A cover letter is your first chance to make an impression on a potential employer, so it must stand out in the pile of applications they receive.
A well-written one will help you get noticed, but there are a lot of mistakes that can sabotage your chances of getting hired. To help you avoid these pitfalls and write a winning cover letter, we’ve put together this guide with everything you need to know about writing one.
|Customize your cover letter to the job you’re applying for.
|Keep your cover letter concise and focused, and no longer than one page.
|Highlight your skills and experiences that align with the job requirements.
|Address your cover letter to the right person.
|Use your cover letter to showcase your enthusiasm for the position.
Step 1: Make A List Of Your Work Experience And Skills
- Make a list of your work experience and skills.
- Include your resume, education, skills, job history, and references.
- Include as much detail about each position as possible (e.g., when you were in the office or on vacation).
- List the contact information for people who can vouch for you (i.e., former colleagues or supervisors).
When addressing a cover letter, it’s important to include the company’s address to make it more personalized and professional. Learn more about the do’s and don’ts of addressing a cover letter with our guide on including the company address for a successful job application.
Step 2: Research Companies And Find Their Needs
Once you’ve identified the companies you want to apply to, it’s important to understand how they operate and what they’re looking for.
Read the job description carefully and make sure it matches your experience and skills.
Look at the company website, especially its mission statement, values statement, annual reports (if they have them), social media channels, and investor materials (if any).
These will give you an idea of what this company stands for as a whole and how they communicate with others internally or externally. You can also see if there are any recent changes in leadership or other development that might affect your application process or decision-making within the organization.
Scan through some of their products or services; take note of what works well for them or doesn’t work well for them based on reviews from customers/clients/employees etcetera. Reviewing this information will help guide future communication between yourself and whoever ends up reading through your cover letter during the application process
Step 3: Write About The Specific Role And Company
After you’ve written a draft of your cover letter, it’s time to take a look at the job description. The more thoroughly you can match your qualifications and experience with the requirements listed in this document, the better. Think about how your skills align with what they’re looking for from a candidate and make sure to include those things in your cover letter.
In particular, pay attention to
What they’re seeking in terms of experience or knowledge. Do any of these areas sound like something you’d be able to offer? If so, talk about it! You can include some examples if they would help illustrate how well-suited you are for this role.
Company culture. If there’s anything specific that stands out about their cultures like their focus on employee happiness or work/life balance mentioning this will show that not only do you understand what working there will be like but also how excited (or relieved) you are by those characteristics!
Mission statement(s). Many companies have short declarations outlining their overall goals as an organization; check out both Glassdoor and the company website to find them if available (if not, just go ahead and ask). Mentioning any similar goals that exist within yours could help convince them that hiring someone like yourself would be mutually beneficial
A cover letter and a resume have different purposes and structures. While a resume highlights your skills and experiences, a cover letter allows you to showcase your personality and enthusiasm for the job. Check out our career advice on how a cover letter is different from a resume to help you craft a compelling cover letter that complements your resume.
Step 4: Revise Your Letter For Each Application
Now that you have a draft of your cover letter, it’s time to revise it. For each application, make sure that the information in your letter corresponds with the job description and position you are applying for. Make sure you also include the name of the person who is hiring and who referred you.
Once all of this information has been addressed, review your revised letter carefully one last time before sending it off!
Step 5: Don’t Forget To Add A Postscript
A postscript is a short paragraph at the end of your letter that explains why you are writing. It can be used to explain why you are writing, or it can be used to discuss any questions that came up while reading the job description.
For example, if you have a question about whether there will be any training available for the job, use this section as an opportunity to ask it!
If there isn’t any training available for this position but there is for another position at the same company, feel free to mention that here as well
“I noticed in my research that this role does not offer training; however I see another role in your company listed here with ‘training’ under its requirements and qualifications.”
Formatting your cover letter correctly is crucial to make a positive first impression to potential employers. Learn more about how a cover letter should look like with our career advice on how a cover letter should be and create a professional and well-organized cover letter that stands out.
What To Include In A Cover Letter
- Name, address, phone number, and email address
- Name of the company you’re applying to and the job title you are applying for.
- Why you want to work there (or why this job is important to you).
What makes you a good fit for the role and what you can offer the company? Try not to make it generic though! Instead of saying “I have excellent communication skills,” explain how your experience with x task has given you those skills.
Any other relevant information like previous work experience or school projects that emphasize your skills in this field?
How To Structure A Cover Letter
A cover letter should be structured like a mini-resume. In the opening paragraph, you should include the same information that is in your resume: your name, address, phone number, and email address; company name and job title; employer’s name and contact person’s details (if available).
In the second paragraph, you can highlight relevant experience gained at other employers (if this was not included in the first paragraph).
In the third paragraph focus on why you are applying for this particular position. This is an opportunity to sell yourself by including keywords from the job description or highlighting any other skills which will make you a good fit for this role.
A resume and a cover letter are essential documents that can make or break your job application. They provide employers with insights into your qualifications, experiences, and personality. Read our career advice on how a resume and cover letter can make or break a potential applicant to learn more about the importance of these documents in landing your dream job.
You Should Also Include A Few Of These Key Skills In Your Cover Letter
You should also include a few of these key skills in your cover letter. These are:
Communication skills. If you’ve been asked to write a cover letter, chances are that the hiring manager or recruiter has seen your resume and knows at least some of what you can do.
But it’s still important to mention communication skills on your cover letter so that there’s no confusion about what kind of employee you’ll be if hired for this position.
You might say something like, “I am a strong communicator who can clearly explain complex ideas and convey them through concise writing.”
This shows that you can take complicated information and break it down into digestible pieces for others to understand as well as be able to speak directly with people in person or over the phone.
Problem-solving skills. The purpose of most work is to solve problems whether they’re big-picture issues like how best to grow an organization or small-scale problems related directly back to day-to-day tasks (like having no printer paper).
As someone who works well under pressure, here’s how one candidate expressed their problem-solving ability: “In my current role I have often been tasked with resolving difficult issues between cross-departmental teams without wasting time or resources.”
You could also mention any awards won for being creative with solutions when faced with difficult situations at work (like our second example).
A well-crafted cover letter can significantly increase your chances of getting hired. It provides you with an opportunity to showcase your writing skills, demonstrate your interest in the job, and explain why you are the perfect fit for the position. Check out our career advice on how an effective cover letter can affect your job application to learn more about how to make a lasting impression on potential employers.
How Long Should A Cover Letter Be?
While there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to how long a cover letter should be, one page is the standard length. If you have more than 10 years of experience, however, your cover letter might need to be longer.
But don’t worry if you feel like yours is too short; some recruiters would rather read short letters than verbose ones that get off topic or include information they already know. It’s also perfectly acceptable for your cover letter to live on its own in the body of an email (which is especially helpful if you’re applying via your phone).
It’s important to remember that cover letters aren’t just a formality. They’re an opportunity to prove that you have what it takes to be a great candidate. Don’t take this task lightly!
Here are some additional resources to help you write an effective cover letter:
7 Tips for Writing a Winning Cover Letter: This article provides helpful tips on how to write a cover letter that stands out and impresses potential employers.
How to Write a Cover Letter: This comprehensive guide offers step-by-step instructions on how to write a cover letter that showcases your skills and experiences.
How to Write a Cover Letter: This Harvard Business Review article offers valuable insights on how to write a compelling cover letter that helps you stand out from other applicants.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document that accompanies your resume and provides potential employers with additional information about your qualifications and experiences. It typically includes an introduction, a summary of your skills and experiences, and a closing statement.
Why do I need a cover letter?
A cover letter allows you to introduce yourself to potential employers and explain why you are the best fit for the position. It provides you with an opportunity to showcase your writing skills, demonstrate your interest in the job, and explain how your experiences align with the requirements of the job.
What should I include in a cover letter?
A cover letter should include an introduction, a summary of your skills and experiences, and a closing statement. You should also customize your cover letter to the job you are applying for, research the company and job requirements, and showcase your enthusiasm for the position.
How long should a cover letter be?
A cover letter should be no longer than one page. It should be concise, focused, and highlight your most important skills and experiences that align with the job requirements.
How do I address a cover letter?
It’s important to address your cover letter to the right person. If the job listing provides the name of the hiring manager, address your letter to that person. If the name is not provided, do some research to find out the name of the hiring manager or use a generic salutation such as “Dear Hiring Manager.”
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.