We know what you’re thinking: Cover letters are such a hassle. We get it but, writing a cover letter gives you the chance to show employers who you are and why you are the right person for the job. It can be difficult to know what to include and how to structure your letter, but by following this guide, you can conquer every cover letter!
- First, always start with a header that includes your name, address, and contact information. You want your header to be aligned on the top left of your page Here’s an example:
123 Working Drive Apt. 4G New York, NY, 10023
(123) 456 – 2345
2. Addressing The Letter
- If you are unsure of the name of the hiring manager or person you are writing to, use something like, “To Whom it May Concern,” or “Dear Hiring Manager,”
- If you do know the name of the person you are contacting, use Ms. Mr. or Mrs. with their last name. For example, “Dear Ms. Hendersen,”
- Pro tip: try your best to find out who the hiring manager is so that you can address them rather than sending a generic opening sentence. LinkedIn is a great place to find the name of the hiring manager!
3. Introduce Yourself
It is important to make who you are and what your intentions are very clear in the beginning of your letter. Your first few sentences should include:
- your current occupation (What are you doing at the moment?) For example, student, intern, camp counselor, prospective college student, etc.
- what position you are interested in
- why you are interested in that position
4. Do your research and showcase it!
Your cover letter is a chance to impress the hiring manager. By researching the company and the position, you can find what aspects of your experience are best to highlight. Then, you can use specific language from the job description and company website to explain your experience. For example, if the job description for a marketing position calls for a candidate who is good at working with people, you should include how your past experience in retail or as a hospital volunteer helped you develop professional interpersonal skills. This will show the hiring manager how your experience fits the company’s specific needs. You should also use your research to tell the hiring manager what excites you about the chance to work for their company.
5. Expand on the skills and experience on your resume.
Your cover letter should tell the hiring manager how your skills and experience would benefit them. They are not interested in what you are hoping to gain, rather, what they can gain from hiring you! Explain how the skills and experience listed on your resume can help them by referring to the job description. For example, if the job description says that the company is looking for a team player, talk about a specific time in either school or other work experience, where you showcased being a team player. Hiring managers want to see you backup your claims with real life examples. Don’t tell us you are a team player; show us!
6. Say “Thank You”
Showing appreciation for the reader’s time and consideration shows that you understand how valuable their time is and that you understand that they have many other applications to look through. Including something along the lines of “Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.” at the end of your cover letter can help leave the hiring manager with a positive feeling about your application and help you stick in their mind when they think of applicants who stuck out to them. Once you thank the reader, all you need to do is add your signature, double check for grammar and spelling errors, and you’re done!