Everyone knows that the basis for getting a job requires handing in an organized, professional resume. But in some places, they need you to hand in more. If you’re applying for a traditional office setting job such as Editorial, Marketing, Business, you’re gonna be required to hand in a cover letter.
A cover letter is not so much different than a resume. Besides the bullet points and having different sections that sum out your whole professional life on one page, it’s going to be in an essay format with a twist.
Here’s what a good cover letter should look like:
Cover Letter Structure
Try to imagine your cover letter and your resume to be like twins with different outfits. The fundamentals of it are similar, but the general makeup is different. For example, how weird would it be if you are the employer, and you see two different fonts in the applicant’s resume and cover letter? There is no consistency in the visuals and can come off unprofessional.
- Contact Information: Be sure to put your contact information on the top of the page in a nice font and font size that can catch the attention of your employer. Employers shouldn’t need to search your whole letter from top to bottom just to pinpoint who’s application they’re looking at.
- Greeting: In a job interview, one of the most important things everyone knows is to switch to your professional tone and choice of words. Do that as well when it comes to starting off your cover letter. Do not start off with the conventional “Hello” or “To Whom It May Concern” as it comes off unprofessional or too impersonal. “Dear Ms. Jones/Mr. Graham” is fine. If you can’t find a contact person, you can try some of these examples: “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear (Company Name) Recruiter.”
- Opening Paragraph: It’s always a good idea to start off direct. Your introductory paragraph should explain:
- What position you’re applying for.
- Where you found the job opening at.
- Why you are qualified for the job.
- Body Paragraph: This paragraph is where you prove yourself to your employer. This paragraph should not be a regurgitation of your resume, but a space where you get to write additional information that complements your resume. Write about the skillsets you have and why it applies to this job opening. Explain why you are interested in working for that company and how you think you can help them grow. Let them know you’ve done research and read up about the company and its goals. An important thing to keep in mind on top of this is to not make this too lengthy. Keep it coherent, straightforward, and professional.
- Closing Paragraph: Summarize. Summarize. Summarize. Reaffirm the strong points and qualifications in your letter so that it will be fresh in their memory when they put your letter down. Be sure to mind the transitions so that it doesn’t sound redundant and boring. Let them know where they can contact you by putting in your contact information and thanking them for their time to review your application is always an excellent way to end your letter.
Getting a job is hard in today’s world, but with a good resume and a concise cover letter, you are already on the right track to be a step closer to your career.