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Whether you are applying for a new job or requesting an informational interview with a new company, you’ll need an excellent cover letter to impress your employers. A cover letter isn’t just a requirement – it is an opportunity for you to showcase your qualifications and explain to your potential employers why you are the perfect person for the job.
Your cover letter will be the first impression you make on your potential employers. A well-written one could very well be the key to helping you secure the job. Thus it is imperative that your cover letter is not only concise and compelling but also formatted in a professional way that makes you stand out from the rest of the competition.
Read on to find out how you can write a well-formatted cover letter to impress your employers and increase your likelihood of being called in for an interview.
What Is A Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a one-page letter addressed to your employer that highlights your qualifications and expertise and explains why you meet the requirements of the specific job that you have applied for. It usually accompanies your resume as a part of your job application.
While some job openings require you to submit a cover letter alongside your resume, others make it optional. However, it is always better to include a cover letter as a part of your job application even if it is not necessary. It allows you to not only show your personality and passion to your employers but also build a bridge between yourself and the person hiring you before your interview.
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How To Format A Cover Letter
You’ve drafted the perfect resume and shortlisted the best jobs you wish to apply for. But you’re now left wondering how to format the perfect cover letter. But fret not because we’ve got you covered.
Here are a few tips on how to format a winning cover letter.
Include A Header At The Top
Just like you would in a resume, it is important that you start your cover letter with a header that contains your contact information. In this section, you should include your:
- Full Name
- Phone Number
- City, State
- Name of the hiring manager/their professional title
- Name of the company you are apply to
In addition, you can also choose to add a link to your LinkedIn or other social media profiles that are relevant to your field. You should also add a link to your website or online portfolio here if you have one.
Start Your Cover Letter With A Salutation
You should start your letter by first greeting the person who’s going to read your cover letter. Address the cover letter to your hiring manager. You want to show the hiring person that you’ve done your research. If the job ad doesn’t state a name, search for the hiring manager’s name on the company’s website or their LinkedIn.
Avoid using generic and impersonal salutations such as “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern”. If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, just use “Dear Hiring Manager” instead.
Start With An Opening Paragraph
Once you’ve written your salutation, it’s time for you to start writing the actual contents of your cover letter. Start with an introduction paragraph that grabs the reader’s attention from the get-go.
Your hiring manager probably receives hundreds of applications and may not end up reading the entire letter so it’s imperative that you make a good first impression so that the reader is compelled to continue reading. Introduce yourself and express your passion to the employer. Talk about some of your top achievements and how working at the company you’ve applied for lines up with your career goals.
Here’s an example of what a good opening paragraph looks like:
“Dear Mr. XYZ,
My name is Ali and I’d like to express my interest in the position of Sales Manager at ABC Inc. to use my expertise to help your company exceed its sales goals. While reading the job description for this position, I was surprised to see how my expertise and skillset match exactly what your company is looking for. I feel that y our company’s work culture and core mission align perfectly with my career goals. As a Sales Representative at PQR Inc., I managed to generate a revenue of over $20,000 every month last year and I hope to do so and more for your company in the future.”
Write Body Paragraphs
Now that you’ve covered the opening paragraph, you need to write the body of your cover letter. The body should consist of one or two paragraphs that highlight why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
The body paragraph is where you can showcase your relevant experience and professional skills and convince the reader why they should consider you for the job over all the other applicants. You can also use relevant data and metrics to highlight how the work you have done for your past employers has made an impact on their companies.
Remember to do your research about the company you are applying to and explain why you are applying to the hiring manager. Avoid writing generic reasons such as “I’d like to work for ABC Inc. because of their positive work environment”. A positive work environment is something that every company claims to offer. You need to be specific when writing about what you like about the company.
Wrap It Up With A Closing Paragraph
Finally, it’s time to wrap up your cover letter with a concluding paragraph. In this final section of your cover letter, you should:
- Recap and summarize your previously mentioned goals and experiences
- Briefly mention any points that you failed to include in the previous paragraphs and could help the hiring manager make their final decision.
- Thank the reader for their time and considering your application
- State your intention to follow up with the employer
- End the closing paragraph with a call to action that compels the employer to get back to you with your application.
Use The Right Formal Closing
Once you’ve written the closing paragraph of your cover letter, you must end the letter with a formal goodbye followed by your first and last name. You can use any of the following popular closings to your cover letter:
- Best regards,
- Thank you,
- Kind regards,
Avoid using casual closings such as “Cheers,” or “Yours Truly’. If you’re submitting a hard copy of your cover letter, make sure to handwrite your signature at the bottom followed by your full name.
Use A Professional Font
When it comes to writing a cover letter, it’s always better to choose a basic font such as Calibri, Times New Roman, or Arial. Many companies make use of applicant tracking systems that automatically sorts job applications based on specific keywords. Using complicated fancy fonts means that the software might not be able to read your letter, keeping your application from reaching the employer.
Use 12 or 11-point sizes and single-line spacing to make it easier for the hiring manager to read. Also, make sure to use standard one-inch margins and that your text is aligned to the left. If you’re submitting a soft copy of your cover letter, submit it in a PDF or Word format.
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Cover Letter Examples
Looking for some inspiration? Here are some sample cover letters for different fields to help you write your own:
The Bottom Line
A tailored and well-formatted cover letter shows your employers that you have an eye for detail and that you have taken the time to do your research and put in effort towards your job application. A one-page cover letter can be what decides your career going forward. By following the tips in this article, you’re sure to write a cover letter that will impress your potential employers.