By writing a great cover letter that complements your resume, you can increase your chances of being shortlisted for an interview. It’s no secret that the job market is competitive. Hiring managers may receive hundreds of applications for a particular position depending on the field. With the amount of pressure placed on writing a solid cover letter, we know this task can be overwhelming. To get you started, we’ve developed a comprehensive guide on structuring your cover letter, with tips on how to address your letter and write your introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion.
Addressing your Cover Letter Appropriately
Job posts come in many formats and feature varying amounts of information. For positions listing a hiring manager or search committee chair, it’s easy to tailor your cover letter by addressing that specific person. More often than not, however, you’ll come across positions with no specific contact person. But even without this information, you can still tailor your cover letter to avoid the dreaded “To whom it may concern” with a little research.
Position Name Hiring Manager
Re: Job Post # 11111
Dear hiring manager,
Addressing the letter to the hiring manager and including the company name, address and job post number (if available) can show you’ve taken the time to investigate the company and have thoroughly read the posting. Not applying to a corporate position? Switching out “Hiring Manager” for “Search Committee” may be more appropriate if it matches the tone of your industry.
Writing your Cover Letter Introduction
A cover letter essentially is a persuasive essay about why a company should hire you. As such, many of the principles in basic persuasive essay writing apply. Your introduction should serve as a map and outline how a recruiter should read your cover letter. Creating an outline will make scanning your cover letter easier for a recruiter and help to show key takeaways aligning with the job’s responsibilities. Here’s an example for someone applying to a marketing director position focused on managing teams to create marketing campaigns.
It is with great enthusiasm that I submit my application for the Marketing Director position with Company Name. Knowing the position’s focus on driving company brand awareness through implementing well-designed marketing strategy, I believe my experience aligns closely with this goal. Since obtaining a BA in marketing from University Name, I have gained three years’ professional experience developing marketing campaigns and leading teams to further company goals.
As shown in this example, one simple way to structure your introduction is to use an opening line to express interest, include a statement about your awareness of the position or company’s objectives and briefly allude to your most relevant qualifications that the job requires. You can later expand upon these same qualifications with specific examples to show that you will not only complete the responsibilities effectively, but also bring additional value to the company beyond what is expected.
Highlighting Qualifications with Specific Examples
Now that you’ve given a brief overview of your qualifications relevant to the position, the key is to expand upon them in the body of your cover letter with specific, results-oriented examples. From reviewing your job title, a hiring manager will already have a general sense of the work you completed. By including examples of unique experiences or accomplishments you made, you can express how you will bring added value to the position.
As a Marketing Manager at Company Name, I have successfully led marketing campaigns aligning with company mission and values to cultivate brand awareness. Through building relationships with cross-departmental teams and administrators, I gained a sense of company needs and culture and created a social media marketing strategy in response. This strategy led to increased social media user engagement by 300% in my first six months at the company and created a sustainable foundation for future campaigns.
Complementing my expertise in designing and implementing marketing campaigns, I am highly skilled in motivating teams to further company goals. Given this position’s focus on managing a team, I am confident I can succeed in this responsibility based on my previous experience supervising a team of four marketing assistants. By gaining a sense of my team’s interests, strengths and goals, I was able to strategically delegate tasks and professionally develop employees to assume higher levels of responsibility and facilitate employee engagement, skills which I would bring to this position.
The above body paragraphs explicitly describe and expand upon the applicant’s strengths mentioned in the introductory paragraph: the ability to drive marketing campaigns and lead teams. They include results (enhanced user engagement by 300% and successful talent development) which show evidence of the applicant’s skills relevant to the job description.
Crafting your Cover Letter Conclusion
Your conclusion should bring your cover letter full circle, again expressing your interest and qualifications described in your introduction and body paragraphs. You can also make the conclusion a bit more personable and add any brief information about your personal qualities or values that align with the company.
Through my direct experience building marketing campaigns and leading teams, I am confident I would be successful in the Marketing Director position. On a personal note, I believe that my ambition and results-oriented personality align closely with company culture and values. I would look forward to speaking with you to further express how I might contribute to the dynamic team at Company Name.
The conclusion sums up the applicant’s main points, expresses awareness of company culture and humbly indicates interest in moving forward in the search process. By including a short point about how your values align with those of the company, you can help show you are a good professional and personal fit for the company.
Naming your Cover Letter Effectively
Not to be overlooked, how you save and name your cover letter also shows your professionalism. Double-check the job description to see if it lists a preferred naming convention for saving. If there is no recommended procedure, save it in a way that lists your name, title of document and the job post number, if available.
Tracy Smith Cover Letter 11111
Saving with your name increases name recognition and is convenient for the reviewer. If you have a particularly long name, you can always shorten to your first initial and last name (TSmith Cover Letter 11111). There isn’t only one right way to do this – unless the job post expresses a preferred format – but make sure your resume and supplemental materials follow the same naming convention.
Highlighting a few important points in particular throughout your cover letter can help a recruiter see themes in your experience. By expanding upon your qualifications through describing specific examples, you can show evidence of your skills and your ability to create results. Overall, your cover letter should be focused and concise and clearly align with the job description to enhance your chances of securing an interview.
Writing a cover letter isn’t an easy task for many job seekers. There’s a lot of pressure because, sometimes, the cover letter is the only piece the recruiter will read. Therefore, your cover letter must be a piece of writing that describes your achievements and how you will help the company succeed.
Additionally, you want your cover letter to illustrate how you are the best fit for the company and for the reader to believe you have the qualifications they seek. If you want to land an interview with your cover letter, you don’t want to sound vague or wishy-washy. Your cover letter should illustrate why you are the best fit and how you will help the company or organization reach success.
However, when writing the closing paragraph of your cover letter, it’s easy to have a passive voice because you don’t want to appear overconfident. For example, if you say, “I look forward to hearing from you,” that’s great — but that alone doesn’t seal the deal. The closing paragraph of your cover letter must be one of the strongest elements because it is the last impression you leave in the reader’s mind.
Here are five phrases to include in the final paragraph of your cover letter that will help you seal the deal for your next interview:
1. “I am very excited to learn more about this opportunity and share how I will be a great fit for XYZ Corporation.” Strong cover letter closings are enthusiastic and confident. You want the reader to have the impression you are truly passionate about the position and working for their company. This statement will also illustrate your ability to fit into the company culture and how your personality and work ethic is exactly what they’re looking for.
2. “I believe this is a position where my passion for this industry will grow because of the XYZ opportunities you provide for your employees.” It’s always a good idea to explain what you find attractive about working for the company and how you want to bring your passions to the table. By doing this, you can illustrate how much thought you dedicated to applying for the position and how much you care about becoming a part of the company.
3. “If I am offered this position, I will be ready to hit the ground running and help XYZ Company exceed its own expectations for success.” By adding this piece to your conclusion, you will be able to add some flare and excitement to your cover letter. The reader will become intrigued by your enthusiasm to “hit the ground running.” Employers look for candidates who are prepared for the position and are easy to train. Therefore, this phrase will definitely raise some curiosity and the reader will want to discover what you have to offer for their company.
4. “I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how my qualifications will be beneficial to your organization’s success.” Remember, you want to make it clear in your cover letter how the employer will benefit from your experience and qualifications. You want to also express how your goal is to help the organization succeed, not how the position will contribute to your personal success.
5. “I will call you next Tuesday to follow up on my application and arrange for an interview.” The most essential part of your closing is your “call to action” statement. Remember, the purpose of your cover letter is to land an interview. Don’t end your cover letter saying you’ll hope to get in touch. Explain to the reader the exact day and how you will be contacting them. When you state you will be following up with the employer, make sure you do it!
Remember, the closing of your cover letter is the most important element that will help you land your next interview. By crafting a strong, confident, and enthusiastic closing paragraph, you will leave the reader feeling like you could be the best candidate for the position.
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