A cover letter, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a letter that is sent with something to explain the reason for it or to give more information about it” and should always be included “with your résumé.” Typically, you write a cover letter when applying for jobs. In addition to a professional bio, you are going to want a stellar cover letter to wow your potential employers.
What’s the goal of your cover letter? Get interviews faster and more frequently! If it is abundantly clear to potential employers that YOU are the best person for the job, then they will want to get you in for an interview ASAP. Here’s how to write the best cover letter for your next job.
1. Your industry
Your cover letter will vary depending on the occupational industry in which you are applying. Different types of job industries include accounting and finance, real estate, teaching and education, and so forth. If you are interested in reviewing sample cover letters, check out this page.
The professional format should include:
- Margins that are 1″ to 1.5″.
- A professional-looking font sized 10 to 12 points.
- Left alignment.
- About a page-length of content—no longer!
- A header with your contact information, the employer’s contact information, and the date.
3. Contact Information
Your potential employer should to be able to contact you easily. Your contact information should be at the very top in the header and should include:
- First and Last Name
- Street Address
- City, State Zip
The salutation should include “Dr., Ms., Mrs., Mr.” and the name of the person the letter is addressed. According to Alison Doyle, if you don’t know the name of the individual hiring, write “Dear Hiring Manager,” which is more specific than the generic “To Whom It May Concern.”
In the opening paragraph, explain which position you are applying for, how you heard about the position, and a referral if you have one.
5. The Body
In the body of your letter, write about your experiences and expertise that are related to the job. You will want to include the following:
You want to tailor your letter to the job you are applying by using keywords from the original job posting. As a result, your potential employers will be able to see that you fit the requirements for the job.
Additionally, you will want to explain how you will add value to the company. Provide examples of accomplishments that you achieved in other jobs. You are expanding two or three points from your résumé and explaining why your past experiences are applicable for this new position.
Include quantifiable results. Megan Broussard argues, “Offer stats to illustrate your impact on companies or associations you’ve worked for in the past.”
Ultimately, answer these questions in your letter:
- Why am I a qualified candidate for this position?
- What work experience do I have that fits the job requirements in the company’s listing?
- Why do I want to work for this company specifically?
6. Wrap Up
In your final paragraph, you are concluding your cover letter. Include a call to action. Politely ask your potential employer to contact you and arrange a time for an interview. Be sure to thank the reader for their time and for you being considered for the position. Ending on a positive note is important.
Don’t forget to add your signature at the bottom, since this is a letter. If you include other documents, such as your résumé, you can write the word Enclosure below your signature.
7. Edits for the Cover Letter
Edit your cover letter! If you want to appear professional, it will need to be polished.
Need someone to edit or help write your cover letter? I’m here to help! With my experience, I can get you an A+ cover letter in no time. Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.