Your Guide to Writing a Cover Letter

Whenever you apply for a job position through a job search board or company career site, you really should include a cover letter so that the hiring manager knows there is a match between your skill set, experience and the job opportunity. A cover letter allows you to demonstrate the professional skills and experiences that make you a suitable candidate for a job position. How you write a cover letter, how effective it is and how you send it to the employer tells him a lot about you. To know how to impress a prospective employer with an inspiring cover letter, you should consider the following tips:

Introductory Paragraph

Start your letter by addressing the hiring manager. You can find his name in the job ad that you are applying to. However, if you are responding to an online job application, then you can try to contact the HR department for the name of the hiring manager. If all else fails, you can address the letter to “Dear Hiring Manager for [name of position]”. While not ideal, this is better than not addressing the letter (which might make it look like a form letter). Begin you cover letter by indicating the job position and then highlight the particular skills and experiences that make you the perfect candidate for the specific job position.


Main Body Paragraph

Next, you will write the body paragraph.  This is the “meat” of our cover letter and where you will indicate how you meet the requirements of the job position. Highlight specific skills that meet the job requirements. Provide any experiences that further shows that you are the right person for the job. Make references to your resume wherever applicable. If there is no specific job that you are applying to, then you can establish how your skills and abilities would benefit the company.


Closing Paragraph

In the last paragraph, you will remind the hiring manager about your interest in the job and that you are looking forward to an interview. Give your contact details so that the employer can contact you. Wrap up your letter by thanking the hiring manager for their time.

Book Corner – If you need some help in creating your cover letter, take a look at this book – Knock ’em Dead Cover Letters: Cover letter samples and strategies you need to get the job you want


Don’t Make These Mistakes:

  • Spelling errors – Your cover letter should be free of all spelling errors or grammatical errors. Proofread your cover letter.
  • Lack of Follow-up – Don’t leave the letter “open-ended”.  Indicate that you will follow up in two weeks.
  • Summary of Your Resume – To cut and paste from your resume or restate what is already included in your resume. Your cover letter should be a stand-alone document.
  • Form Letter Format – Your cover letter should be specific to the opportunity and not a form letter.  It should specifically mention the job title and mention skills that are aligned to the job opportunity
  • Research the company before writing your letter (take a look at Company Research). Find out as much as you can about the company and the job position. Research the hiring manager via LinkedIn.  Your cover letter should show that you are familiar with the company.
  • Never send the same cover letter for every job posting.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,

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