Job hunting can be a very tiring task. It takes a lot to land the job that you want. You have to carefully craft your resume, search for job listings, and hope and pray that you get a callback. There is one thing that improves your chances of landing your dream job, but you might not have taken it as seriously, your cover letter. Yes, your cover letter carries a lot of weight and if you write the right stuff in it then your chances of getting a job increase ten-fold. In this article, we are going to tell you everything that you need to know about crafting the perfect cover letter.
Before we even start, you can skip straight to the end if you'd like and purchase the resume and cover letter template bundle. The bundle includes 6 different cover letters (and matching resume templates) that fit a variety of scenarios.
If you are game to keep reading, let’s begin.
What is the purpose of your cover letter?
Before going any further, we first need to understand why a cover letter is important. What is the purpose of a cover letter? Often times we fail to recognize that a cover letter is not another way to list your skills and experience, all of that is already on your resume. A cover letter is a chance for you to market yourself, sell yourself to the company that you want to work for. It is important to ponder on the purpose of a cover letter because if you know why you are writing the cover letter then you will be able to do a much better job of crafting a more impressive and attractive cover letter. Here is why you want to write a cover letter:
- Provide context for your resume
- Give additional insight into your professional background
- Market yourself
There you have it. You now know why you are writing a cover letter. Now you will be able to write a more effective cover letter that will tell the company that is thinking about hiring you, why you are the only perfect candidate for the job.
What are the different sections of a cover letter?
If you are writing a cover letter for the first time or are looking to improve your cover letter, then this
section is going to very helpful for you. You want your cover letter to look professional above all else. You can’t just randomly write a cover letter that has no format or professional feel. A cover letter is divided into 8 sections. (Again, go purchase the resume and cover letter template bundle here to see what a cover letter should to look like.) While you can decide which style or look you want to go for, the core sections of a cover letter remain the same. Here are the different sections of a cover letter:
- Your personal information – You are going to write your name, address, and phone number right at the top. Typically, this is written on the left margin.
- Date – Then you are going to write the date on which you send the cover letter.
- Contact person’s information – Here you are going to write the name of the person that you want to read the letter. Ideally, you want to write the name of the hiring manager. This will get your cover letter directly to them.
- Salutations – This is where you say “Dear Mr. XYZ”
- Opening Paragraph – Okay, so now we have gotten to the heart of the matter. Your opening paragraph is important as you want to pique the interest of the reader. Make sure to keep it to the point and direct. Ideally, you want to let the person you are addressing know how you got to know about the job opening in this paragraph.
- Middle Paragraph – Now that you have broken the ice in the second paragraph you want to get to work and start marketing yourself. Tell the reader about your skill set, experience, and how you are the perfect fit for this position.
- Second Middle Paragraph – This is the paragraph where you want to bring it all full circle. Tell the reader about what you can do for their company and how passionate you are about the job.
- Closing – Here you are going to end your cover letter by giving your contact information and thanking the reader for their time and considering your application.
These are the different sections that need to be in your cover letter if you want it to be professional and appealing to the hiring manager.
What should you include in your cover letter?
Okay. Now you know all the basics that you need to know about a cover letter. You know why you are writing, and you know how you are going to write it. Now, it is time to explore what are some of the essential things that are going to make your cover letter more effective and appealing. And what are things that you need to avoid? In order to make your cover letter more effective and generally better there are few key things that you would want to include such as:
When you are writing a cover letter for a job, you should research the company a little bit and add something that shows that you have put in some effort to learn about the organization that you want to work for. For example, if you are applying for a job at a newly opened location. Then mention that you have experience with newly opened locations before and know the intricacies that are associated with it.
You need to explain to the hiring manager why you want the job. Show them why you are passionate about it and what it means to you. If you are relatable then your chances of getting the job will increase.
Numbers and names
Include the name of the hiring manager. You can often find that out by a simple Google search. Not only do you want to make the letter personable make sure you also include specifics about yourself. If you are talking about your skills or experience, be specific. Let the hiring manager know exactly how many years of experience you have and how many clients you have dealt with. This will make your skills and experience seem more tangible which is a good thing.
Explain any red flags
If there is anything on your resume that you feel like could hurt your chances of landing the job then your cover letter is the perfect place to address them. Who knows, you might even be able to turn them into your strengths?
What should you exclude from your cover letter?
Yes, there are things that you should exclude from your cover letter. Avoid these topics altogether when writing a cover letter:
Anything that is false
You want to strictly steer clear of anything is untrue. It might cost you the chance of landing the job. Only include things that you can prove.
Do not talk about how much you are expecting to get as salary. Your cover letter should not mention anything about money.
Avoid bad-mouthing your past employers at all costs. (Hopefully you were able to carefully craft your resignation letter as you left your previous role. If not, grab my resignation template bundle and exit your current role with class). Including negative comments about any past employers in your cover letter is highly unprofessional, and it does not shine a good light on what kind of employee you are.
Long-term future plans
Do not mention that you might be using this job as a steppingstone and what you plan to do in the next 20 years. Talk about the now and right now all you need in your life is that job.
We hope that you find this article helpful and improve your cover letter using the information that we have discussed. Before we let you go, remember: keep your cover letter short, professional, and to the point. You are addressing a potential employer so keep that in mind when crafting your cover letter. Best of luck on your job hunt!
Apply this knowledge:
Do you have your cover letter ready to go but need to finish your resume? Grab my resume template bundle as well as my e-book on how to ace your resume and you will be ready to craft your resume so that you can get noticed and get hired.