Designing a Good Cover Letter
Having a cover letter is an essential part of every job application. It goes hand in hand with your resume or curriculum vitae to convince prospective employers you are worth an interview. While it’s a fact that employers briefly scan job requirements before deciding if you are worth the shot, you can make some ways to capture their attention through the right cover letter design.
The purpose of a cover letter
A cover letter is a single-page letter you send together with your resume to prospective employers. Unlike the resume that states the skeletal summary of your career, a cover letter conveys more personality. This serves as your introduction to employers with the intention of making you a remarkable candidate. In designing your cover letter, remember that it should contain the following information:
- An introduction of who you are
- The position you are applying for
- Alignment of your skills to the job requirement
- Assets you can bring to the company
- Reasons why you are the best candidate
- The right tone to keep the reader enticed
- A call to action for a response
Parts of a cover letter
In writing your cover letter, you must know the essential parts you should never miss to make a well-crafted letter. Although you can rely on readily available templates online, it counts to customize your cover letter according to your credentials. Here is the structure that makes a cover letter appealing to any prospective employer.
1. Start with a professional header.
Just like with your resume, you should start your cover letter with your full name and personal contact. You can strategically put this at the top or at the left part using a color block to emphasize your personal details.
Place these items in this following order:
- Desired position
- Phone number
- Email address
- LinkedIn profile
- Hiring manager’s name and their professional title
- Company name and address
You have the responsibility to look up your prospect company’s details. Find out the name of the hiring manager and address your letter to him/her to show sincerity and professionalism.
2. Include a proper greeting.
Having found out the name of the hiring manager, use that knowledge to address them by name. Do not resort to using the general lines, “To whom it may concern,” or “Dear, Ma’am/Sir,” unless you have no other choice. Using these will show a lack of responsibility—making them stop reading all at once.
What you should do is address them by name—be it first or last name. When hiring managers see a proper salutation, they will think that it’s tailored specifically for them. This, then, leads to continuous reading of your letter and resume. Here are some excellent examples of how you can greet the hiring manager:
- Dear Emily,
- Dear Miss Emily,
- Dear Miss Davis,
- Dear Mrs. Cresta,
- Dear Mr. Williams,
When you cannot find out the name of the hiring manager, that’s the only time you are allowed to use the generics like:
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear (Company name) Team,
- To whom it may concern,
3. Make an impressive introductory paragraph.
This is a crucial part of your cover letter as it dictates how you are going to sustain the attention of the reader. Your opening paragraph should be catchy and interesting enough to keep the hiring manager reading. So how are you going to achieve that? Well, it’s by showing how interested and how fitting you are for the role.
Get the hiring manager hooked by stating how the role fits your skills, achievements, past experiences, and career interest. Be able to highlight your capability to meet the needs of the role and that you are more than enthusiastic about fulfilling the responsibilities. When employers gauge your genuine enthusiasm in this paragraph, they will continue reading.
4. State why you are the perfect candidate for the role.
In the second paragraph of your cover letter, explain why you are the perfect candidate for the role. In this part, prove your expertise and previous experiences as a proof of reliability.
Start the paragraph by stating you are an expert in the field. However, do not focus on bragging your best achievements to avoid seeming too arrogant. Instead, make use of primary skills that significantly match the job requirements. Remember to explain how your previous work can contribute to fulfilling this job’s responsibilities.
5. Explain why you think the company is perfect for you.
Every professional has career goals embedded in his/her mind. And in the third paragraph, you will state how the role fits your career development objectives. This is to show the hiring manager what’s in it for you if you secure the job. When you show the hiring manager that you really want this job, they won’t hesitate to hire you.
Include in this paragraph the learnings and projects you are looking forward to acquiring in this job. When you show them you are genuinely interested in the post; you prove to them that you can stay longer. And that is what employers want—employees who will stay long because they want what they do.
6. Induce a call to action in the closing paragraph.
A cover letter without the call to respond to your application beats the purpose of having written one. So make sure you shed light on having them contact you for an interview or discussion about the job opportunity.
Keep this section brief. A one-liner is enough to extend your intention for a response from them. The best formula for this is to add value to the fact that you are looking forward to their call or email. You can try saying, “I am open to the chance of discussing the (role’s biggest objectives) and show you how my success at (previous work) can help you achieve (objective) growth for (company name).”
7. Choose the right letter sign-offs.
When you are done writing the body of your cover letter, the only thing left to do is add the right formal closing. The correct form of closing your cover letter is through using the proper sign-off and your full name. You can add a handwritten signature when your cover letter is more on the formal side.
The best sign-offs you can use include:
- Thank you,
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
- With best regards,
- Yours truly,
- Respectfully yours,
- Sincerely yours,
Things to remember in designing a good cover letter
In addition to the essential information you should include in your cover letter, you must know how to deliver it effectively. You should keep in mind the valuable vital points that make a cover letter impressive. Here’s how you can leave a remarkable impression to the hiring manager:
- Keep your cover letter brief—one page is enough.
- Align the tone to the job environment.
- Conduct in-depth research to get your facts straight.
- Avoid bragging too much about your expertise. Focus mainly on the primary requirements.
- Don’t include too bland and generic statements.
- Don’t sound too desperate and needy to get the job.
- Ensure honesty in all the information you stated.
- Proofread your cover letter to avoid grammatical errors and inconsistencies.
- Tailor one cover letter for each job application you pursue.
And that’s how you design a good-looking cover letter that can land you your dream job. Keep these best practices in mind whenever you pen a cover letter for your next job application, and surely, you’ll get the responses you are most looking forward to. Need more tips to master cover letter writing? Here’s a cover letter mastery class you can take to get more expert-proven tips in writing a cover letter.