You know how difficult it is to find a job in this competitive world. Maybe you’re already tired of looking for a job. You probably have a good resume too. But did you know that many people miss out on job opportunities without a proper cover letter?
Maybe this is your problem too. Then you have to learn to write a cover letter accurately. After reading this article you will have the opportunity to become a proud owner of an impressive and job-winning cover letter.
So let’s jump into the complete guide on how to write a cover letter.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document that you send along with your job application. Most likely this will be attached to your resume or CV. The main purpose of sending a cover letter is to give a brief introduction about yourself and your job and educational background to the recruiting manager.
A good cover letter can generate a positive attitude in the recruiter’s mind about yourself. It will make the hiring manager look at your resume with a little more attention. You probably know that a typical recruiter spends averagely as little as 6 seconds on testing a resume. But a good cover letter gives you the ability to extend this short period of time.
Also, a properly written cover letter will make it easier to communicate in a way that makes the manager feel that you are the right person for the position. So you don’t need to talk any more about the value here. Now let’s see how to write an impressive cover letter.
Structure of a cover letter
You may not be a professional writer. If you are writing a cover letter for the first time, an impressive cover letter might be a big challenge for you.
But if you do it with proper knowledge, you may find it easy to write a job-winning cover letter. The only thing you need to do is to structure your cover letter as we have shown here and format your cover letter according to the tips given below.
A good cover letter should be made with the following structure.
- Cover letter header – Your contact information goes here
- Recipient’s name & address
- Salutation – Greeting to the hiring manager with his name
- Opening paragraph – Grab the recruiter’s attention and briefly describe how you find the job.
- The body – Explain why you are a perfect pick for the job and for the company with your achievements and by providing some of your values.
- Closing paragraph – This could be a call to action and here you have to thank the recruiter to take the time on reading your cover letter.
- Formal closing – Sign off with your signature
- Postscript – A super-secret which most of the candidates do not use in their cover letters.
When you put all these together and make a cover letter, it looks like below at the end.
How to write a cover letter?
Now you know what are the basic parts that a cover letter should have. Now let’s see how to write an impressive cover letter with ten simple steps.
We have introduced a 10 steps tutorial to write a job-winning cover letter in 2021. This will be a great source for anyone who does not know how to write a cover letter. So, here we go.
Step #01 – Choose a perfect cover letter template
The first thing you need to do is to pick a cover letter template that suits your job. If you go to our templates library you will find well-formatted and tried-and-tested cover letter templates. Choose a template that matches your resume and start writing your cover letter.
Our cover letter builder will provide you the ability to generate a tailored cover letter in minutes. So you don’t need to waste hours of time writing your cover letter.
If you wish to write it on your own, let’s continue.
Step #02 – Create an impressive cover letter header
It is a good idea to start your cover letter with the contact information section the same as in your resume. We simply call this section a cover letter header.
Here you have to include your much-needed contact information such as:
- Your name
- You professional title
- Phone number
Other than this information you can include any links to your professional websites and social media profiles and the information about your personal websites or blog sites if there are any. For example:
- GitHub (for developers)
- Dribble or Behance (for designers)
What you shouldn’t do in your cover letter header?
Maybe this is a problem you might have. Yes, there are actually some things you should not do in your cover letter header. Let us examine them one by one.
- Don’t use an unprofessional email – You are writing a professional document that will help you to get your job. So you have to take maximum care of the professionalism here. Therefore you need to make your email address professional. Make it with your first and last names with a valid email service provider. For example:
“First name + last name @ email service provider.com”
- Don’t mention your full address – The recruiters do not need to know the location of your home. They just want to know how close you are to the workplace. Therefore, when entering the address, it is sufficient to indicate only the city and state where you live. No need to mention the number, street, and all the stuff.
- Never add a photograph – This is something you could include in your resume, not in the cover letter. However, we recommend not to include your photograph in a resume unless the recruiter asks for it.
Step #03 – Include the recipient’s address and the date
The next step is to specify the address of the recipient of the cover letter. Enter the name and position of the hiring manager. Then enter the address of the company name.
Usually, you can find this address easily in the job advertisement. If you can’t find it, you can do research on the Internet, LinkedIn, and company social media profiles to find the office address.
Next to the name and address of the recipient of the letter, you should write the date of writing the cover letter. But this is an optional piece of information. However, if you include it, be sure to include it as mentioned below.
There are usually several ways to enter a date. One of the main date formats is the month first, then the date, and finally the year. (E.g. October 30, 2020.) You can enter the date in numbers only. There are two methods as American and British. The traditional British format is 30/10/2020, but in American format, the date format has to change as of 10/30/2020.
Step #04 – Insert a subject line that describes your cover letter intent
A subject line makes a brief and clear statement of the reason for writing your cover letter. This is very similar to the subject line of an email box.
You have the right to write the subject line creatively. But you have to think about how relevant it is to your cover letter. If you write this correctly, you will save space and time in explaining why you are writing this cover letter in the cover letter body.
Sometimes job advertisements advise you on how to write the subject line. Sometimes they ask you to mention the job reference number. Or write down the job location and position. You need to read the job advertisement and decide how you need to write the subject line of your cover letter.
Here are some example subject lines:
- Regarding [POSITION]
- Regarding the Job [#JOB REFERENCE NUMBER]
- RE: The Digital Marketing Intern Opportunity in Your Company
- RE: [JOB TITLE] – Ready to Work
Step #05 – Greet the hiring manager with a proper salutation
Do you know to whom you should address the cover letter you write?
This is more crucial information than you think. Even if it is a small piece of information, it is an important factor that will affect the success of your cover letter.
Imagine that if a letter comes to you in your name, you look at it with great attention. Isn’t that right?
Similarly, even when you write a cover letter, you need to address it by the name of the recruiter. He will then eagerly examine your cover letter. Not only that, then he knows that you have done a good study of the company.
Now it’s time for us to say goodbye to the traditional greeting, “Dear Sir or Madam.” Now there are super different ways you can address a recruiter. You can directly address the cover letter by the name like, “Dear Mike Anderson.”
But before that, you need to find out who is the hiring manager.
We recommend LinkedIn as the best way to know your hiring manager’s name. This is a professional network. Almost every professional in the world has its own profile on linkedin.com. So it’s not a difficult task anymore to find the name of your hiring manager.
Suppose you want to find out the name of the hiring manager at Resumoz. All you have to do is go to LinkedIn and type in the search bar as HR manager at Resumoz or Head of the HR department at Resumoz. Instantly the name of the person concerned will be shown to you as follows.
See how easy it is?
Once you know the exact name of the person to whom you want to address the cover letter, you can address him directly by his name.
But if you are unable to find the name through LinkedIn, you can go to the website of the relevant company and go to its “Team” page to find the details of the relevant people.
Do not worry if you are still not able to find the name of the person to whom it may concern. There are better options for you to salute the person.
Take a look at these greeting options too.
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear Recruiting Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
Step #06 – Write an impressive cover letter opener
If you do not write an impressive opening paragraph, the recruiter will not spend time to continue reading your cover letter. Even if you don’t like it, that’s the bitter truth.
So you need to know how to write that part in a very catchy way and win his attention and consent.
Take a look at the example below.
I am writing this in response to your software engineering job advertisement. I would like to hold a relevant position in your organization. I am passionate about that. I have 5+ years of experience as a Software Engineer so I think I am suitable for this position.
The above example has no impressive feeling. There is no important information or mention of your value in the above example. It only states that you have some years of experience and that you think you deserve the job. Right?
But this is not what a recruiter expects from your cover letter opener. They want to know your worth. So you need to use your skills to show the achievements you have made. If possible, try to show your achievements by adding numeric values. They value the quantified results you have got more than the job duties and responsibilities.
You can get more positive results by showing your passion and interest in the profession. Then the recruiting manager will feel that you are the right person for the job.
The following example will show you how to open a cover letter properly.
I have a huge interest in the digital marketing field and I was delighted to see an SEO Specialist opportunity in your company. I have worked for about 5+ websites and have 2 years of experience as a digital marketer. In each case, I have managed to increase the monthly organic traffic from 0 to 10,000 in two years. My SEO and social media marketing skills have helped me a lot to achieve them. I hope these experiences will make it very easy for me to work in your organization.
Step #07 – Explain how you could be the perfect pick for the job
You see a job vacancy in your dream company. Suppose you even have the qualifications needed to apply for that job. However, if you fail to show your value properly in your cover letter, you will not be able to reserve a seat in the company.
So to impress recruiters you need to show why you are suitable for the position. It is important not only to describe your skills, experience, etc. related to the job but also to explain the benefits to the organization if you are recruited.
Let the recruiters know that you are a good problem-solver. However, just mentioning your problem-solving skills is not enough. Explain a situation where you solved a particular problem and describe how you did it. In other words how you used your existing skills to solve that problem.
To further keep the recruiter’s attention to you, find a problem in the company you are applying for, and explain how you can solve it. Explain how you can help the company to grow with your skills and abilities. Then the recruiters will undoubtedly be impressed with you.
Step #08 – Explain how you could be a good fit for the company
Here you have to explain that you are a very friendly person and are very willing to work with them.
It is true that recruiters always give priority to those with relevant experience. But they give even more opportunities if you are a good team player and can adapt well to the current environment of the organization.
Explain that you are ready to enjoy working with them. Tell him that this will be a rewarding career for you. Then they will know that you will be staying with them for a longer period and not be quitting your job quickly.
The secret of writing this paragraph is to show that you are very passionate about this job.
Explain away your work gaps eloquently
Do you have a clear career gap in your resume? Did you know that it is not so suitable for your job hunt? The real solution to this is to briefly explain away the reason for your work gap.
So your cover letter is the best place to explain why. There are probably job gaps in your resume for the following reasons.
- Caring for children.
- Starting your own business or start-up.
- Going abroad for travel or further education.
- Obtaining Vocational Training.
- Personal or family health issues.
If there is a long work gap between any of the jobs in your resume due to the above reasons, briefly describing the reasons for that will help you to reduce your risk of losing the job opportunity.
Step #09 – End up your cover letter with a call to action
In the end, you should finish the cover letter with a good call to action.
If there are other factors that you could not say in the previous paragraphs and that affect the recruiter’s decision, mention them here. If you can finish the cover letter with a reason for them to contact you, that means you have done well.
Tell the recruiter that you are waiting for a response from him. But it has to be polite and open-ended. Tell him you would like to tell more valuable information about yourself in the interview.
Finally, don’t forget to thank the hiring manager for sacrificing their precious time reading your cover letter.
Step #10 – Use the right formal closing
After you have written the last paragraph of the cover letter, all you have to do is say goodbye to the reader in a professional manner. You can use several methods for this as below.
- Best Regards
- Kind Regards
- With Best Regards
- Thank You
After one of these phrases, you can follow it with either your full name or signature.
Top Secret – Add the Postscript, A great hack a very few uses
Every part we talked about earlier must be in a standard cover letter.
But did you know that adding a postscript makes your cover letter stand out from the rest?
Although this is a piece of information mentioned at the bottom of a cover letter, it is often the recipient’s eye that goes first.
If you have any special information to mention in this section, that would be great. It may not be relevant to the job you are applying for. But it must be very captivating. The recruiters might find that is a very interesting fact about you.
Take a look at the example below.
P.S. – I have successfully managed to bring 100,000+ monthly organic visitors to the company website where I have worked before within 6 months and I am super excited to reveal that top secret to you.
How to format your cover letter?
A cover letter should always look professional, clean, and clear. Also, your cover letter should match the resume that you are sending. Because this document is not just a paper. This is a factor that will determine your future. So follow the tricks we have outlined below to better protect its legibility. That will make it easy for you to create a job-winning cover letter.
Keep it short
A cover letter should generally be easy to read and concise. It should also contain everything that should be in a typical cover letter.
When writing a cover letter, always consider the number of words in it. Try to keep it at 300-400 words level as much as possible. Avoid extending this limit of words and also more than one page. Extending the cover letter further may make recruiters reluctant to read it.
Writing a cover letter within this range can be a hard task at first. But if you use our cover letter builder this will not be a difficult task at all. Our Free Cover Letter Builder is made for people like you. So why are you still late to use it? Hurry!
Use a good cover letter font
As mentioned earlier, the clarity of a cover letter is very important. So it is very important to choose a clear font type when you create it.
We can recommend fonts like Arial, Calibri, Verdana, Times New Roman, Roboto, etc. as suitable fonts for a cover letter. But you have to choose only one of these and make the whole cover letter. Do not use multiple fonts to destroy the consistency of the cover letter.
When we talk about font size, you can maintain the professionalism of the cover letter by keeping a font size between 10-12 points. But you can use a larger font size in the cover letter header. However, remember to use the same font type and font size in your cover letter which you have already used in your resume. That will give the recruiter a sense that you are a well-organized candidate.
Finally, don’t forget to Proofread your cover letter
As humans, we can make mistakes. That’s not something we can say no to. But if there is a mistake in the cover letter we write, it will not be a good thing for our job hunt. If a recruiter finds a mistake in our cover letter, we cannot make excuses. Then we have failed.
That is why we should proofread the cover letter twice or thrice to see if there are any errors before submitting it. Often when you proofread like that there may be spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, etc. Fix them.
Don’t stop there. Give your cover letter to a friend or a professional you know to re-examine it. Maybe he can see some mistakes that you did not see. Be sure to submit a cover letter at the end without any grammar, spelling, and typo errors.