Let’s be honest, if you're searching online about writing a great cover letter, this is probably the tenth article you have seen.
Since more and more jobs are expecting you to write the perfect cover letter, more people on the World Wide Web want to write about it.
The question is, how do you know which article to trust?
Well, you can read dozens of articles written by people who have never actually composed a cover letter (but they sure sound convincing).
Or ... you can learn how to write an amazing cover letter from proven experts who do it every day.
In this article, we discuss what goes into a great cover letter
But first, let's talk about whether or not you really need one.
Do I Need a Cover Letter?
So, you find an ideal job listing, but it does not ask specifically for a cover letter.
Should you write one?
Yes, the going advice is that you should write a cover letter even if not explicitly stated as a requirement.
You are already submitting a professional resume, but a strong cover letter may give you that added edge.
- It can cause your application to stand out above the rest.
- You have the opportunity to highlight relevant experience and qualifications.
- You can also express your unique interest in the position.
Top Tip: Do not add a cover letter to your application if the job listing states outright that they do not want one.
(If you are submitting your resume without a job posting, check out our article on how to write a letter of interest.)
How to Write a Great Cover Letter
An amazing cover letter can be broken down into four simple paragraphs.
Each paragraph has a unique goal.
Remember, these are not those lengthy, six-to-ten-sentence paragraphs you learned about in high school.
- You want them short and sweet.
- Make them between two to four well-written sentences.
Here's how you do it ...
Paragraph 1: Grab Your Reader’s Attention
In your first paragraph, state the position you are applying for in the company.
Also, list a few key reasons why you are the perfect fit for the job.
Here is a slightly tweaked example you can find in this article from The Muse:
When I was growing up, my only desire was to be one of those people who pretend to be statues on the street.
Thankfully, my career goals have become a little more aspirational over the years, but I love to draw a crowd and entertain the masses—passions that make me the perfect community manager for Google.
Top Tip: Use humor to get the reader's attention, yet make sure it's relevant and states why you would be the ideal candidate.
Paragraph 2: Show Your Value to the Company
Now that you have your reader’s attention, it is time for you to introduce yourself and explain exactly why you are the best fit for the job.
Take time to review the job description.
Then find relevant skills from your resume that you can highlight for the reader.
Here are examples of effective bullet points for a community manager position:
- Successfully analyze the performance of 30+ marketing programs and identify the best opportunities for optimization, resulting in a 40% revenue increase in two years.
- Monitor online posts for content and adherence to guidelines with 100% accuracy.
- Negotiate advertising contracts with third-party sites and ad companies, saving our company over $150,000/year.
Top Tip: Bullet points work really well in this section.
Paragraph 3: Prove Your Interest in the Company
In this section of your amazing cover letter, you need to prove your interest in the organization you are applying to.
By demonstrating your knowledge of the company.
Show the reader that you have actually taken some time to research their company and that you believe in their core values and mission.
Here is a slightly tweaked example written by Debra Wheatman @ workitdaily.com:
“After researching 123 Company, I understand your immediate goal is to improve business performance and establish key benchmarks within *****.
Your recent acquisition of ***** puts you in a position to gain market share and establish a unique brand presence with potential and existing customers.
Given my professional achievements listed above, I am in a position to help you quickly achieve your goals."
Top Tip: Spend enough time reading up on the company before writing this part of your cover letter.
Paragraph 4: Wrap It up and Put a Bow on It
Briefly, summarize what it is that you will bring to the company.
Don’t be afraid to include some sort of call to action for them to contact you.
Write something like this:
- "If you have any further questions, I am available by phone."
- "If you would like to set up a meeting, please email me at ..."
Also, if you plan to follow up on your application, let them know when and how you will follow up so they can be ready.
Lastly, thank your reader for their time and consideration while reading your amazing cover letter.
Top Tip: Always employ gratitude in the final paragraph.
Final Step: Proofread Your Cover Letter
This might go without saying, but let's say you just found the perfect dream job and you're in a hurry to submit an application.
After all, if your cover letter and resume make it in first, maybe you'll have the edge you need to land the position.
Take a breath and slow it down.
Look back over the cover letter.
Read every sentence carefully, checking for any errors in grammar or formatting.
Believe me, the last thing you want is an embarrassing typo staring the reader in the face.
Top Tip: Ask an outside reader (friend, aunt, smart neighbor) for another set of eyes and any input they have.
Shazam! You just learned how to write an amazing cover letter from scratch!
And yes, it is that simple.
- Get your prospective employer's attention
- Demonstrate how you will provide value
- Show your interest in the company
- Wrap it up and add a call to action
Amazing Cover Letter Samples
Let's say you're convinced that you should write a great cover letter, but you need a specific idea of where to start.
What you need is a sample cover letter.
Well, you're in luck! Here are a couple of amazing sample cover letters to assist you as you apply to your dream job.
This sample cover letter gives you a picture of the ideal cover letter:
Here is another sample cover letter, with a slightly different format and focus:
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Job searching is hard enough as it is. The last thing you want to do is risk being passed up for your dream job because of an inferior cover letter.
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