HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT COVER LETTER
Lisa Hanna Schaller
Writing a cover letter is usually considered one of the most annoying moments of the job application process, however, it is one of only a few chances of standing out from a large pool of usually very competitive candidates. Cover letters are sometimes misconceived as a longer copy of resumes, but such documents bring no additional value to employers and end up discarded, along with its authors. Just like many of us, employers have no interest in reading the same thing twice, especially given that they have thousands of applicants to review. Cover letters give candidates an opportunity to expand on their experiences and showcase their traits, knowledge, and skills that make them unique from the competition. Additionally, something that people often forget is that employers review all components of a cover letter, including formatting and writing style, to learn as much as possible about the candidate. For example, a spelling mistake or inconsistent spacing is an easily noticeable oversight that communicates a lack of professionalism and attention to detail.
However, do not stress, it is very simple to write a successful cover letter. Just follow the indications below and your dream job will be one step closer.
1. Contact information: it is important to include at a minimum your full name, phone number, email address, and street address in the heading of your cover letter. If you don’t, your cover letter might be the best one in the world, but recruiters do not have the information to tell you that. The placement of the information should mirror the one of your resume, for consistency and professionalism. Remember to include also the date, usually positioned above the contact information on the left upper corner.
2. Greeting: before the salutation, you should include the name of the person you are writing to and the company address. In the salutation you should address the hiring manager by name, giving the letter a more personal touch. In case you don’t have access to this information you can address the greeting to the hiring department.
3. Introduction: This paragraph should hook the reader and incentivize them to continue reading. The attention span of recruiters is known to be very limited. Make a short presentation of yourself and use a powerful example such as an anecdote or a standout skill to illustrate your qualifications for the role.
4. Body paragraph: in this part of your cover letter you should write the reasons why you are the perfect fit for the company, providing some examples of experiences that made you ready for the position. Including words from the job description and concrete metrics illustrating your achievements make your cover letter stronger. Personalize your cover letter to the specific company you are applying to. This will show that you have done your basic homework and that your interest in joining the firm is truthful.
5. Closing paragraph: it is important to end your cover letter with a strong call to action. Try to reiterate your interest in the company without sounding redundant.
6. Additional: don’t exaggerate with the formatting of the document, as it has to look clean and organized. Don’t forget to save the final version in a pdf format!