May 14, 2020
April 30, 2020

How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Are you looking for a job or testing the waters for a new remote role? Or maybe preparing for a job search post-covid-19 and analyzing your employability skills?  Whatever your reason, you are in the right place. 

This guide will show you how to write the perfect cover letter step by step. that can get the attention of the hiring manager and get you in the front door. 

Getting started: What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is an email or one-page document that you submit with your CV, resume, or proposal when you apply for a job. In it, you introduce yourself, highlight your relevant professional skills and experience, and state why you're right for the job. 

The goal of a cover letter is to share relevant information about you that is not obviously written in your CV or resume, and make a lasting impression on the hiring team. 

Your letter should be error-free and concise; 250-400 words is just right. Always keep in mind that a cover letter is not a replacement for your resume. And you should not use it to relist everything already stated in the resume either. 

Structure of a cover letter

How you structure your cover letter is as important as what you write in it. An unattractive and poorly-structured cover letter may be passed over without a second glance.

There are four essential parts to include in every cover letter: a header with your contact information, a greeting to the hiring manager, the body text usually written in three paragraphs, and a formal closing. This is a typical format below.

•   Your header should include contact information
•   Greet the hiring manager
•   Opening paragraph - here, you make sure your reader is hooked, make sure they read on 
•   Second paragraph - here, you share why you are the perfect fit for the company
•   Third paragraph - here, you share why the company is a good fit for you
•   A Closing Paragraph - reiterate why you are the right fit
•   Postscript  - Add additional information that is relevant to improve your chances.

Writing the Cover Letter

Now that you know all the information you need, let’s get into the actual writing.

The cover letter header

As with a resume, you should start your cover letter with a contact information section.

Make sure to include your full name, phone number, email address. You can also add your active social media profiles, especially ones relevant to your field e.g., Github for developers and Dribble for designers. If you have a personal website with professional achievements and articles, you can also add it here. 

Make sure that your email address is professional. Keep your email address simple.

Greet the Hiring Manager

The first thing to write in a cover letter is a greeting to the hiring manager. Go the extra mile to find who this person is and mention their name in your cover letter, don’t reuse an old cover letter, hiring managers can tell when all you do is change the company name and greeting. Show that you did preliminary research on the company and are genuinely interested in working with the team.

The easiest way to find the name of your potential hiring manager is through a direct search on Linkedin or by visiting the team page on the company website. If you can't find the right person after you search, you can then go with one of these greetings below.

•   Dear [Department] Team
•   Dear [Department] Hiring Manager

Selling Yourself

Hiring managers get hundreds of applications for almost every job role. So it is crucial to stand out from the very first paragraph. All of your cover letter content must be factual and beneficial, without any fluff.

Usually, most cover letters job-seekers submit are generic. You can stand out by using original words that mean something tangible and stay clear of words that take up space but don't convey meaning.

Start strong by listing your top relevant achievements and professional experience. You must be very clear about how your experience relates to the company and position you are applying for. 

Use numbers where possible and focus on the results you brought to your organization, not just the positions you have held. Also, go through the job description multiple times and make sure to highlight the essential responsibilities listed as part of your professional experience. 

The formal closing

Once you are done with the body of your cover letter, all you have to do is write a formal closing. Remember to keep the body of your cover letter brief, no more than three paragraphs. Below are examples of formal closings you can use in your cover letter.

•   Sincerely,
•   Thank you,
•   Best Regards,

And you're done! But first, you must review and polish what you have written. As you review your writing, take your time to choose the right adjectives that describe you and your experience. You want to sound intentional and authentic and stay away from words that other potential job-seekers are likely to use. 

Before you submit it, make sure to proofread, format, and edit your cover letter thoroughly. Typos, grammatical, or punctuation mistakes drastically reduce your chances of getting a job. You can use an editing tool like Grammarly or share your cover letter with a friend who can review it for you.

Download our Template

Anna Horova
About author
Anna is a senior recruiter with experience finding unique talents to fill highly specialized, niche roles for foreign startups all across the tech sector.
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