Welcome to the cover letter writing guide! Your cover letter is a vital part of the job application process as it serves as an introduction to you and should entice prospective employers to turn the page and review your resume. In this guide, we will discuss the importance of a cover letter and provide you with tips and tricks to help you craft an effective one.
Your Cover Letter Serves as an Introduction to You
When applying for a job, your cover letter is often the first impression an employer will have of you. It is your opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you are the best candidate for the job. Your cover letter should be delivered as an attached document and not an email (unless e-mail correspondence has been requested). It should be addressed to the most important employer contact, the hiring manager, and should indicate which position you are pursuing and how you learned of the opportunity.
Things to Remember
Here are some key points to remember when crafting your cover letter:
- Answer the question, "Why should I hire you?" by summarizing the skills and experience you have that are closely related to the position requirements.
- Review the job description carefully. Use it as a reference to personalize your cover letter to the position.
- Use the cover letter template to get started and have your cover letter reviewed by a Career Advisor!
Do's and Don'ts of Cover Letter Writing
To help you avoid common mistakes, here are some do's and don'ts of cover letter writing:
- DO NOT exceed one page.
- DO NOT handwrite your letter.
- DO NOT repeat what is in the resume.
- DO NOT use pre-printed form letters.
- DO NOT have lengthy paragraphs with run-on sentences.
- DO have grammatical, punctuation, and spelling checked by someone other than yourself.
Cover Letter Structure
Most cover letters follow a standard format. Here is an overview of what to include in your cover letter:
- Candidate Address: Include your address at the top of the document.
- Date: Include the date of the letter in Month, Day, Year format.
- Employer Address: This is also referred to as an inside address. Include the address to which the letter is directed.
- Greeting: If you know the name of the recipient, you can use their name. If you do not know the person’s name, say “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Hiring Committee”.
- Introductory Paragraph: Include a short paragraph introducing yourself and a broad statement as to why you think you would be good for the role.
- Body: Include 2-3 paragraphs advocating your fit for the role. Be specific and build a bridge between your knowledge, skills, and abilities and the components of the job description.
- Closing Paragraph: Include a short paragraph, reiterating your interest in the position, and restate your contact information, even if it’s not included elsewhere in the document.
- Closing Salutation: Include a short closing, such as “Sincerely,” and your name.
Check out our cover letter template
In summary, your cover letter is a letter attached to your resume that articulates how your resume aligns with the job description. A well-written cover letter should pique the interest of your reader and give them a clearer context of your resume and how your strengths can fulfill their needs. Use the tips and tricks provided in this guide to craft a compelling cover letter that will help you land the job of your dreams!