You just found your dream job and you have a killer resume, but they’re requesting a cover letter. Ugh. Now you have to figure out how to write an outstanding cover letter. We’re here to help.

The Header

Just like your resume, you’ll need a header that includes all of your contact information. Don’t forget your email address. You’ll need to include the contact information for the employer along with the date of the letter. See the example:

Cover Letter Sample

If possible, include the name of the hiring manager instead of writing “Dear Sir or Madame.”

Introduction

The opening paragraph needs to grab the reader’s attention. It should include the company name and the position you are applying to. This is to help ensure your resume and cover letter go to the correct person. Briefly explain how your background can help achieve the goals of the position.

Second Paragraph: Sell Yourself

Now you’ve hooked the hiring manager. It’s time to reel them in. You’ll need to describe the ways your skills and previous experience align with the position. Using keywords from the job description will help you to customize the cover letter to the posting. Think of the job posting as a letter from the hiring manager and you’re replying.

Third Paragraph: Why You Want to Work at Their Company

Explain why you want to work at their company. What has drawn you to their organization? You may need to do some research on the company. Find out their goals and values and describe how your values and skills line up with the company. Research some of their projects and explain what you like about the project and how your skills could benefit the team. This is where you tell them why you’re choosing their organization.

In Conclusion

The final paragraph should inform the hiring manager that you’re excited to learn more about the position and would like to set up an interview at their earliest convenience. Don’t come off desperate, just excited to learn more. And don’t forget to thank them for the time.

Other tips:

  • Keep it to 3 short paragraphs. Try not to exceed 300 words.
  • Focus on what you have to offer, not your need for the job.
  • Avoid cliché phrases.
  • Let your personality shine through.
  • Don’t make your font too big or too small. Between 12 and 14 font sizes should be good.
  • Keep the font professional. No Comic Sans.
  • Keep the formatting the same throughout the letter.
  • Keep all the information relevant to the job you’re applying to. All cover letters should be different.
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