A cover letter is not only a supplement to your resume, but it also functions as a written handshake, giving you a chance to introduce yourself in a way that you can’t do through a resume alone.
Writing a successful cover letter may seem challenging, but it can be relatively simple as long as you know what to cover. With that in mind, here are seven things every cover letter should include.
1) A Proper Greeting
Whenever possible, address your cover letter to the hiring manager or another person who is reviewing your application. If this isn’t explicitly announced in the job description, try doing a little research to see if you can identify who it is. Addressing someone by name is always preferred over “to whom it may concern,” so see if you can figure out who will be receiving your letter, and write the opening greeting accordingly.
2) A Strong Introduction
Your first paragraph should serve as an overview of what you have to offer, including details about your job title, area of expertise, years of experience, and academic background. Ultimately, you want to clearly demonstrate that you meet the minimum qualifications for the position quickly, so make sure the major points are in the introduction.
3) Relevancy of Your Most Recent Experience
The second paragraph should focus on how your current or most recent employment, or, in the case of recent college graduates, education and internships, are applicable to the job. Make sure to highlight experiences or accomplishments that directly relate to the role, as this helps demonstrate your value to the hiring manager.
4) A Moment to Shine
Once you’ve covered the basic, take a paragraph to really “wow” the hiring manager. Include a few of your most impressive achievements, which you can list as bullet points, to subtly boast about what you do best and how you’ve contributed to other companies during your career. Whenever possible, quantify your results, as clear numbers are typically more impactful.
5) An Examination of the Company
After establishing that you are a great candidate for the role, take a moment to show that you are also an excellent fit for the business. Do a little research to learn about the company’s culture, mission, and values, and speak to how your personal traits would allow you to integrate seamlessly into the environment.
Your cover letter needs to have a strong conclusion that pulls everything together. This traditionally isn’t the place for new information. Instead, thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration, and add that you look forward to meeting them or discussing the opportunity further. Ultimately, this paragraph will be fairly short, as it is focused on demonstrating your appreciation and interest, and nothing more.
7) Contact Information
When you sign off on your cover letter, you want to make sure to include your email address and preferred phone number along with your signature. This ensures the hiring manager can contact you with ease if they want to schedule you for an interview and, if your cover letter accidentally gets separated from your resume, makes it easier to formally connect your cover letter to the rest of your application.
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