Cover Letter

Your cover letter invites the hiring committee to read your resume and tells them why you are the best person for the position. It also may cover high-level information or relevant specifics that you might want to give extra attention.

Formatting Fundamentals

Page Setup

Your cover letter's format should match that of your resume. Use the same margins, font(s) and heading to establish a sense of consistency and continuity among your application materials. 

Length

For entry-level positions a one-page cover letter is usually sufficient. With that said, one paragraph is not enough. A typical cover letter will consist of a heading, between three and five paragraphs of text and a salutation, altogether filling one page.

Crafting Your Content

Greeting

Address your cover letter to the appropriate person, preferably a specific individual. You may need to do some research to learn who that person is. If you cannot identify a specific individual you may open your letter with "Dear Hiring Manager" or similar, but avoid the generic "To Whom It May Concern."

Paragraph 1 - Opening

Say hello, tell them which job you are applying for and make sure they know how excited you are about it. Something like this:

I am thrilled to submit my application for the [job title] position with ABC Company. As a longtime user of ABC's products ...  

The Hook

Highlight specific achievements from your previous experience that are relevant to the job you are interested in.

Skills

Connect other relevant skills, certifications or experiences that make you a great candidate for the position.

Closing

Succinctly summarize your strengths as a candidate for the position and invite the employer to contact you about your candidacy. Include your preferred contact information (usually email address and mobile number) in the text as a call-to-action.

Signature

If applying electronically a signature is not required on your cover letter. Simply close the letter with "Sincerely," space down two lines and type your name. If applying for a position using a printed resume, leave four blank spaces after "Sincerely" so you have space for your signature.

Tips

  • Grammatical and spelling errors are the silent killers of the job search. Such errors may be the only thing that distinguishes your application from others. Have at least two people look over your cover letter and resume to catch mistakes before applying.
  • Include your name, contact information and the date on your letter.
  • Single-spaced is preferable, but follow the formatting on your resume.
  • Be confident in your writing. Without embellishing the truth, just state it as is. For example, instead of saying, "I am pretty good with numbers," you might say, "I have extensive training with accounting and am excellent when dealing with details and numbers."
  • Use your cover letter to add substance to your resume. If you cannot explain something in your resume, use your cover letter to make your point.

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