The Secret Formula for Writing the Perfect Cover Letter

Cover LetterWhile there are many examples and templates out there, there isn’t really a specific step-by-step formula available for writing the best possible cover letter… a cover letter that works, every time.

Today, we’ll fix that.

Here are the five steps you must take to create the perfect cover letter… one that will make the connection between your skill and experience-based qualifications and exactly what the employer is looking for from a candidate.

Step 1: State Your Intent

Opening with a mention of position and organization interests you may sound old-school, or even unnecessary. But a hiring manager can be recruiting for hundreds of different positions, (particularly if they’re a third-party placement firm) so your intent must be clear.

This opening also makes it easy for them to forward your letter and resume to the appropriate party who might be making the hiring and interviewing decisions.

Dear <Name of Hiring Manager>:

I’m reaching out to you with interest in the Graphic Designer role with Aspyre Solutions. I have over 6 years of experience…

Yes, you MUST work hard to find the name of the person accepting the application or hiring… personalize everything!

Step 2: Concisely State Your Qualifications

Immediately following your opening, state exactly why you are qualified for this position and how your experience will benefit this employer:

My background combines seven years of experience creating compelling campaigns for clients in the retail and fashion space with a strong knowledge of designing interfaces for mobile and tablet platforms. I’ve collaborated with highly-respected agencies including Digitas, Publicis, and BBDO to create award-winning work that speaks directly to customers’ goals and expectations.

Name dropping isn’t just an effective way of getting the recruiter’s attention… it builds instant credibility for your brand!

Step 3: Sell, Sell, Sell!

You’ve stated your intent and built some credibility… now it is time to sell you!

So the employer can visualize you in this position, introducing your current (or most recent) role and organization, accomplishments and ways you’ve really positively impacted the company.

As Senior Designer for the ABC group, I lead three digital designers in the creation of integrated marketing campaigns across print, web, and mobile for high-end fashion clientele including Ralph Lauren, JCrew, and Louis Vuitton. With 5 years of experience at the agency, my role is duel-focused on both hands-on design work and project leadership; I serve as the primary point of contact between cross-functional agency teams, vendors, and clients.

I recently served as the lead creative on a digital campaign for XYZ brand, which won multiple One Show awards and helped elevate the agency’s reputation as a key player in the fashion advertising space.

Your goal here isn’t to reiterate what’s on the resume, but to suggest that what you’re currently doing is relevant to the role you’re applying for today.

Step 4: Establish Fit

This section gives you the chance to really personalize and tailor the letter; to discuss why you’re a great fit for this particular role and organization. What attracts you to the role? How do you see yourself thriving in this culture? What do you bring to the organization that’s particularly unique? Just as important: have you done your homework?

I’ve been following Aspyre Solutions’ work and am intrigued by how the agency is is establishing itself as experts in the multicultural advertising space. This appeals to me greatly; in addition to being a native Spanish speaker and having lived in Mexico for 3 years, I also bring experience in the Hispanic market from my last role as a Designer for DraftFBC. I know that leveraging my experience in this sector makes me the perfect fit for this role at Aspyre!

To establish that you are, without a doubt, the right fit for this role at this company: start by talking about them… then move to you… and finally come back to them!

Step 5) Always be Closing

Finally, close out by inviting them to contact you for a meeting… and be sure to thank them in advance for their consideration.

I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the needs of the position and my qualifications in more depth. Thank you in advance for your consideration.


Dana Leavy-Detrick

That’s it… the perfect cover letter… and the perfect first impression!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studios!




DanaAbout the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses, through career transition coaching and business consulting for creative professionals and entrepreneurs.

Dana has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay,, GlassDoor and Follow Dana on Twitter!


Image courtesy of Michael Sauers of Flickr. Thank you!



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