written by Joshua Brown | September 18, 2018
A cover letter is an opportunity to show potential employers more insight into who you are as a worker. It’s recommended you send a cover letter with each application to give the employers further details about your skills and abilities.
1. Know Who You Are Writing The Cover Letter To
The first step in writing a good cover letter is finding to whom you will be addressing your correspondence. Most times when sending a cover letter you will not have had the opportunity to meet anyone at the company just yet. Therefore you will need to do research to see who in the company usually receives the applications. Some companies post their human resources personnel on their website. Other times, you can find employee listings on LinkedIn that will help you find the appropriate person.
If you’re not able to find a name, then address your letter to “Human Resources” or “To Whom it May Concern”.
2. Create A Connection Between Yourself & The Company
One of the first things you want to write about in your letter is how you found out about the job opening. This can help to create a connection with the reader. While most employers will know where their jobs have been listed, it helps hiring managers see what ways of recruitment are working.
This step is especially important if you are being referred to a company by a friend or former co-worker. If your friend is specifically referring you, then mention the connection in the opening of the letter. This can help jog the memory of the hiring manager to set your resume aside for special consideration since you were referred by someone already working for the company.
You also want to mention the specific position you are applying to. Make sure to triple-check the job listing as well so that you can list any specific information requested by the employer such as a reference number or salary requirements.
3. Show The Employer How Your Abilities Fit Their Needs (Be Specific!)
The bulk of your cover letter body should be used to address how your specific abilities match the needs of the company and the position listed. Hopefully your resume will already do this using keywords from the job listing, but the cover letter provides an opportunity to explain how you have used your skills in specific work-related scenarios. If you’re looking for a position in management, talk about specific things you’ve managed and how their outcomes were positive. Telling two or three sentence stories about your past experience and explaining how it relates to the needs of the company can help you secure an interview. Be ready to expand even further!
4. Make A Plan And Execute
When ending a cover letter, always be thankful. The hiring process is difficult and tedious and can strain the workload of many a hiring manager.
The ending is also the time to layout the plan you have for following up with the employer. Your plan should not involve any further effort from the company. If the company reaches out to you, then great! If not, you still have a plan to follow up in a week or two to check how the hiring process is going. Depending on the amount of research you’ve done, your follow-up may be a phone call, an e-mail, or another letter. Regardless, remember to follow up when you say you will! In everything you do, this will set the example of what type of worker you are.