Your cover letter often makes the first impression of your job profile. According to statistics, 47% employers say that cover letters are vital for spotlighting an applicant’s professional achievements. It shows how important is a cover letter for a resume. It briefly describes your qualifications and states why the hiring manager should recruit you. This is why it is equally important to write your cover letter with a clear outline as much as you do for a resume.
An outline of a cover letter helps give an understanding of what information should be included where. To make your application stand out from the rest, here is how the outline for cover letter should look like.
Before diving into the cover letter outline, the first thing you should write is the subject line. A subject line should be intriguing enough to make the recruiter open your email. It can be something like this:
Emily Austin-Senior Graphic Designer-Resume & Cover Letter
Contact Details & Date
How you write contact details and date on a cover letter depends on the medium you submit it on. It can either be written on a hard copy or digitally through email or any job portal.
Sending in a hard copy of a cover letter can be quite impressive. Although hard copy submissions are not much applicable these days, if the situation calls for one, you should include the following contact details on the cover letter:
Your city, state, ZIP code
Your phone number
Your email address
Month Day, Year
Hiring Manager’s/ Employer’s name
Hiring Manager’s/ Employer’s Title
Company city, state, ZIP code
If you are going to apply for a job online (which you will be 98% of the time), always include the following information:
Moving forward, the next step is to address the hiring manager. Normally we tend to write Dear Sir/Madam or the commonly used “To whom it may concern” when greeting. However, this does not give a professional look and feel.
One should mention the name of the recruiter or hiring manager, which may have been mentioned in the job description or on the company’s website. While addressing them, it is advised to write their first name and last name and not include Mr. or Mrs. For example,
If the name isn’t mentioned, you can just simply write.
Dear Hiring Manager,
An opening paragraph is the first thing your recruiter will read. To catch the reader’s attention, open strong, and convince the recruiter you are the best fit for the job. Introduce yourself, mention the job position you are applying for or the department you want to work in, including how you found out about this job opening or the company. You can also include your knowledge of the company in a concise manner, what they do, and your reason for applying there.
If you are applying through a referral of a friend or previous colleague, you must include it in the opening paragraph like this:
The Senior Marketing Executive position came highly recommended to me by Oliver Smith, Procurement Manager at Company XYZ. He thinks my marketing expertise and talent for drawing customers will significantly impact the organization since Oliver and I coordinated ongoing business events together for several years.
Middle Paragraphs (Experience and Qualifications)
The middle paragraph discusses the most relevant experience concerning the job opening. It draws attention to your unique qualifications and skills that make you a good fit for the position.
To establish the link between your prior successes and your suitability for the position you are applying for, the information is summarized into one or two paragraphs. You should be focusing on matching the needs of your employer. A good way to connect to it is to match the requirements mentioned in the job description with your own skills and qualification.
Do not keep repeating what is included in the resume. They don’t want to read the same thing over and over again. Write in a formal conversational manner and create a professional story that convinces them to hire or call you right away for a meeting for further discussion.
In my former position as a Junior Accountant at J.L Lawyers & Co, I accurately managed several ledgers within QuickBooks while managing multiple projects on my own and continuously learning new ideas while meeting the deadlines. I was in charge of putting together the company’s financial accounts and giving them to the auditor. I served as the point of contact between the internal accounting department and the external audit team.
Moreover, my previous experience in the sales industry has led me to develop strong communication and conflict-resolution skills. I am well-experienced in using a variety of tax and accounting programs, including but not limited to Microsoft Word, MS Excel, and PowerPoint.
The closing paragraph is used as a call-to-action message. But before mentioning that, start with restating briefly how your qualifications best suit the position. Mention that you are looking forward to a meeting or conversing to further discuss your background and the job duties with the employer.
Additionally, you can state the day or time you will request a follow-up. Thank the employer for taking the time to review and consider your application.
As a certified accountant, I have a keen attention to detail and excellent organizational and time management skills with a proven track record of accuracy in my job duties. I am looking forward to discussing further about my background and the job opportunity. I appreciate the time you have invested in considering my application.
The ending signature should be in continuation of your closing paragraph; you can include the complimentary terms and then include your first name and last name at the end. These terms can be,
- Best/Kind Regards
- Thank you
Avoid using the words “yours” and “respectfully.” If you are submitting the hard copy of your cover letter, it is best to leave a space between the complimentary term and your full name to include your hand-written signature.
There you go, now you know how to make a cover letter outline. With these tips and tricks, you can effectively make an outline for cover letter.