There has always been an argument that hiring managers need a little more “unambiguous” information to make their selection of a candidate a little easier. That is where a cover letter comes in. The one-page document that you send along with your resume has become indispensable. Many know it should be included, but very understand what needs to be in one. Here we discuss what you should write in your cover letter and a few examples of how to do it.
1. A cover letter should have a contact section
Some companies will openly specify that your job application should include a well-crafted cover letter. Such postings may go ahead to suggest what you should include in your cover letter. But some may not specify anything at all. In that case, you have to figure out what to do. Either way, your cover letter should have a contact section. Depending on the means of delivery, the contact information will appear at different places. If you plan to send a printed version or upload one to the company’s website, the contact section should come first. If the cover letter is sent via email, the information should be in your signature, not at the top. Here’s an example;
For Uploaded or Printed cover letters
Hiring manager’s Name (only include if you have it)
City, State Zip Code
City, State Zip code
For email cover letters
City, State Zip Code
2. Include an appropriate greeting
It’s essential that you include an appropriate salutation at the beginning of your cover letter. Again, some companies will give you the details of what to include in your letter, including the hiring manager’s (or the person in charge) name. When you don’t have the details or even the name, consider other ways of greeting the hiring manager. Here are some examples;
Dear Hiring Manager,
Dear Ms. Jane
Dear Mr. John Doe
Dear Dr. Midgard
3. Talk about your qualifications
After the greetings, it’s time to get into the thick of things. The body of your cover letter is the gist of the whole thing. This is where you explain why you want to work for the company you are applying to. It’s also the place to tell the recruiter why you are interested in their job posting. The body of the letter addresses;
- The intention of the letter
- Your qualifications
- Your appreciation to the recruiter for considering your application
Here, talk about the job posting and nothing else. Tailor your qualifications to the job description. The best way to do this is by analyzing the job listing. Go through what the job posting says and look at;
- The information on the company
- What qualifications are needed
- The responsibilities specified in the job posting
- Directions given (if any) on how to apply
This information will allow you to tailor your cover letter in a way that will impress the hiring manager. Remember not to include details and qualifications that are already listed in your resume. Instead, highlight those qualifications and discuss how they will help execute the job. If you cannot tailor your cover letter excellently, ask someone who can write a cover letter for you. This person should be a professional at a resume and cover letter writing service.
4. Include keywords related to the job
You are not the only one applying for the job. There could be hundreds of candidates who have the same qualifications, or even better, as you. Hiring managers have found a way to sieve applications by using tracking systems highlighting keywords for different applications’ jobs. Find a way to include these keywords and stand out from the crowd. You can only do this if you know what you are doing and what the job entails. The keywords could be single words or short phrases, but they have to relate to the job. For instance, if you are applying for a customer service position, the tracking system will be hunting for words like Customer Tracking System, Customer Service, Order entry experience, and Computer Skills.
Sometimes the job posting alone will not give you all the keywords you are looking for. Look for similar job postings and find out the key phrases for a similar job. You can also review the company’s website for possible key phrases and words.
5. End your cover letter respectfully
The closing part of your cover letter is just as important as any other part. Here, remember to be professional and respectful. Don’t adopt a casual tone like you would if you were addressing a family member or a close friend. Your potential employer deserves the utmost respect, especially if you hope to secure an interview. Here are some examples of closing remarks;
- Best Regards
- Thank you for your consideration
- Thank you
However, don’t overdo it. Simple is better. In other words, don’t include information that doesn’t need to be included in this part. Remember, this is your last chance to make a good impression.
6. Should I include my signature?
A signature is your mark of confirmation and sometimes a mark of professionalism. If you are uploading your cover letter or sending a PDF, ensure you sign the document by hand. If, however, you are sending your cover letter as part of an email, use a professional electronic signature along with your contact information. Don’t forget the format for either case of uploading or sending the cover letter.
A cover letter could be the key to securing a job interview and eventually landing your dream job. For this reason, it’s important to know what to include in one. Some recruiters will ask for specific information to be included in your cover letter; some won’t. Either way, it’s better to be prepared beforehand. Remember also that a cover letter is not an extension of your resume but rather a different document based on the job listing. Do as much research as possible and write it in the best way possible. You can also hire a professional from a resume writing service to help you out if you’re not sure of your writing skills.