After you’ve put together a great resume, the next step is to write an impressive cover letter to go with it. Cover letters are the perfect opportunity to go further into the qualifications and skills you can’t fully explain in your resume. A strong cover letter personalizes job applications while highlighting the most impressive parts of your work history.
Before you start writing, however, it is important to know what is required in a cover letter
A cover letter should have the exact same header as the resume. After that comes the date and the company information to which you are applying (hiring manager’s name if you know it, company name, company address).
Salutations on Cover Letters
Take time to look up the name of the hiring manager of the company for which you are applying .This extra step will personalize your cover letter and show that you put forth extra effort. Use the person’s last name along with “Ms.”, “Mr.”, “Dr.”. If you are unable to find the name of the contact person, use the address “Dear Hiring Manager” and not “Dear Sir or Madam.”
The Opening Paragraph
The opening paragraph of your cover letter should confirm the job for which you are applying and mention the name of the company. In addition, sometimes the company wants to know how you found the listing, so feel free to add your source. This first paragraph can be one to two sentences long.
Most cover letters will only have two or three paragraphs after the opening. Don’t overwhelm the hiring manager with too many details, or repeat information that is already on your resume.
Use this space to talk about:
- Why you’re the best candidate for the position. What hard and soft skills do you bring to the company?
- Why you want to work for this specific company and what you know about them
- How your skills could benefit the company
- Your work experience and skills that match the job requirements listed. Use the exact verbiage the hiring manager used in the job posting.
- The final paragraph of your letter should re-emphasize why you are an ideal fit for this company and specific job. Sum up your qualifications in one succinct thought.
- End your cover letter with a call to action. If you want to follow up with the hiring manager, include a specific date and time that you intend to follow up. If not, just mention that you look forward to meeting them and discussing the application further.
- Lastly, be sure to thank the manager for their time. If you have added attachments (writing samples, resume, portfolio, etc.), mention them at this point.
Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of writing your own cover letter? Contact USA Resume and we’ll be happy to help. Our certified and professional writers can construct a cover letter that highlights your experience and skills.