Have you ever tried Googling “cover letter?” You probably found countless formats of cover letters that look pretty much the same. A starting statement that is clear, explaining to the hiring manager what position you are applying for and even where you saw the advertisement for the position. The letter continues to describe your skills that fit the job description.
This format is great if you want it to blend in with everyone else’s. If you want to stand out in a good way, follow these guidelines for each section of a cover letter:
Header and Salutation: Research the business to find out their purpose, successes, and challenges. Find the name of the hiring manager if possible, which may require a phone call to the business. Never settle with “to whom it may concern.” Many hiring managers will toss your cover letter out if you start off this way, because it is downright lazy. If you find more than one name for the hiring manager, a wrong name is better than a generic line.
- See All about Addressing Cover Letters for more information.
Body: If you did not address what position you are applying for in the first paragraph, do so now. If you already did, start off with how you can help the company be successful. Use their mission, challenges, and success to do this. Stay away from “I” statements and focus on the company. Give concrete examples of your success, using numbers whenever possible.
Closing: The closing of your cover letter is just as important as the beginning. You are trying to sell yourself as the best candidate for the position, so be bold in your conclusion. You are also encouraging them to learn more about you by looking at your resume. Directly ask for an interview and thank them for taking the time to read your cover letter.
- See Get a Thumbs Up on Your Resume for more information.
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