Including a cover letter when applying for a job gives you a critical opportunity to highlight your qualifications for the position, express your personality, and convince the reader that you’re perfect for the position. A great cover letter can catch a potential employer’s attention and get you in the door, so make sure you put in the time and effort to do your best work.
My top cover letter tips:
- Write a cover letter whenever you have the option, especially if it’s not required. This will help you stand out from other candidates.
- If a cover letter is required, read the job posting carefully to see if any specific information is requested and make sure you provide that information in your letter.
- Make sure your letter is no more than one page in length and follows proper business correspondence formatting.
- Do your research on the company and the position before you start writing. Make sure you demonstrate your understanding in your letter.
- If possible, address your cover letter to a person by name. Do some detective work to see if you can find the name of the manager or recruiter.
My favorite way to structure a cover letter uses three paragraphs, each with a specific purpose. This helps limit the letter to one page while ensuring that you make the most of that limited space!
Express your interest in the position. Make any connections to the reader or the company – have you met before or do you have a contact in common? Do you have a personal connection to the mission and goals of the organization?
Support your candidacy for the position using the most relevant examples from your past work and life experiences. Don’t repeat information from your resume, but do use this opportunity to mention additional details that are not included in your resume. Demonstrate your qualification for the position through real-life examples. Make sure to connect examples to the job posting using key words.
Close your letter with a call to action, encouraging the reader to follow up with you. Include your contact information, including email address and phone number, and invite the reader to contact you to further discuss your qualifications for the position. You can also indicate that you plan to follow up (include how and when you plan to do so). If you do this, make sure you follow through.
Boston University’s Center for Career Development has an awesome example of a cover letter, and you can click on each of the different sections for more information.
Have you written or received a great cover letter? Do you have your own tips and strategies for writing a cover letter? Share your experience in the comments below!