How to Write a Cover Letter for Any Job (Including Tips & Examples)
Cover letters are still a thing in 2021.
In fact, if you don’t know how to write a cover letter you’re missing out on increasing your chances of getting hired.
If you’re stressed with the idea of having to write a perfect cover letter after going through war to perfect your resume, then be sure to stay until the end. I’ll be sharing a bonus step for how to create a cover letter in less than five minutes!
You won’t suffer through writer’s block either since you’ll get ideas coming in left and right for what to include.
If that sounds interesting to you, let’s get right into it!
What is A Cover Letter?
Cover letters are a documented letter you send alongside your resume to your hiring manager.
Instead of stating the facts about yourself like usual in a formal job application, a cover letter goes deeper than that.
So, it’s important to know how to write a cover letter.
If it’s not written according to the job description and doesn’t meet their expectations, you won’t have an impact. The purpose of a cover letter is to justify and show why you’re an ideal fit for the company.
While you can focus on the logical aspects for why it makes sense to hire you, it’s also a chance for you to give recruiters insight into your personality. By going into more depth and detail about yourself, it’s the best chance to show you’re genuinely motivated to commit to the job opening they need filled.
What Should a Cover Letter Include?
All cover letters are made up by four main components:
- The header
- Opening paragraph
- Main body
Each of these sections have different goals. Within them, you’ll need to be including the appropriate details, e.g. contact information into your cover letter header.
We’ve made another complete guide on what a good cover letter needs to include. You can read the full article here!
How to Write a Cover Letter For Any Job in 2021
The best cover letters are the ones that are simple and straight to the point. You should be keeping the applicant tracking systems in mind while feeding the hiring managers value throughout so they can use these as reference points.
A common problem job seekers have though, is figuring out what to write as well as how to structure and phrase their cover letter.
Everything needs to be adopted into the company’s values, job description and standards.
We’ll cover everything from start to finish on how to write a cover letter in our step by step process below.
1. Include Contact Details On The Cover Letter Header
This is where you need to write down the essential details where it’s clear for the hiring managers to see at first glance. This includes your contact information such as:
- First and last name
- Email address
- Phone number
- Company location
Optional details can include:
- Website links
- LinkedIn profile
- Professional job titles
- Your location
At this point of your cover letter, it’s just about including the basics. Here’s an example:
For your email address, ensure it’s clean and professional, e.g. email@example.com. Avoid using an email with special characters or numbers.
When linking out to your social media profiles or website, you should also make sure everything is consistent. Double check there’s nothing inappropriate on your accounts either for the employers, otherwise it’ll leave a bad image of yourself.
2. Use The Hiring Manager’s Name In Your Salutation
A good way to instantly create a strong impression is by directly addressing your hiring managers by their name.
When starting your cover letter, you should do so by:
- Dear Jacob
- Dear Mr Jones
- Dear Mrs Jones
Whatever you do, use your hiring manager’s name in your opening salutation and greeting.
The worst one you can make is by starting off using the phrase “to whom it may concern”. It indicates a lack of effort or interest because you haven’t done the research to find out who you’re talking to. As a result, you’ll look lazy and recruiters won’t take you seriously.
If for any reason you can’t find their name at all, use their job title instead. For example:
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear Manager
It’s more personal like this since you’re directly addressing who your cover letter is for. This is a last resort however when you can’t find the names of your hiring managers.
To find their names, dig into their website contact page. Or, trace back and analyse the job description to see if there’s any names on there that’s been mentioned.
3. Write an Engaging Opening Paragraph
If you can’t hook your hiring manager in the first few seconds or sentences, they won’t bother putting effort into paying attention for the rest of what you have to say.
To keep them interested and wanting to read on, you need an engaging opening paragraph.
The best ways to go about doing this is by demonstrating and emphasising on one of the following:
- Your motivation, reasons for commitment and intentions
- Your goals or objectives
- Skills, work experience or achievements
In other words, it’s either you highlight:
- Your passion and genuine interest in working for them
- Your background and why it makes sense to hire you
If you don’t have much work experience since you’re a student or a university graduate, the first option would be your best route. On the other hand, if you have work experience and skills developed from the corporate environment, the second option could be your best route.
Here’s an example:
Notice how they’ve highlighted mutual connections. This makes your employers more keen to schedule an interview as they would want to learn more about you.
For every job seeker, you should play to your strengths and use this to your advantage!
4. Explain How You’re The Best Candidate
Now that we’re getting deeper into the cover letter, it’s time to focus on how and what exactly makes us the best candidate.
The way you go about explaining this is by showing off your experience, skills and qualifications.
For instance, if you have any transferable skills you didn’t mention on your ATS resume, it would be a good time to include them in this section.
Talk about how you would make a positive impact. Connect the dots in a way where employers will come to the conclusion that hiring you makes the most logical sense.
Whenever you talk about your past achievements, make sure to relate it back to their needs. Implicate how you can contribute to their success and make a difference.
However, there’s a difference between being confident and being arrogant.
Confidence is feeling like you’re the best or good at what you do. Whereas, arrogance is feeling like everyone’s under you, or no one’s better than you.
If you don’t want to worry about sounding conceited, give examples whenever you can to reinforce your credibility. This will also support any claims you have so you won’t portray yourself as cocky.
5. Show You’re Genuinely Interested & Passionate
After explaining how you're the best candidate and showing why it makes logical sense to hire you, it’s time to shift gears.
Next, you want to talk about why you’re self-motivated and why you care about working for them. To put simply, focus on the reasons behind your motivations and why you want to make an impact specifically for them.
When doing this, you should align your reasons with the company’s values. It’ll show two things:
- You’re interested and determined to make a positive impact
- You’re a long term asset with potential to thrive in the future
Unlike a resume, you can add more personal flavour for why you’re personally invested. As long as you’re focused on demonstrating that you're passionate about what you do, the hiring managers will take notice.
Any goals or objectives you have, it’s also a good time to focus on that in this paragraph.
Another good approach is to combine this back with the job description to show a great understanding of what they need.
Doing this positions you as an expert as well as an ideal applicant.
Remember, it doesn’t matter if another applicant applying has more skills or work experience than you. If your values match the company culture or you’re more personally invested and willing to learn, you’ll be taken into special consideration.
6. Closing Paragraph
Right after talking about why you’re passionate, you need to end things smoothly on a positive note. Otherwise if you sign off suddenly, it’s abrupt and won’t flow as nicely.
In your final paragraph, you want to summarise everything and set the future pace.
For example, you can request for an interview. Make a call to action for what to expect next and imply the next steps moving forward.
Don’t forget to thank the hiring manager and show appreciation for their time.
If you can, try to avoid generic phrases and go for something more unique or personal. For example, rather than saying “I look forward to hearing from you”, or “thanks for your time”, you could emphasize a final note of excitement and eagerness to join by saying “I appreciate your time and consideration”.
They’re both similar, but there’s a subtle difference.
While they both mean the same thing, one sounds more personal and direct than the other because of rephrasing a few words.
7. Sign off professionally
It’s fairly straightforward - after your closing paragraph, you want to sign off on your cover letter professionally.
Here are a few examples we recommend:
- Yours sincerely
- Best regards
- Thank you for your consideration
Right after your professional sign off, don’t forget to write your name underneath.
8. Edit & Proofread Your Cover Letter
There are a few things to look out for when editing your cover letter. This includes:
- Matching the job description
- Ensuring you’ve used ATS keywords
- Font size
- Format and structure
- Tone of voice
Not proofreading and editing is a common cover letter mistake often overlooked by job seekers that can jeopardise all chances of getting hired. It’s an expensive lesson to learn at the cost of a new potential career.
When checking your cover letter, read it out loud to see if it flows nicely. Any parts that sound off, rephrase them until it sounds right.
As for the tone of voice, you shouldn’t be too formal or overly casual. The best is semi-formal, a balance between the two.
Anything you can simplify and say in less words while holding the same meaning, please do so. You’re doing yourself and the recruiters a favour since it’s going to be more concise and straight to the point.
Cover Letter Sample From Rezi
Notice the structure of the cover letter. It goes as follows:
- The cover letter header
- Opening paragraph
- First paragraph of main body (focuses on their motivation and objectives)
- Second paragraph of main body (focuses on skills, work experience and achievements)
- Closing paragraph
- Sign off
While the paragraphs in the main body aren’t in the same order, it’s a strong example of a cover letter that implements our approach. If you’re still unsure on how to start, you can use this template for your own!
How to Create a Cover Letter In Less Than 5 Minutes
At the start of this article, I promised you a way to create your cover letter in less than five minutes.
Now, I’m going to show you how it’s done.
In a sense, you’ll be skipping most of what we’ve discussed by getting straight into the editing process. Anyway, here’s how it works:
Then just like that, you’ll have generated a tailored cover letter specific for the job title and company you’re applying for.
You won’t have to worry about keywords since our GPT-3 will detect what your recruiters are looking for.
Those details are taken into account when creating your cover letter so passing the applicant tracking systems won’t be a problem.
Knowing the fundamentals for how to write a cover letter is important. When you’re going through your tailored cover letter, you can rephrase or change certain parts to make it more personal and accustomed to your character.
We understand you’re in a position of wanting to create the best applications possible because you want to land that ideal career of yours. Or, to work somewhere else that’s better for you.
However, not all of us have the same time and freedom to make perfect applications.
And, we want to help you land your next career in no time.
You can create your own cover letter now in less than five minutes using Rezi’s AI cover letter by signing up using the link below!
To recap everything discussed, here’s how to write a cover letter:
- Include the contact information in your cover letter header
- Start with an engaging opening paragraph by focusing on your goals/objectives or skills and achievements
- Explain how you’re the best candidate and why it makes sense to hire you
- Show you’re genuinely passionate and interested in working for the company you’re applying for
- Closing paragraph - summarise your cover letter and add a final note
- Sign off professionally
- Edit & proofread your cover letter
Aside from that, here are two things you must never do on your cover letter:
- Show no value or relevance
Now, you have the knowledge to go out there and write a compelling cover letter. You also have our AI feature by your side to save you time so you can create as many tailored cover letters for the different companies and job posts you’re making an application for.
If you found this guide helpful, please support us by giving this a share! If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
This article's author, Astley, is an avid content marketer who specializes as an SaaS copywriter. Learn more at Minimalist Copy