How to write a winning cover letter

July 04, 2015

The cover letter is an opportunity to describe your interest in a job position, why you are the right candidate, and what skills you possess that expressly apply to the position. If your cover letter is captivating and bright, hiring managers will happily invest time and effort in a closer examination, and you will have the opportunity to land an interview.

Here are some general guidelines you can use to make sure that your cover letter is going to stand out among the competition:

Address the Hiring Manager directly and introduce yourself

Capture his attention from the first section of your cover letter. Identify the name of the hiring manager, and put it in the address of your cover letter. If the posting has no name included, research the company’s website to detect who is responsible for hiring. If you are unable to identify a name, use the reference "Hiring Manager" instead. After the salutation, explain who you are and why you are submitting a resume.

Specify the position you are applying for

Hiring managers usually receive resumes from hundreds of applicants, and sometimes they are hiring candidates for more than one position. Make a reference to the position that you are applying for. Include the name of the company at least one time in your first two sentences.

Keep it short and simple

Keep your cover letter concise and relevant so that it can quickly communicate a message: you are the right candidate for the job. You only get one page, so be sure that you are giving significant information. Use the same style, language and font as your resume.

Use relevant keywords

You should always include them in your resume, and it’s a great idea to include a few in your cover letter as well. It proves you have a strong knowledge of the job and will help you stand out from other candidates.

Tailor your cover letter

Even if you are writing about yourself, the cover letter should principally focus on the company and the position. Employers are truly impressed when you tell them that you know something about their company, so do your homework. Let the employers know that you understand the challenges they face and you are prepared to help them meet their specific goals. Create a new cover letter for each company and tailor the content for each position you apply for, even if all those job descriptions seem similar.

Show why you are important for the company

Give the hiring manager a concise overview of the most relevant experience you have and of the best results achieved, appropriate to the position they are trying to fill. Explain to the hiring manager how you exactly can contribute to the company success.

Add a strong ending

The final paragraph is an opportunity to point out your excitement about the job and your ability to do the job well. Thank the hiring manager for taking the time to consider you for the job. Ask if you can call him in a week to discuss your application and to answer any other questions at that time.
Finish your letter with a closing word or term, appropriate for the type of company to which you are applying (e.g., "Best regards," "All the best," "Sincerely," “Regards”).

Overall, creating your cover letter will take time, but is going to be the document that will introduce your resume, so it’s worth your commitment and effort.

Good luck writing your cover letter!

About the author
Michelle D

This article was contributed by Michelle D. She is a casual writer, exceptional manager, mother of a ridiculous amazing child, and a great person to have coffee with.

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