How to: Write a Successful Cover LetterThe application process for jobs and interviews can be extremely stressful and time-consuming, especially when you’re trying to balance life, school, and other activities. When it comes to writing a cover letter, there doesn’t seem to be a right answer. One person may write their cover letters to be overly descriptive, while another person may keep theirs as minimal as possible. With a variety of different styles and formats of cover letters in today’s day and age, Our First Job Search is here to teach you how to write a cover letter that will end up in the hands of the employer and reduce the stress and confusion associated with cover letters.
Once you have finished altering your resume to fit the needs of the job posting, it’s time to start your cover letter. You should start by finding the name of the employee that posted the job posting for the position you’re applying for. If the name of the person who posted the job posting isn’t available, you should do some research and find a company recruiter, or a person working in the department related to the position you’re applying for. A good way to go about this research is to use sites such as LinkedIn.
Once you have found the name of the person to address your cover letter to, you need to find the address of the company you’re applying to. If the address is not listed on the job posting, a quick search on google should suffice, but make sure if the company you’re applying to has multiple offices in different cities that you use the address the correlates to the city the job posting was posted for.
Now that you have an employee to address in your cover letter and an address for the company, it’s time to add them to your cover letter. At the top left side of your document, you should list the date, the name of the person you are addressing in your cover letter followed by their job title, and lastly the company’s address. Next, start the body of your cover letter directly addressing the reader of the cover letter by saying, “Dear Mr./Mrs. _____.” It is extremely important to use proper nouns when addressing the reader and if the person you are addressing is a female and you are unsure if she is married, it is always best to use Ms. instead of Mrs.
Now that you have properly addressed the reader of your cover letter, it’s time to tell them a little bit about yourself and the position you are applying for. It’s important to grab the reader’s attention in the first paragraph, so starting off with some of your achievements is a good idea. However, if this is your first job or internship, it can be hard to relate some of your achievements to the position you’re applying for. In this case, state the job you’re applying for, why you’re interested and state that due to your skills and experience, you would make a great fit for this position in the last sentence.
After you have finished your opening paragraph and stated why your skills and experience make you a good fit, it’s time to talk about how your skills and experience make you a perfect candidate. This is the time to discuss your skills that were strengthened in your past roles, and how your experience relates to what their company is looking for. However, remember to keep your paragraph short and concise, cover letters are mostly skimmed through and having a lengthy cover letter can ruin your opportunity!
Moving onto your next paragraph, your goal is to explain why you would be a good match for their company. This is your opportunity to get creative! Do you have a burning passion for the retail industry and that’s why you’re applying to Ralph Lauren? Tell them! Does their job posting require you to be creative? Tell them that you write your own songs and music! Does your job require you to travel quarterly, both internationally and nationally? Tell them about how you love traveling and have been to cool places like Dubai! Do you love their products and have similar core values that they do? Tell them! Get creative and convince them why you’re such a good fit for this position, but like the last paragraph, be short and concise.
Once you have crafted your paragraph on why you’re a good match for the company, it’s time to form a formal closing paragraph. In this final part of your cover letter, you should sum up everything that you talked about in your cover letter and wrap it up with a call to action. For instance, if you were applying to an Assistant Buyer job at Ralph Lauren, you would state:
“Considering my experience in the retail industry, along with my enthusiasm and unique love for Ralph Lauren, I would make an exceptional fit for the Assistant Buyer position at Ralph Lauren. I welcome the opportunity to further discuss how I can benefit your team in this role and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (123) -456-7890. I will contact you next Wednesday to follow up on my application at Ralph Lauren and arrange an interview.”
In this paragraph, you concluded that once again, you’re a perfect candidate for the position, you are a good match due to your love for the industry, and you restated the position you’re applying for. Additionally, adding your contact information in the final paragraph encourages them to reach out, and even if they don’t, you tell them you plan on reaching out to them to follow up. Stating this shows initiative and following through proves you are the person you say you are, so follow up!
The second to last step in writing your cover letter is to thank the reader for their time and consideration and use the proper formal closing. Being a formal letter, it’s best to use formal closings such as best regards, kind regards, sincerely, or something along those lines.
Finally, the last step is to proofread your cover letter. This is extremely important and shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’re applying for a position that requires attention to detail and you have typos in your cover letter, you’re giving them a clear sign that you don’t have attention to detail. It’s best to read your cover letter over at least three different times throughout your day, send it to a friend or family member to look over, or use grammar checking sites such as grammarly.com. Do all three and once it seems perfect, read over it one more time.