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A Good Cover Letter
While preparing for a job application, most people focus on two things — the resume and the interview.
And most of their applications fail… why?
Because they ignore the most important component of a job application — the cover letter.
Everyone understands the value of a strong introduction. When you meet someone in person, you don’t immediately blurt out your educational background, history, and credentials.
Similarly, your resume shouldn’t be your first introduction to the hiring manager — it should be the cover letter.
To maximize your chance of a successful job application, you need to learn how to write a good cover letter.
The cover letter sets the first impression, so it should be infused with personality, even as it provides an overview of your credentials and accomplishments. Think of the cover letter as a teaser — get the hiring manager excited about reading your resume.
In this guide, we discuss why you need a cover letter, the anatomy of a cover letter, and how to write a good cover letter. We hope this guide helps you land the job of your dreams.
Why do you need a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page letter usually submitted alongside your resume during a job application. It’s a short introduction to your personality, professional background, and interests. The cover letter shouldn’t be any more than 400 words long.
Most people fail to understand the value of a good cover letter. Some assume it’s a simple introduction to the resume, whereas others assume it’s filler material to be skimmed before the resume.
There’s a crucial difference between a resume and a cover letter — the former offers information about your credentials and achievements, devoid of personality, and the latter provides context for your achievements.
If you want to catch the hiring manager’s interest, you must write a compelling and engaging cover letter that clearly highlights your personality. If you don’t write a good cover letter, even the strongest professional achievements won’t matter because your resume will be sent straight into the bin.
Below, we highlight the anatomy and characteristics of a good cover letter.
Anatomy of a cover letter
Your professional cover letter should begin with an overview of your contact details, including your name, phone number, email address, date, and job title. You should also include the name of the hiring manager and the company to which you’re applying.
Once you’ve entered the contact details and the hiring manager’s information, you can start with the content. The content of your cover letter should primarily consist of three essential components: opener, body, and call-to-action (CTA).
You have to start with a snappy, concise, and informative paragraph that compels the hiring manager to read more.
In three short sentences, you have to provide the following information:
- Your desired role
- Where and how you found the job
- Why you’re interested in the position
- Why you’re the right person for the job
The following is an example of a good opener:
“I have been following XYZ’s content and marketing campaigns for several years, and I was thrilled to find an opening for the position of Content Manager on your website. I have led the content teams at numerous national and regional organizations, and I believe I’ll be a valuable addition to your team.”
Once you’ve caught the hiring manager’s interest, you need to describe (briefly) your relevant experience and skillsets. You must also highlight what you bring to the table and what you’ll need from them.
In two to three paragraphs, you need to provide the following information:
- Examples of relevant work done in other organizations
- Memorable examples of problems you’ve solved
- The results of your initiative, preferably in bullet-point format
- How you can help the organization to which you’re applying
What you expect from the role and organization
You should always conclude your professional cover letter with a call-to-action (CTA), a sentence or two to encourage action from the hiring manager.
Your CTA can include the following:
- Encouragement to peruse your resume or portfolio for more information
- How you welcome the chance to discuss your strategies with the company
An assertion that you’ll follow up on your application after a week
Cover letter examples
Below, we provide examples of cover letters for different professional roles, including customer service, registered nurse, and sales representatives.
Even if these cover letter examples don’t relate to your particular profession, you can gauge the ideal narrative style and format for a good cover letter.