What is A Cover Letter?

What is A Cover Letter?

Cover Letter Tips Posted by: GradSiren
Time to Read:   5 min

Your cover letter, sometimes called an application letter, is your introduction to future employers. It represents you, your skills, your experience and, to a certain extent, your personality. The goal of a cover letter is to entice a recruiter or hiring manager to read your resume and call you for a job interview.

So it’s essential that your cover letter is impeccable. Impressive. Error free. No matter how much or how little experience you have, it has to be awesome.

It should be brief and to the point. No more than three or four short paragraphs (two-four sentences).

Your first paragraph should grab the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s interest with your enthusiasm and reasons you’re excited about the job.

In the second paragraph, explain why you’re the perfect match for the job and the company. And in the third, explain why the job and the company is the perfect match for you—your dream job. The closing paragraph wraps it up.

Writing a successful cover letter that guarantees an interview

Imagine your cover letter. It’s on a desk with countless other cover letters and resumes, and it looks just like all the others.

You picture a manager taking a quick glance and tossing it in the trash with your resume. She didn’t even look at your resume, and she only glanced at your cover letter. Don’t let it happen! Your cover letter has to stand out from all the others. That’s the first part of the battle.

Your cover letter says so much about you, and it will show right away whether you’re the best person for the job or not. Grammar problems, spelling mistakes, the wrong font size, and poor writing are all one-way tickets to the trashcan.

Cover letter steps to success

  1. Start strong

You want to grab your prospective employer’s attention immediately. He or she needs to know you’re qualified and have something special to offer. There are some straightforward ways to do this. When you’re looking at the job description, take careful note of details like the hiring manager’s name, the actual job title, and the responsibilities.

If you can’t find a name, do a little digging. Visit the company’s website and pay close attention to pages like “About Our Team” or “Who We Are.” Check out their social media platforms and see if you can find the name of the person. But that’s hard to do if it’s a large company.

If you’re not 100% sure who to address in your cover letter, your best bet is to start with “Dear Hiring Manager.” Never use “Dear Sir or Madame” or “To Whom it May Concern” (at least not in the U.S.) since that will communicate one thing: you’re not up-to-date with current business writing practices.

And be sure to use the information you learn about the company to convey information in a way that resonates with them.

  1. Do the research

You’ll need to do a little homework for your cover letters. Read as much as you can about each company and the job you’re applying for, and browse through LinkedIn for executives, top managers, and employees. Scan Twitter and Facebook as well. Most companies have a substantial social media presence in addition to their website, and you can learn a lot about them.

In addition, use key phrases from their website and similar language that clearly shows you’re their next star employee. Absorb their branding style, buzzwords, and attitude—this is what separates you from other candidates.

3) Show off your best talents

It’s hard to know exactly how to present yourself in a cover letter for a job you desperately want. You have talent and experience, but it can be hard to choose what to focus on.

One thing is sure: You need to highlight your best skills and directly explain how they will work for the benefit of the company you’re applying to.

That’s why it’s important to study the company and learn what their goals are. And consider this: It’s possible that the result of your research won’t be what you expect. You might decide you don’t want to work for them after all! Keep that possibility in mind, and only apply if you feel like you’ve fallen in love with the company and their products or services.

Understanding a company will help you write a professional, successful cover letter that makes it seem like you’ll fit right in. And if you know all about the company, your work will be easier as you explain why you’re the best candidate for the job.

4) Mention your top skills and abilities

Naturally, you’ll want to focus on your key skills, though certainly not in the same detail as your resume.

In your opening paragraph, explain why you’re excited to apply for the position. You have the skills to help them reach their goals (which you learned about in your research), and you can get to work in the advertised position right away.

In your second paragraph, explain why your skills and experience fit perfectly with the job and the company. In marketing (and that’s what you’re doing, marketing yourself), it’s called benefits. How will your skills and experience benefit the company? Study the job description, and add a few more details that apply directly to the position you’re applying for.

In your third paragraph, tell why the company is the perfect match for you. Explain how the position fits with your specific career goals, values, and interests and what you want to achieve. An employer wants to know what you’re bringing to the company, of course. But they also want to know you have a reason to stay, learn, and work hard with motivation that goes deeper than a paycheck.

5) The call to action (CTA)

Many online articles end like with a call to action (CTA). Have you noticed? A CTA asks people to do something like register for a course, buy something, click here for more information, and so on.

In your cover letter, a CTA needs to be simple and polite. You thank them for their time and say you’ll welcome an opportunity to discuss the employer’s objectives and show how you can help the company grow.

There’s no need to be specific about days or times or the type of contact you prefer. Let the hiring manager decide and keep a close watch on your email and cell phone.

Cover Letter Template

Without a good cover letter, no hiring manager will look at your resume, and you can forget about an interview.

However, coming up with something both original and intelligent is difficult. For that reason, GradSiren has designed a variety of templates suitable for any career aspiration. From business managers and nurses to lawyers and doctors, we have cover letter formats to help get you on the right track.

We also offer tips and tricks from a vast range of resources. And that includes cover letter samples of successful job seekers, which means you can see exactly what recruiters and employers are looking for.

Please let us know your thoughts and experience in the comments below! And share this article with friends who are also job searching. Remember, sharing is caring!

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The information on this site is provided as a courtesy. GradSiren is not a career or legal advisor and does not guarantee job interviews or offers.

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What is A Cover Letter?

by GradSiren Time to read: 4 min