Updated: May 14
Looking for a new job is no fun for anyone. It's no fun scouring the internet for job openings, polishing up your resume, or preparing for difficult interviews. Writing an excellent cover letter is the most difficult part of the process for many people. With so much conflicting information, it's hard to know where to start. Is such a cover letter absolutely necessary, especially if you are applying online?
The answer is almost always yes. If you are applying online and cannot attach any other documents to your application, you should still include your cover letter whenever possible.
Your cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills.
The following guide will walk you through the process of writing an excellent cover letter that will help you stand out from other applicants.
Step One: Do your research.
Before you start writing your cover letter, do some research on the company and the job you are applying for. Take some time to read the job description and the specifics of the position, including the knowledge and skills applicants are expected to have, as well as the company's mission statement, values and goals. You can also follow company executives on social media, such as LinkedIn and Twitter. This information will give you clues as to what is expected of an applicant and allow you to show how well you fit with the company. You want to come across as someone who is genuinely passionate about the company and the job.
Step Two: Draft a custom cover letter.
Now that you have done your research, it's time to start drafting your cover letter. The first step is to address the cover letter to the right person. Start with a formal salutation such as "Dear Mr./Mrs." followed by the hiring manager's last name. Do not just send the letter off with "To Whom It May Concern." This will show that you did not take the time to do your research. If you are not sure who to contact, try to find out before you draft your letter. You can call the company or check their website.
Your cover letter should focus on what you would do for the company in the future. It is your chance to explain your experience in your resume that would help you achieve excellent results if you were hired for the job. Once you have addressed the cover letter, it is time to start writing.
Step Three: Start with an attention-grabbing opening line.
Explain why you are writing in the first paragraph and give a brief overview, but it should grab the hiring manager's attention. You can begin by expressing your excitement about why this job and company are of interest to you and what you would bring to the company. Your preface should be tailored to the job you are applying for. For example, if you saw a job ad seeking a web developer with experience, begin your letter by saying, "I am an experienced web developer with more than ten years of experience and look forward to meeting with you to demonstrate my skills and enthusiasm for joining your web development and design team."
If you have a personal connection to the company because someone recommended you, for example, you should mention that in the first line as well. This will immediately set you apart from other applicants and show that you are taking the opportunity seriously.
Step Four: Highlight your qualifications and skills.
The next section of your cover letter should be dedicated to highlighting your qualifications and skills. Remember to use specific examples when possible. If the job ad mentions that they are looking for a detail-oriented person, describe when you went above and beyond on a project and made sure every detail was attended to. If the job ad is looking for someone with strong customer service skills, tell a story about how you solved a difficult problem for a customer.
By showing that you have the qualities and skills the employer is looking for, you increase your chances of being invited for an interview. So take some time to really think about what the employer is looking for and how you can best show that you have those qualities. This part of your cover letter is key to making a good impression on the hiring manager.
You should also show your enthusiasm, as if this is your dream job, without overstating it. You should remain authentic and not give the impression that you are desperate. So make sure that your tone is professional.
Step Five: Close with a call to action.
After highlighting your qualifications and skills, it's time to close your cover letter with a call to action. This is where you tell the recruiter what you want them to do next.
Do you want them to call you for an interview?
Would you like them to check out your website or blog?
Would you like them to read your latest article?
Whatever it is, be specific and clear about what you want the recruiter to do.
And that's it! Now you have written a great cover letter that will increase your chances of getting an interview. Keep it short, concise and to the point.