How Do I Write a Cover Letter?


Person typing on a computer

What is the point of a cover letter? It can seem monotonous when employers ask for both a resume and cover letter, because they are pretty much the same right? Wrong. Resumes serve the purpose of giving the employers a feel for your past experience and skills. Cover letters serve the purpose of explaining to the employer your interest in the role and why you would be a good fit. It is essentially an extended version of your resume that gets into the nitty gritty of why your past experience and skill makes you fit for the job.


The first item to tackle is how to properly format a cover letter. Every cover letter should take the same format as a business letter. This includes:

  • Header with correct date and contact information

  • Greeting

  • Introductory paragraph

  • Body text

  • Conclusion

  • Letter ending and signature.


Your cover letter should be only one page in length, with a basic font style, like Times New Roman or Arial, and should be 10 to 12 point font.


The next step is understanding how to properly write your cover letter, given the format above.


Header

The header is something you should not overcomplicate. Make it simple. The employer will expect your header to contain the following information: your name, your address, your phone number, your email address, and the date. Below the date, be sure to include the name of the letter recipient, title of the recipient, the company name, and the company address. The header should be located on the left hand side of your letter and make sure that all of your contact information is correct, as the employer may use it to follow up with you. For reference, look at the example below:


Johnny Appleseed

johnny.appleseed@gmail.com

(xxx) xxx-xxxx

100 North Drive

New York City, NY 44793


February 17, 2022


Noah Weiss

Uncommon Sports Group

6318 Cambridge Street

Minneapolis, MN 55408


Greeting

A greeting is always better if you can address a specific person. One of the first things you should do is research who will be reading your cover letter. If you successfully find that person’s name, then your greeting should be addressed to that individual. Be sure to use the title Mr or Ms to show professionalism and respect to that person. If you cannot find that person’s name, then address the cover letter to “hiring manager”. You can use words such as “dear” or “hello” if you would like, or you can simply use that person’s name. For reference, see the examples below:


  • Dear Ms. Williams,

  • Ms. Williams,

  • Hello Ms. Williams,

  • Dear Hiring Manager,


Introductory Paragraph

The introductory paragraph should give the employer a clear understanding of why and how you came across the available position. The paragraph should start by including the job title you are applying for and where you saw the position. Next, explain in some detail your specific interest in the job and the company to show that you have genuine interest and that you have done your research. It is important to remember that this paragraph will be the employers first impression of you, so make sure to provide intentional detail and to read it over carefully to avoid any grammatical errors.


Body Text

The body text serves the purpose of providing detail about your experience and how it is relevant to the position. It is important to include the key experiences that relate to the open position. Remember, the organization or team will already have your resume, therefore you don’t need to list every experience you have had. Focus on one or two specific details about your key experiences that relate to the job description. It would be valuable to also look for keywords in the job description and input those into your body text. The body text can be as little as one paragraph in length, as long as you provide sufficient detail in regards to the relevance of your experience to the job.


Conclusion

The conclusion serves the purpose of reminding the employee of the key details that you wrote about in the introduction and body paragraphs. It could be beneficial to provide an anecdotal story from one of your experiences that proves your ability to handle the responsibilities that come with the position, or to highlight the skills you gained in past experiences that are relevant to the job. Keep the conclusion brief and make sure to close by saying that you look forward to hearing from the employer with the next steps. Finally, put your signature at the very bottom of your cover letter.


Cover letters are a vital part of the application process. It will highlight your key skill sets, show the employer your genuine interest in the position, and give the employer more details on your past experiences. If you want to master how to write a good cover letter or desire to learn other professional development skills, apply for the USG Academy today!