Crafting an effective cover letter for a job application is essential to gauge an applicant’s skills and experience. Hiring managers use cover letters to understand an applicant’s background and how their professional experience fits the needs of the open role and the culture of the hiring company. Writing an effective cover letter offers an opportunity to make a great first impression on potential employers. Here are some tips to write a compelling cover letter: Tailor it to the job description, highlight relevant experiences, and showcase enthusiasm for the position.
What is a cover letter?
When crafting a cover letter for a job application, it’s crucial to avoid a generic approach. This application letter serves as a three-to-four-paragraph memo highlighting your interest in the role and the company. I’ve submitted my resume to further highlight my skills, experience, and achievements relevant to the position I seek.
My professional career has equipped me to explain how my fitness for this role aligns with the company’s needs. Conducting in-depth research into the company and the role I’m applying for allows me to craft a well-written letter that goes into more detail about my fit and potential contributions. This approach aims to impress and set me apart from other applicants.
What the Experts Say
Job hunting can be grueling; scouring online listings, spiffing up your résumé, and preparing for interviews is just the start of the process. Writing an effective cover letter often involves conflicting advice. However, experts like Jodi Glickman suggest customizing your application to stand out. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the company culture before applying, advocating for a creative approach for some and a more conservative tone for others. John Lees, on the other hand, recommends initiating contact through email or LinkedIn before sending a generic application.
Crafting a cover letter for a job application requires a delicate balance, as Glickman advises bridging past experience with future aspirations. In the current post-pandemic job landscape, millions are making career changes and need to pivot skill sets. Glickman suggests using the cover letter to explain such shifts, emphasizing the opportunity to sell transferable skills. Lees emphasizes the importance of a strong opening sentence, recommending a punchy start that highlights excitement and what one brings to the table. For instance, referencing relevant experience without rehashing the résumé can effectively capture attention.
In essence, tailoring a cover letter for a job involves strategic thinking, blending company culture awareness with a personalized approach that showcases past experiences while focusing on future potential. Whether it’s Glickman’s emphasis on understanding the organizational vibe or Lees’ advice on initiating contact before sending an application, the cover letter serves as a crucial tool in securing that coveted interview opportunity.
What to consider before you write
When writing a cover letter for a job application, it’s essential to gather information about the company and the specific job opportunity. Upon seeing the ad on the job board, I promptly researched the company, considering both positive and negative reviews to understand its culture and brand. Learning about the company’s mission statement and vision further piqued my interest. In my letter, I’ll address the specific person’s name and title indicated in the job description or use a generic greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Human Resources.”
I’ll take the chance to share my story, highlighting my personality and strengths. Rather than rushing to submit my application, I’ll take the time to follow the specific instructions provided. This serves as an indication of my genuine interest in the position and organization. This is more than just another job opportunity; it’s a great chance for me to go above and beyond in contributing to the company’s success. I’m willing to invest the time and effort required for this exciting opportunity.
Cover letter format
A sample cover letter for a job application is crucial, and it should be formatted like a business letter with distinct sections. Begin with a Header containing your contact information and the date, followed by a proper salutation or greeting. The opening paragraph must grab attention, expressing your interest. In the middle paragraph(s), highlight your skills and experiences. The closing paragraph should reiterate your enthusiasm and how your qualifications align.
End the letter with a professional letter ending, add your signature, and ensure it remains one page long. Opt for a simple, professional font like Arial or Helvetica, sized between 10 to 12 points, keeping it left-aligned with single spacing and one-inch margins for a polished appearance.
How to write a cover letter in 6 steps
Here are six easy steps for crafting an excellent cover letter. In the following sections, we will provide detailed guidance on what to incorporate in each segment, along with illustrative examples.
1. Start with your header
A standard business letter should include your name, address, phone number, and email at the top of the page, mirroring the looks of your resume. When crafting a cover letter for a job application, it’s crucial to include role-specific and personal information that makes it easier for the hiring manager or recruiter to follow up. For example, on May 5, 20XX, I, Terry Washington, am writing to apply for the [sample cover letter for job application word format] position at Revolve Inc. The letter is in English language and adheres to the standard business letter format.
2. Include a greeting
Greetings! In your research for the perfect candidate, I am excited to be reviewing job applications for the position of [position title]. Enclosed is my sample cover letter for a job application in Word format, detailing my qualifications and enthusiasm for the role. Dear Tyler Wallace, I am confident that my skills align seamlessly with the requirements outlined in the job posting. Thank you for considering my application.
3. Write an opening paragraph
In this opening paragraph of my cover letter for the Graphic Designer position at Cloud Clearwater advertised on Indeed, I am excited to apply for the opportunity of adding my skills to your dynamic team. As a longtime fan of Cloud Clearwater’s beachwear products, I am thrilled at the prospect of contributing my unique style and passion for design to the company’s new product lines. My proficiency in video animation will be a significant advantage for the successful launch of these exciting additions. I believe that my ability to appeal to the target audience and convey the company’s vision succinctly is an important asset for this role.
4. Add a second paragraph
In any job application, an effective cover letter is crucial. The writing must be concise yet compelling. Begin with a captivating introduction, then extract key achievements and skills contextually relevant to the position. Organize the content into paragraphs or bullet points under headings like “Key Achievements” and “Skills Suited.” Use semantically and contextually relevant words from the job description to showcase how your experience aligns with the role.
In my recent professional experiences at Jenkins Technology Solutions, Inc., as a Director in Human Resources, my focus has been on enhancing efficiency and performance while fostering an inclusive environment. I spearheaded the Employee Retention Plan, reducing the overall turnover rate by 20% through our wellness program and internal training initiatives.
I led the promotions selection process, ensuring equal employment opportunity and diversity while contributing to the reduction in employee turnover, showcasing measurable impacts in line with the organization’s objectives. This cover letter, formatted for a job application, encapsulates my commitment to success through specific details and measurable impacts.
5. Finish with a closing paragraph
My top priority is to tailor a compelling cover letter for a job at River Tech, where I can apply my transferable skills and boost the company’s marketing goals. I aim to showcase my marketing skills that led to a 45% increase in customer engagement through innovative campaigns, all in line with the company’s best interests. By emphasizing our organization’s strengths, I plan to improve marketing presentations and expand our reach to attract new clients.
This shift in my career is driven by a commitment to changing careers for success, leveraging relatable experiences and highlighting past achievements for the benefit of the company. This presents an exciting opportunity to contribute significantly to River Tech’s success and go beyond the status quo.
6. End with a professional signoff
In crafting a cover letter for a sales position at TradeLot, I aim to present both a traditional version and a less traditional version. In the first example, I’ll employ specific phrases from the job description to showcase how my proven track record aligns with TradeLot’s continued success. This will culminate in a brief paragraph at the end, summarizing my fit for the role and my excitement at the chance to be part of TradeLot’s industry-leading team.
Conversely, the second example will take a creative approach, weaving a personal story that abstractly portrays the attributes called for in the job posting. Here, I’ll focus on learning and growth, painting a vivid picture that is both appealing and relevant to TradeLot’s goal of increasing its market share. Both cover letters will be less than 300 words long, aiming to capture the employer’s response and prompt possible next steps.
Example: Administrative assistant
In composing a cover letter for a job application, pay careful attention to both the format and content. Ensure a compelling introduction to capture the employer’s attention. Customize the letter to highlight your skills, experience, and qualifications in relation to the specific position. Demonstrate your enthusiasm and maintain a professional tone, emphasizing achievements and how your 5+ years of experience in high-level admin support align with the company’s needs in a fast-paced environment. End with a concise, formal conclusion and provide accurate contact information. Lastly, thoroughly proofread to eliminate errors before submission.
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am writing to express my interest in the opening for an administrative assistant at your company. My proven track record of success in various administrative roles, including my current job as an administrative coordinator, aligns seamlessly with the skills and responsibilities you’ve highlighted for this position.
In my current role, I’ve proactively stepped in to coordinate high-stakes events like the annual summit for senior leaders. I’ve arranged travel, accommodations, and organized meals and activities for the group of executives. Collaborating closely with the internal events team, I’ve ensured these events ran smoothly according to schedule, garnering positive feedback and doubling attendance. I am attracted to this role at your company because of the ample growth opportunities it offers.
My research into your company culture has shown that you value self-motivated individuals with a high level of organization and attention to detail—traits that are second nature to me. I am eager to apply my skills in challenging environments and look forward to sharing further details of my experience and motivations for your consideration.
Tips for an effective cover letter
Here are some tips to remember when composing a cover letter:
Customize your header based on your application format
When submitting a job application online, ensure your cover letter and resume bear the same heading as the application form. Include your contact information and address at the top, aligning with the heading. Write a concise cover letter in the body of the email, using the job’s key points and including why you’re an ideal fit. Attach your linkedin resume as a separate attachment, labeled clearly to match the online job application. This cohesive presentation boosts clarity and professionalism in your application. For reference, here’s a sample cover letter for a job example.
Avoid generic references to your abilities
Dear Hiring Managers,
As a sales associate with a passion for customer service, my skills extend beyond meeting customers’ expectations. I thrive in problem-solving activities, often leveraging my personal pride in delivering tangible business results. One desirable skill I possess is the ability to act swiftly on short notice, exemplified by meaningful anecdotes where my actions had a direct impact on the team’s success.
My career has been shaped by examples of turning challenges into opportunities, showcasing how my professional pride fuels my dedication to achieving goals. I believe these experiences make me a strong candidate, and I am eager to bring this level of skill and commitment to your team.
Keep it short and to the point
When crafting a cover letter for a job, it’s crucial to focus on aligning your qualifications and professional achievements with the job description. By closely identifying the most important details and desired experience, I aim to illustrate my proudest professional achievements in detailed but concise sentences. This approach allows me to map my attributes directly to what the hiring manager is looking for, demonstrating how I am the candidate with the traits and qualifications required.
Additionally, my cover letter serves as a way to clarify any questions or concerns that may arise from resume gaps, career changes, or short tenures across various organizations, offering the chance to showcase how these experiences have contributed to my skills and readiness for the role.
Proofread before you submit
When preparing a cover letter for a job, it is crucial to pay attention to details. Before submitting your application, thoroughly reread it to catch any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Engage in slow, deliberate reading to avoid overlooking mistakes, and carefully consider the phrasing of your sentences. Personalize the letter by addressing the hiring manager’s name in the salutation.
Always triple-check your application to demonstrate your commitment to excellence. Use this valuable opportunity to let your capabilities and authentic personality shine. Show respect for the hiring manager’s time and attention. Find inspiration by browsing through relevant samples on platforms like Indeed, ensuring that your job application content is well-organized in structured paragraphs. Feel free to shuffle lines or use bullet points to strategically extract and emphasize key words.
Make sure your words are semantically related and align with the context of the job, especially in NLP-related positions.
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1.How do I write a simple cover letter for a job application?
- Header – Input contact information.
- Greeting the hiring manager.
- Opening paragraph – Grab the reader’s attention with 2-3 of your top achievements.
- Second paragraph – Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
2.How do you put a cover letter on a job application?
To attach your cover letter, create a new email message in your email program and choose the paperclip icon. Browse through the files on your computer to find your cover letter and click to attach it to the email.
3.What is the format for a cover letter?
A cover letter format is similar to a one-page business letter format. It should have one-inch margins on all sides, size 10–12 font in Times New Roman or Calibri, and 1.15 line spacing. Once the formatting is squared away, your job is to make sure your cover letter is concise, relevant, and easy to read.
4.Is the cover letter and resume the same?
A cover letter is a professional document used to introduce yourself to an employer and explain why you want a specific job. Unlike a resume, which is an objective overview of your qualifications, the purpose of a cover letter is to prove why your qualifications make you the best fit for the job opening.
5.What is the purpose of a cover letter?
A cover letter introduces you to an employer through a personalized explanation of your qualifications and interest in a position. While a resume shares the technical details of your skills and work experience, a cover letter gives insight into your soft skills , attitude and motivations.