5 Steps to a Great Cover Letter

Nancy Anderson
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A key component of the job search is preparing a cover letter that is designed to impress hiring managers and secure an interview. Customize your application materials to showcase why you are the best fit for the job by following these five steps for creating a letter.

Follow Directions

Comb through the job posting carefully before writing your cover letter, suggests Hannah Morgan with Career Sherpa. Some companies require a variety of application materials, such as a resume, list of references and a letter of application. Make sure you have all materials compiled and organized neatly. Even if a letter is not required, send one to show that you are willing to put in the extra effort.

Personalize the Letter

A form letter or template is easy for hiring managers to spot. Make your letter stand out by customizing the wording so that it matches the industry, the company's needs and wants, and outlines your skills that match what is desired in the job description. Research the name and position of the hiring manager and personalize the letter's salutation. Double check the spelling of the manager's name and appeal to what the company is looking for in an employee by completing research on the position qualifications and duties.

Impress From the Start

The opening sentence is the most important element of a cover letter. Avoid beginning with a standard statement that indicates your resume is attached for the advertised position. Instead, lead with a recommendation or phrase from a performance review that highlights your work ethic, skills relevant to the job or accomplishments within the industry. Show how you are motivated, dependable and unique from the start.

Outline Soft and Hard Skills

Your resume should detail hard skills such as proficiency in software or hardware programs as well as management or work experience. Highlight your soft skills in the cover letter by showing you have initiative, motivation, loyalty and a desire to work with others. Provide examples in the body of the letter that show your professional accomplishments in past positions, and detail goals you have met within the industry. Let your personality shine through so hiring managers can see that your eagerness will benefit the company as a whole.

Edit and Proofread

A poorly written cover letter is likely to wind up in the trash. Employers and hiring managers seek individuals who pay close attention to detail, proofread their work and represent themselves professionally. Correspondence that is riddled with grammar and spelling errors impacts your credibility as a potential employee.

Impress potential employers during your job search by compiling a cover letter that stands out above the rest. Open with an engaging sentence and close with a confident request for an interview to secure a spot as a prime candidate for the position.

Photo Courtesy of ponsulak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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  • Janet B.
    Janet B.

    Very good information, thanks!

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