a cover letter can make all the difference. Our guide on do cover letters help provides tips on how to write an effective cover letter and increase your chances of getting an interview.
Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?
The first thing to keep in mind when answering this question is that it’s not so much about what you want to do, but rather what the company wants from you. Your answer should be geared towards addressing the company’s needs and expectations.
Your response should be more than a list of skills or tasks you can perform. It should also include some insight into how these skills and tasks will help achieve certain business goals. If there are any gaps between what the company expects and your abilities, make sure to explain how those can be bridged over time you may not be ready for everything at once!
What Are Your Salary Expectations?
You also need to find out what the salary range is for your position. You can do this by looking at other jobs in your industry and seeing how much people are being paid for similar positions. You should also research the company you’re applying for, as they may have different salary structures than other companies in your field.
Asking about salary expectations might feel uncomfortable, but it’s important that you do so upfront. When hiring managers ask candidates how much they expect to be paid, they want to make sure that you are within their budget and will be a good fit for their organization.
If you don’t know what kind of pay grade is appropriate for yourself or if there isn’t enough information on salaries in your area, look at job descriptions and talk with friends who work in similar fields like yours about what people make around where you live.
What Motivates You?
You are the only one who can motivate yourself, so you need to know what motivates your heart. Do you get a rush from helping others? Maybe it’s because you want to build something amazing and see the results of all your hard work.
Or maybe it’s just about getting a paycheck at the end of the week, or paying off debt as quickly as possible. Whatever makes you tick, let me encourage you: take time each day (or week) to sit back and reflect on what motivates YOU!
I would love to help others discover their own personal motivation so they can start seeing results in their lives!
Not all jobs require a cover letter, but it’s important to know when to include one. Check out our guide on do all jobs require a cover letter to learn more about when you should include a cover letter in your job application.
What Makes You Unique?
Why are you the best candidate for this job? In your cover letter, explain what makes you unique. What makes you different from other candidates? How can you add value to the company?
What types of things are we looking for in a candidate that make them stand out from the crowd? The more specific and detailed your answer, the better. (For example: “I am an expert in WordPress and have multiple years of experience working with developers on custom programming projects)
How Do You Handle Stress And Pressure?
This is a great question because it gives you the chance to explain how you handle stress and pressure. Do you keep your cool, or do you get flustered?
Keep in mind that this part of your cover letter should be written very carefully. You want to make sure that no one can tell that it was written by an inexperienced applicant who doesn’t know what they are doing (this will turn off many employers/recruiters).
If they think that, then it’s likely that they won’t want to hire someone who may mess up at work and cost them money!
The easiest way to do this is using examples from previous jobs where there were high levels of pressure; this shows employers that not only can handle stress well but also improves their chances of getting hired for the job.
Tell Me About A Time You Failed
At the end of the day, failure is simply a part of life. It’s how you deal with said failures that matters.
I’ve had my fair share of failures over the years some big and some small and each time it was an opportunity for me to learn something new about myself or my industry. When I failed at learning how to properly wire an electrical outlet, I learned how important it is for me to research what needs doing before beginning work on a project.
When I failed at making friends in college quickly enough, I learned that there are plenty more fish in the sea and just because someone doesn’t like you now doesn’t mean they won’t tomorrow! These types of lessons don’t come up during casual conversation; they require failure as motivation for self-reflection and growth.
When writing your response about a time when you failed (or were challenged), be sure not only include what happened but also why these circumstances were so challenging for you personally. This will help potential employers understand not only who they’re hiring but also give them insight into what kind of person they will be working with if hired by this company!
When Can You Start?
Unless you’re applying for your dream job, be honest with yourself. If you need more time to prepare, do it. The last thing you want to do is make a promise of when you can start if it’s not feasible and come back next week asking for an extension or another chance.
If you can’t commit to starting on Monday because of something like childcare issues or what have you, don’t say so in your cover letter (include that info in the cover email instead). You may seem flaky or indecisive by doing this, which is not what employers want from their new hires!
If you’re wondering whether a cover letter is worth the effort, the answer is yes! Our guide on does a cover letter make a difference explains how a well-crafted cover letter can set you apart from other candidates and help you land the job.
Why Should We Hire You Over Another Applicant?
As a hiring manager, I am constantly receiving cover letters that say something like “I’m the best candidate for this job because I have experience doing X.” And while it’s true that your previous work experience can help you stand out from other applicants, there are also many other factors to consider when determining whether or not you should be considered for an open position.
For example: Have you worked with these people before? If so, did those relationships end on good terms? Will they be willing to vouch for your character and commitment in the face of adversity (which happens often in tech)?
Do you know anyone who works at my company? Can we connect on LinkedIn? Do any of my friends know someone who knows someone else who works here…and if so, could they put in a good word for me before our interview date rolls around?
These questions may seem silly or ridiculous and maybe they are but they matter just as much as what you do outside of work hours because they show off traits that make up who YOU are as an employee and person (i.e., communication skills).
So if we happen upon each other in person during a networking event or conference where both companies are represented then chances are pretty high that we will recognize each other (if only by name).
What Can You Add To This Company?
When you’re drafting your cover letter, take a moment to consider what the company wants and needs. What are they looking for in their employees?
Are they an innovative company that thrives on passion, creativity, and innovation? If so, show your passion by describing how much you love working with customers who are excited about the product or service being offered. That’s all a hiring manager wants to see!
If this is not the case and let’s face it, not every job seeker will be working in an environment that aligns perfectly with his or her values then perhaps it’s best to keep things simple.
In this case, focus on telling the truth about yourself and what matters most when considering potential employment opportunities: why do you want this job?
What experience do you have that makes you qualified for it? If there are any gaps in your resume (or career history), how can those be explained away by highlighting other areas where strengths lie instead?
Describe A Typical Work Week
How long is your work day?
How do you spend your days?
What are the goals of the position?
Who else is on the team, and what are their roles and responsibilities?
What’s the culture like in this environment, both in terms of its location (i.e., an office building vs. a warehouse), as well as its specific duties (i.e., sales vs. accounting)? Is it collaborative or competitive?
Does it require traveling frequently between different locations around town or internationally; how much time do you spend working remotely each week?
If a lot of travel is involved, be sure to mention this part specifically in your cover letter you want hiring managers to know that they won’t have to worry about making arrangements for you while they’re away!
How Long Will It Take You To Make A Significant Contribution?
A common question that interviewers ask is, “How long will it take you to make a significant contribution?”
What they’re really asking here is: Do you have the ability to learn and apply what we teach you? Can you get up to speed quickly so that we can get your contributions going? If not, how long will it take for this person’s contributions to be meaningful?
This question is intended to help determine how well suited the candidate would be for the job. They want to know if he or she has what it takes to hit the ground running and make a difference right away.
The cover letter is a way to introduce yourself and convince employers that you’re the right person for the job. It should be tailored to each position and include information about your relevant experience, skills, and qualifications.
The length of a cover letter will vary depending on who you are applying for position with but it should never exceed two pages.
Do Employers Care About Cover Letters?: Learn why cover letters are important to employers and how they can help you stand out from other candidates.
Should You Include a Cover Letter if it’s Not Required?: This article explores the benefits of including a cover letter even if it’s not required in the job posting.
Are Cover Letters Necessary?: Find out why cover letters are still relevant in today’s job market and how they can help you land the job you want.
Why are cover letters important?
Cover letters are important because they allow you to showcase your qualifications and explain why you’re the best fit for the job. They can also demonstrate your writing and communication skills to employers.
What should I do if the job posting doesn’t mention a cover letter?
Even if a cover letter is not required in the job posting, it’s still a good idea to include one. A well-written cover letter can demonstrate your interest in the job and help you stand out from other candidates.
How do I make my cover letter stand out?
To make your cover letter stand out, tailor it to the specific job and company. Highlight relevant skills and experiences that make you the best fit for the job, and use specific examples to demonstrate your qualifications.
How long should a cover letter be?
A cover letter should be concise and to the point, typically no longer than one page. Be sure to include all the necessary information, such as an introduction, why you’re interested in the job, how your skills match the requirements, and a conclusion.
Should I include personal information in my cover letter?
No, you should not include personal information such as your age or marital status in your cover letter. Stick to relevant professional information that demonstrates your qualifications for the job.
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.