Updated: Feb 17, 2020
So, what is a Cover Letter and do you really need one?
First, a cover letter expresses your high level of interest and knowledge about a job position for which you're applying and briefly describes how you match the requested skills & experience. Second, YES you need a cover letter. You should be view creating a cover letter as mandatory and include one in every job application packet. Even if a cover letter is not listed as part of the application requirements, you should create one and include it anyway. Another way to look at cover letters....
Cover Letter =
Let’s be Awesome Together!
Your cover letter will highlight the most relevant experience from your resume and connect that experience with the position for which you are applying. Below are some key recommendations to follow.:
Your cover letter should be specific to the position for which you’re applying
Your cover letter should be 1 page only
Your cover letter should describe your high level interest in the position
Your cover letter should highlight your most relevant skills & experience
Your cover letter should provide your contact information
Your cover letter should be specific to EACH position for which you are applying, relating your skills and experience to those noted in each job posting. Your cover letter is your first, and best, chance to sell the hiring manager on your candidacy for employment so make sure it's perfect. Creating a separate specific cover letter for each job requires more work from you but it can make a difference! When reviewing a cover letter, hiring staff usually can tell right away whether it is generic or if someone took the time to craft it specifically for that company and job position.
The cover letter is also used as an introduction to your resume. Your resume includes so much information about your experience and the cover letter helps focus the reader’s attention on key points and how they relate to the job position. In other words, you are giving a focused introduction as to why you are a great candidate and great fit for the job. A cover letter needs to be concise and specific so let’s break it down into three main parts. Each part can consist of one or more sentences.
Part 1 - Grab the reader’s interest
Part 2 - Provide more details about YOU
Part 3 - Call for action
Part 1 - Grab the Reader’s Interest
Highlight the fact that you are excited to work for this company and explain WHY you want to work for this company. Be specific with your wording and descriptions so you don’t sound cliché.
I really want to work for your company because it sounds like a great opportunity.
I’m excited to work for your company because of its reputation for being a leader in the __________field and because this position matches my professional goals.
Examples of phrases to use in Part 1:
I’m excited to work for your company because of its strong reputation in the field.
I want to work with your company to help build your brand.
I’m excited about this job position because…..
Part 2 - Provide more Details About YOU
Highlight 1-3 of your best skillsets that match the job for which you’re applying. Pull information from your resume and write a narrative describing your skills and experience.
3 years of Varsity sports, Honor Roll.
My experience includes leadership development as Captain of my Varsity sports teams for 3 years and high level of achievement making the Honor Roll. It sounds like these qualities fit what you need for this position.
Examples of phrases to use in Part 2:
My experience includes serving in leadership roles at school and volunteering at numerous nonprofit events and fundraisers.
Volunteering requires flexibility and a strong team player work ethic and I believe my qualities in those areas make me an excellent candidate for this position.
I have completed 2 years of coursework in this field that help me be an asset for your company.
Part 3 - Call for Action
The most common call to action on a cover letter is to state that you want to connect with the hiring manager about this job position. The goal here is to maintain a line of communication with the hiring staff so that you can ask more questions about the job and be well-informed of the application process. By following up directly with the hiring staff, you can learn more about what is needed from you for this type of job and finally, you can show the staff that you are responsible. When requesting to connect with someone, be specific and offer a day and time for the call or meeting. If you really want this job, don’t just leave it in their hands to contact you. Be proactive and reach out to them.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
I look forward to connecting with you to learn more about this position and will follow up this letter with a call to you on Thursday.
Examples of phrases to use in Part 3:
I look forward to connecting with you about this position and will follow up this letter with a call to you on Thursday.
I look forward to meeting with you to further discuss my qualifications for this position and will follow up with a call to you on Thursday.
I look forward to the opportunity to meet with you and to further discuss my skills as they relate to this position. I will follow up this letter with a call to you on Thursday.
In summary, a cover letter is an introduction to your resume and helps connect you with the hiring staff. Make sure that you create and provide a separate cover letter for every job for which you apply! Be specific with listing your experience and why it matches what the company needs for the job position. Lastly, always include a call for action to ensure that you can continue the communication with the hiring staff about the job position.