If you’ve been job hunting, and getting negative feedback, or no feedback at all, then it’s time to check the tools you’re using to sell yourself to employers.
One of such is your cover letter. It serves as an introduction to who you are. It must therefore be brief, yet compelling. Achieving this can be challenging, but by using the perfect template, you’ll be sure to capture the employer’s attention. Below are sections that a winning cover letter template must have:
This includes your contact information: name, address, phone or cell phone and email address. The level of formality your header has will depend on the company you apply to. If you’re applying to a formal business, it’s important to use a formal header to open your cover letter. Put your address, the date, and the company’s address. But if you’re applying to a company that isn’t as formal, you don’t need to include yours and the company’s addresses.
Getting a name to address your letter is imperative. Do your research to avoid the generic “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” which looks unprofessional and like you didn’t make an effort. Take the time to research the name of the recruiter or hiring manager online. If you do your research and aren’t confident you found the right name, then you should definitely use the generic greeting — but if you are sure, then it shows you put in the effort to find their name and it will catch the recruiter’s eye.
3. Paragraph 1: Introduction
Your opening paragraph should, in 1-3 sentences, state why you’re excited to apply and what makes you the perfect candidate. Get right to the point, and don’t worry about explaining where you found the posting or who you know at the company. This isn’t a place to go into detail about why you’re a great candidate — that’s for the second paragraph. Here, simply list a few key reasons in one sentence to set up the rest of your letter. Keep in mind that the recruiter may cross-reference your cover letter with your resume, so make sure the two sync up.
4. Paragraph 2: Why you’re a great fit for the job
Next, sell yourself and your experience by choosing one or two concrete examples that show why you’re a great fit for the position. What did you do at a previous company that gave you relevant experience? Which projects have you worked on that would benefit the new company? How will your prior experience help this company grow? Stay humble in your explanation of credentials while still showing that you would be an asset to the team. Use this paragraph to show you’re genuinely excited and interested in the position.
5. Paragraph 3: Why the Company is a great fit for you
While it’s certainly important you’re a good fit for the job, it’s also important that the company is a good fit for you. “A cover letter typically describes why you’re great for a company — but how will you benefit from getting hired?” Show you’re serious about growing and developing your career at this new company. What impresses and excites you about the company? Is there something that you feel strongly about that aligns with the company’s goals?
6. Strong closing paragraph
Don’t write off the final few sentences of your cover letter, it’s important to finish strong. Be straightforward about your interest and enthusiasm about the new position without coming off too strong. Tell them you’re available to talk about the opportunity at any time and include your phone number and email address. At this point, the ball is (rightly) in the recruiter’s court to decide how to follow up. Last but certainly not the least, thank them for their time and consideration.