A cover letter is an important element of your pitch to a potential hiring manager. The purpose is to build enough interest in you as a candidate that the reader will be motivated to turn to the resume for the details.
The cover letter is not a Reader’s Digest version of your professional life. It is a tactical and thoughtful presentation of the facts and evidence that support your claim that you can do this job. The hiring manager wants to be assured that you could walk in, sit down and get right to work. An effective cover letter is direct and specific.
- The position you are applying to.
- How you learned of the position. Typically a job board posting, but might be through personal referral.
- A sentence that communicates that you know about the company
- You know someone who works there
- You use the product
- You read about them somewhere
- You did some research on them
- Lead off with your strongest reason that you would be a great fit for this position. Often this is focused on your past experience and transferable skill set developed in a position very similar.
- Do not be tempted to go into too much detail. The resume and then the interview is where you can explain all the relevant details.
- Match your experience and skill set to the specific job.
- Select three or four of the most important job requirements and include them in paragraph three. Match up your specific experience to these selected requirements. You can do this effectively in a bulleted list.
- Make a strong action expected close. “I look forward to meeting with you to discuss how my skills sets and experiences could add value to (Company name).”
- If you do not know who will be receiving the cover letter, address it to “Dear Hiring Manager”
- Use a standard business letter format.
- The entire cover letter should fit on one page.
- Always submit a cover letter when given the opportunity. Recruiters report that it makes a positive impression.
Cover Letter Template (PDF)
Cover Letter Example (PDF)