Back to Basics: What Goes Into a Great Cover Letter?

Cover LetterFor most job seekers, cover letters seem to be the bane of their existence; they hate writing a cover letter even more than their resume.

When job seekers ask if they really need to send a cover letter, I have a short answer for them: “Only if you really want the job.”

Here’s a simple formula for writing an effective cover letter that will entice recruiters to want to get to know you more:

The Salutation

Do a little research and locate the contact information for the hiring manager. If you absolutely cannot find the contact name – then use Dear Hiring Manager, not To Whom It May Concern.

First Paragraph

Clearly let the reader know for which position you are applying. Include one or two of your primary qualifications and explain how you will use it to complete goals for the position as outlined in the job description.

Second Paragraph

Use one specific example of a previous career accomplishment that relates to the position for which you are applying. Make sure it is relevant so that the reader can envision you in their position.

Third Paragraph

Mention a few of your key competencies as they relate to specifics contained within the job posting. What value do you offer the employer?

Final Paragraph

Convey your excitement about the position and request an interview.

A few tips to make your cover letter even more effective:

  • Use the same heading as on your resume to create a professional-looking matching set
  • Keep it short and to the point
  • Include the specific name of the role and the company name a few times throughout the letter to let the reader know you really want to work for THEM, not just any company
  • Close the letter with “Sincerely” and then your first name (this is a great opportunity to let the employer know you like being called Will rather than Bill, if your name is William)

It only takes a few minutes to tailor your cover letter to each position. Show the employer you are the best candidate for the position. This extra effort will improve your chances of being granted an interview. Best of luck in your job search!





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at The Resume Resource!


The Resume Resource


Trish ThomasAbout the Author: Trish Thomas of The Resume Resource is committed to helping people improve their lives through rewarding careers. A Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach, she delivers a full range of services to help job seekers establish clear career goals and develop tools and strategies to achieve those goals. What differentiates Trish from other career services providers is the time she takes to get to know each client and their individual needs to position them competitively in today’s job market. Follow Trish on Twitter!



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