How to Write a Cover LetterPoor cover letters. They get no love. As much as we despise them, they’re a chance to make acase, cover everything we can’t express in our resumes – which is a lot – and come across asreal people to potential employers. Don’t throw a cover letter together in the hope that nobody willactually read it; to take advantage of its full potential, follow these steps. Below that, you’ll findadvice on formatting, reviewing, and researching the letter as well as links to three free sampleletters you can copy and adapt to your needs.Steps Sample Cover LettersHere are some well-written sample letters you can copy and use as a starting point. Cover Letter Template Sample Cover Letter Sample Cover Letter for Email Employment Write an Email Cover Letter 1 Include a salutation. There are a number of different kinds to choose from, and the greeting you choose will depend on how much information you have about the company. If you know the name of the hiring manager, your salutation should be something like "Dear [insert name]" followed by either a comma or a colon. Make sure to address the manager formally using their proper title (Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.). If you dont know the name of the hiring manager, consider addressing your letter "Dear Hiring Manager," "Dear Recruiting Team," or "Dear [insert company name] Team." As a last resort, address the letter "To whom it may concern," though we recommend avoiding this salutation, as it could come across as a template letter. 2 Write the first paragraph of your letter. This is where you will mention the job for which youre applying and how you found the job listing. It only needs to be 1 to 2 sentences in length. 3 Write the body paragraphs of your letter. Most cover letters will only have 1 or 2 body paragraphs. You dont want to overwhelm the hiring manager or use up a great deal of his or her time. Try to answer the following questions in your body paragraphs: Why am I a qualified candidate for this position? What work experience do I have that fits the job requirements in the companys listing? Why do I want to work for this company specifically? 4 Write the final paragraph of your letter. This will be where you wrap up and discuss how you will proceed with the application. Consider including the following: Reiterate in one sentence why you feel youre a perfect fit for the position.
Discuss what youll do next. If you plan on following up with the hiring manager in a week or two, include a specific date. Otherwise, just say that you look forward to interviewing for the position and discussing your qualifications further. Provide your contact information. Include your email address and your phone number so the hiring manager can get in touch with you. Mention that your resume or references are attached (if applicable). Thank the person for their time.5 End your cover letter with a respectful closing statement. "Best" or "Sincerely" are both classic options. Also, since you wont be able to sign your email, finish the letter by typing your full name.Write a Paper Cover Letter1 Add a letterhead at the top of the letter. Your letterhead should include your full name, address, telephone number, and email address. Some guidelines to follow when creating your letterhead: Your name should be in bold 14- or 16-point font. Your address and other contact information should be in normal 12-point font. The font of your letterhead does not need to be Arial or Times New Roman, like the rest of your letter, but it should be professional looking and easy to read. The most important thing to remember is to include up-to-date information so that you make it easy for the employer to contact you. You may want to include an extra line under the letterhead in order to create visual appeal and to separate the letterhead from the rest of the letter.2 Write the recipient’s name and address and the date below the letterhead. It doesnt matter whether you put the date first or last, or how many blank lines you include between them, as long as it looks professional. From here on out, use 12-point Arial or Times New Roman throughout the entire letter, set your margins to one inch, and use single spacing. Be sure your font is black, and if youre printing your letter out, use standard-sized paper (8 1/2” by 11”).3 Address the recipient. Be sure to refer to the recipient by his or her proper title (Mrs., Mr., Dr., etc.). If you’re not sure who the recipient is, write, “To Whom It May Concern:” or “Dear Sir or Madam”; however, it is always best to address a cover letter to a real person to make it look like you’re not sending form letters.4 State your purpose in the first paragraph. Tell the employer why you are writing to them in two or three sentences. State the position for which you are applying (or the one you would like to have should it become available).
You dont necessarily need to include how you became aware of the position unless it was through a mutual contact or recruiting program—in which case you should make the most of the connection. If you are writing a letter of interest (also known as a prospecting or inquiry letter) in which you are asking about positions that might be available, specify why you are interested in working for the employer.5 Outline your qualifications in the middle paragraph(s). Make sure to match them to the requirements of the position. If you are writing to inquire about open positions, tell the employer how you can contribute to their bottom line, not what you want to get out of the deal. To do this, use what you have researched about the employers background and history. Make your qualifications jump out at the reader by researching the company to which you are applying for a job and tailoring your letter accordingly. This will also be useful if you get an interview. Some questions to keep in mind as you write are What is the employers mission? What do they promote as the one thing that sets them apart from their competitors? What kind of customer base does the employer have? Who is their target audience? What is the companys history? Who founded it? How has the business evolved? What are the main highlights of the companys performance over the past few years?6 Include a positive statement or question in the final paragraph that will motivate the employer to contact you. Make this closing paragraph between two to four sentences. Direct the employer to your enclosed resume and make sure you specify that youre available for an interview. Finish off by thanking the recruiter for their time and consideration, and welcome them to get in touch with you to continue the conversation.7 Write an appropriate closing. It’s a good idea to thank the reader for his or her time. After that, write “Sincerely,” “Respectfully,” or “Regards,” leave several spaces, and print your name.8 Add your signature. If you will be submitting your cover letter digitally, it’s a good idea to
scan and add your signature, write it in with a digital writing pad, or make a digital signature stamp with appropriate software.9 Make a notation of the enclosures. If you enclose something, such as a resume, with a letter, you should indicate that the letter contains enclosures by making the notation “Enclosure” or “Enclosures” at the bottom of the letter.Review Your Cover Letter1 Spell-check and proofread. If you have a spell-check feature, use it. Some programs, such as Microsoft Word, also include a grammar check that you should use. Proofread your letter yourself. Some things to avoid are Common misspellings. Writing in the passive tense. Own your accomplishments. Stay away from phrases like "This experience gave me the opportunity to...," or worse, "these goals were met by me." You dont want to sound like everything happened to you or that it was done by some other entity. Make yourself the active subject of every sentence (e.g., "In this role, I developed/reinforced/learned/etc."). However, this does not imply that every sentence should start with "I..." so vary your syntax accordingly. Colloquial (informal) writing. You want to sound professional and educated. Avoid all forms of slang, unnecessary abbreviations, and texting lingo. Incorrect punctuation.2 Read your letter aloud to hear how it reads. Do not rely on the spelling and grammar checks to catch mistakes. Consider asking a friend, or even two, to proofread your letter as well. If no one is available to help, another good strategy is to spend some time away from your final draft (a few hours or even a whole day) so that you can return to it with a fresh perspective.Questions to Ask Yourself when Preparing Your Cover Letter1 Find your answers to these important questions before you start writing your cover letter: 1. What is the complete name of the company to which you are applying for a job? 2. What is the name of the person to whom you are addressing the cover letter? 3. What is the address of the person to whom you are sending the letter? 4. What is the title of the job for which you are applying and does it also have a reference number that you should include? 5. What is the type of job or level of the position you are seeking? "entry-level" "management" "senior level" 6. What skills do you possess that you are not using enough in your current role? Would the ideal candidate for this new role be required to make more use of those types of skills? What opportunities are missing in your current role? Answering these questions will help you explain why you are interested in leaving current position. For example, are you looking for: "room for advancement" "an opportunity to learn new skills"
7. What is your current job or educational position? This may seem like an obvious question, but knowing how to clearly define your current role is a tremendous asset. For example, you could be a: "graduate student in environmental science" "customer service professional specializing in the high-end retail market" 8. What is a general description of your accomplishments/experiences in the field to which you are applying? For example, you could have: "fifteen years of excellent customer service experience" "an outstanding background in scientific research and discovery" "a solid history of dependability in the automotive industry" 9. What assets can you offer to the company? List a few in your cover letter, such as: "extensive experience with start-ups" "demonstrated ability to solve problems" "refined ability to manage teams" 10. What will you help the company accomplish, if given the job you desire? "increase its bottom line" "meet its goal of providing only the best in customer service" "expand its customer base and increase its revenue"VideoTips A good cover letter should not sound like a re-hash of your resume. It should pull highlights from your resume and tie it gracefully with the job description. Consider it a bridge between your resume and the position youre seeking. Make sure your cover letter is visually appealing and coordinated with your resume. Use the same personal information block in the heading of your cover letter and your resume. A cohesive resume package is a very attractive selling point. If using paper (i.e., not online), use the same high quality paper for the cover letter as for your resume. Do not overdo the style elements. Choose a font that is simple but elegant. Avoid uncommon decorative fonts unless you are applying for a job where being quirky is of greater value than being businesslike and the people who are doing the hiring are on board with this philosophy. Be concise. Never use two words when one will do. Always strike the word "very" and eliminate the word "that" as much as you can.Warnings This is not your autobiography. Keep it well under a page. Avoid generic, empty language ("I will bring a depth of experience," or "I believe my qualifications and experience suit the demands of the position"). Be specific and concrete about what you can bring to the position.
If youre doing a thorough job search, you will get rejected sometimes. If youre not getting rejected, youre not putting yourself out there enough. And if you dont learn to see rejection as a chance to improve your approach, then youll have a very difficult time getting a job.Sources YouthCentral on writing cover letters Scribendi on formatting a cover letter English Plus on grammar NY Daily News on researching companies before interviews Best Interview Strategies on resumes and cover lettersRelated wikiHows How to Write a CV for an Accounting Assistant How to Write a Medical Leave Letter How to Write a Job Interest Letter How to Write a Rejection Letter How to Write an Appeal Letter How to Avoid Colloquial (Informal) Writing How to Write a Professional Resume How to Write Faster How to Write a Research Paper How to Write an Essay Paper With Only Three Notes How to Write a Term Paper How to Write Letters to the Editor How to Write an Awesome Paper for School