When it comes to applying for a new role, some things will never go out of fashion. Submitting polished and comprehensive resumes and arriving early for an interview, to name two examples, are tactics that will always be sure to catch an employer’s eye. Another crucial component of the job search process is the drafting and submission of a high-quality cover letter. The cover letter is a candidate’s opportunity to convey to a potential employer his or her professional background, technical skills, and personal aspirations.
It can, however, be challenging to create a well-written cover letter that communicates all of the requisite information without being too some things will. With that in mind, this post will outline, in detail, a tried, tested, and proven formula which can be used as a template when creating your next cover letter:
- Part One: Personal Information – You should always insert your name and contact information at the top of any cover letter:
- John Smith
- Part Two: Greeting – Your letter should open with a greeting to the recruiter or hiring manager who will be receiving the document:
- Dear (name of letter recipient),
- Part Three: Introductory Paragraph (4-5 sentences) – Your main goal with the opening paragraph of your letter should be to grab the reader’s interest and to make them want to continue reading. Your introduction should include the following pieces of information:
- The reason that you’re reaching out, the title of the position that you’re applying to, the specific reasons why you’re interested in the role and in the company, and the skills, experience, and qualities that make you a uniquely good fit for the role.
- Part Four: Body (6-7 sentences) – As the name suggests, this section should comprise the bulk of your cover letter. The primary focus of this section is to advertise your professional “selling points.” In the body paragraph, you’ll want to elaborate on the following:
- Your current position and its attendant responsibilities, notable projects you’ve recently contributed to, any industry-specific awards you’ve received, how the challenges of your current role (and of your overall career up to this point) have provided you with the skills that qualify you for the role you’re applying to.
- Part Five: Conclusion (4-5 sentences) – Once you’ve provided your personal “sales pitch” in the body paragraph, the next step will be to reiterate the points you originally outlined in your introduction. The goal with this paragraph is to end the cover letter on a note that will leave a lasting impression in the hiring manager’s mind. Your concluding paragraph should emphasize:
- Why you’re interested in the role and the company, what qualifies you for the position, some concrete examples of how you would have a positive impact on the company’s workplace.
- Part Six: Closing Statement – Lastly, before signing-off, you’ll want to prompt the reader to follow up with you if they think that you would be a good fit for the role. Here is an example of what an effective closing statement might look like:
- Thank you very much for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon to further discuss my candidacy for this role.
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