5 Key Elements of a Cover Letter
1. Contact information
Make sure your contact information is accurate and professional (no silly email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org here). Also make sure that your letter is addressed to the most appropriate person and department.
Get your letter off on the right foot — avoid a generic salutation (e.g., “To whom it may concern”). Take the time to research a specific person to address the letter to (such as a team manager). Use titles if needed (e.g., “Dr.”), and standard honorifics (“Ms.” instead of “Mrs.” for example).
Communicate what makes you unique, and why you believe you’re the right person for the job. Keep your tone enthusiastic, and present a specific example of your skills or work history as a “hook” to grab the employer’s attention.
Elaborate on your best qualifications, and how you can contribute to the company’s success. Prove you’ve done your homework and note what intrigues you about the company’s business, needs and strong points. Provide details on your career and the unique skills that supply more depth and detail than what can be included in a resume.
Conclude your letter with a summation of your strengths, reiterate your interest in the job, and most importantly, provide a call to action, giving the employer incentive to get in touch with you.
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Step 2: Writing a Compelling Opener
Address the hiring manager
The first thing you need to do is address the person you’re writing the letter to. The most traditional way is by using “Mr.” or “Ms.,” but if the company or industry is more casual, you can drop the title and start your letter with “Dear.”
You want to be as specific as possible; otherwise, your cover letter may end up in the wrong hands or department and won’t get read.
Craft an impactful opening
Don’t introduce yourself in the opening statement — the hiring manager can see your name in your contact information. Instead, think of the opener as the beginning of your story, and make an impact using one of these methods:
Convey your passion for your work and why you’re excited about the job opportunity. For example: “As a customer service representative committed to quality and ensuring consumer satisfaction, I’m excited by the opportunity to make a positive impact in your regional manager role.”
If you’re applying for this job through someone you know at the company, mention it upfront — studies show that over 50% of all jobs are filled through networking contacts. For example: “I’ve been referred to this graphic designer opportunity through Tom Smith, a product manager on your team.”
A notable accomplishment:
Impress employers right off the bat by providing details about an achievement that relates to the job. For example: “As a marketing associate, I’ve had over five years of experience in social media, including work at the ABC Company where my marketing strategies resulted in a 300% increase in followers for our company Twitter account. I’m excited at the prospect of making a similar impact with your company’s social media accounts.”
Check Out Our Cover Letter Examples
Explore our library of cover letter examples, sorted by different scenarios, industries and job titles.
Outline your medical credentials, including any degrees or training you’ve had in particular specialized fields, and stress your skill with patient interactions.
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