We all know how important it is to have a fabulous resume or CV, but when it comes to our cover letters, we tend to drop the ball. Who can blame us? It’s difficult to write about yourself, especially when you’ve poured hours of time and effort into perfecting your resume and LinkedIn. However, a well-crafted cover letter can be the perfect step toward the job or internship of your dreams, because it is often the first impression the employer will have of you!
Creating a strong cover letter doesn’t have to be a chore. Here are some tips to get started!
Address the letter to an actual person
Dale Carnegie said that “a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language”. Avoid “to whom it may concern” or “dear sir or madam,” and instead try to use the hiring manager’s name when possible. Saying something generic like “to whom it may concern” makes your letter seem less personalised, and more like something you’ve copied and pasted to a hundred employers.
Begin your cover letter with a short introduction
In this paragraph, give a very brief overview of who you are (“a fourth-year engineering student at Cornell University”), which job you are applying for, where you learned about the job and why you are interested.
The bulk of the letter goes in the middle
For the next paragraph, discuss a few key experiences or skills you’ve had that make you the ideal candidate for the job. For example, if you describe yourself as “organised,” you may want to give an example of how you used your organisational skills in the workplace to improve something. Think about the skills necessary for the job at hand (and read through the job description for inspiration), and talk about how you excel in those areas.
End with a call to action
Your final paragraph should conclude the letter by thanking the employer for his or her time, and by providing contact information at which you can be reached to discuss the opportunity further. By ending with a call to action or mentioning that you look forward to meeting with the employer at a later date, you are taking initiative and reaffirming your interest in the position.
Follow these tips and you’ll be set to write the perfect cover letter!
Do you have any more cover letter writing tips? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Daniel Borman / Flickr
Valerie Moses is a marketing and PR professional who lives in Orlando, Florida. When she isn’t with friends or attempting a new healthy recipe, she can be found at her lifestyle and college advice blog, So It Must Be True.