Writing a cover letter and resume can be a daunting task and when I was writing my first cover letter, I found it hard to pick through all of the garbage on the internet to find a good template. In this post, I’m going to provide you with some general tips on how to write your cover letter and provide a cover letter template.
Have a professional email
This is really important, especially when your potential employer will be communicating with you primarily by email. If you don’t currently have a professional email please create a new gmail account and make your email some variation of: lastname+first initial of first firstname.lastname@example.org So, if your name is John Smith, you email should be email@example.com. If available, and your name is relatively short, you should use your whole name for the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. This email will also serve as only your professional email. Don’t sign up for spam with this email. You don’t want to miss an email inviting you for an interview because you have too many email from Bath and Body works in your inbox.
Include the posting number, if applicable
Not all posting have a posting number but all of the jobs I’ve applied for have. This is a good place to include where you found the posting as well.”As seen in the Free Press” I know that no one applies for jobs from newspapers anymore but this is an example. A more relevant example would be indeed or Linked in.
Address the Hiring Manager
If a contact name is listed in the posting, make sure you address that person directly in the cover letter. Do not write “to whom it may concern”. If there is no contact listed please write “attn. Hiring manager”. It is always best practice to address the contact listed in the posting. If you are unsure of the gender of the contact you can use their first and last names with no title. If the person has something in front of their name in the posting such as Dr., definitely include that in your greeting.
Tailor your Cover Letter to the Posting
Do not send out a generic cover letter if you actually want the job. Take a look at the duties and skills that are listed in the posting and try to address them in your cover letter. You don’t have to address all of them but try to address the ones that are the most important. These may denoted with “required” or “strongly preferred”. Make sure you address the qualifications too. If they require you to have a university degree, mention that in your cover letter. Remember though, sometimes qualifications are inflated to weed out people who aren’t confident in their abilities. If the posting asks for 3 years of experience and you have one, still mention in your cover letter that you have a year of experience. I applied for a job that asked for 3 years of experience and I only had two and I got the job. It is the job I’m in right now.
Keep it one page maximum and break up large paragraphs
Did you know that most employers look at your resume for under a minute before deciding whether or not to interview you? This means that they probably only skim you cover letter. They do not want to see a multi-page cover letter unless they specify that in the job posting. Large paragraphs are hard to read and don’t look very nice. You want to break things up into more manageable pieces so your potential employer can pick out relevant information with ease.
Cover Letter Sample
First Name Last Name
Attn: Hiring Manager (Put a name here if you know a name) Date
I am writing to express my interest in the _____ position (position number) that has become available at company. I believe that my current position at company as an job title has provided me with the knowledge and skills I need to excel in this position.
I have worked at company for ____years and during those years I have gained considerable knowledge of _____ this is where you talk about certain skills you have acquired in your current position. Make sure they relate to the skills listed in the job posting. In this paragraph, talk about your hard skills. These are skills like being able to work with certain computer programs, and doing certain tasks that relate directly to the job.
On a daily basis I ___ relate this back to the job posting. List and explain things that you do in your current job that would be relevant to the job you are applying for. In this paragraph you can talk about your soft skills like working with as a team or independently, being customer service focused, being organized, etc.
In this last paragraph I mention any additional training that I’ve had that may be relevant to the job. This could be CPR certification, FIPPA and PHIA training, or having a food handling certificate.
I feel that the knowledge and skills that I have gained from my time as an ____current job will provide a solid foundation for learning the duties that will accompany this position. I am excited for the chance to further develop the skills I’ve learned and build on my knowledge at company.
Thank you for your time and consideration. You can contact me on my cell phone (cell #) or by email (email). I look forward to hearing from you.
Sign here if providing a hard copy
This is just one cover letter example. It requires you to use your imagination quite a bit because I did not copy my cover letter word for word. It really is up to you to figure out what you want to include and what you don’t need based on the job posting. I hope this was helpful and it got you started on your cover letter!