8 Straightforward Tips for Writing Your First Ever Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is a time-consuming task, so it’s tempting to leave it off your job search to-do list. However, a survey of 200 recruiters showed that 83% consider cover letters vital when making a hiring decision. If you’re struggling to find a job, a cover letter can help you stand out.
8 Tips for Writing the Best Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter for the first time can be daunting and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are 8 straightforward tips to help you write an effective cover letter for any job.
1. Research the Company
Before you start writing, take some time to research the company. This will help you tailor your letter to the specific job you’re applying for. Make sure to include key facts about the company in your letter, such as the company’s mission statement, history, and workplace culture values.
When you add this information to your cover letter, you’re proving that you took the time to research the company. This shows you’re already invested and interested in the position.
2. Showcase Your Qualifications
Your cover letter is your chance to showcase why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Be sure to include relevant skills and experience that make you stand out to the hiring manager. Focus on the qualifications listed in the description and make sure to use the same language.
But what if you don’t have any experience? To write a convincing cover letter, you’ll have to show that you’re willing to learn. You could also pull experience from internships or school.
3. Show Your Passion
The hiring manager wants to see that you’re passionate about the job and the company. You already did a great job by researching them, but you can go the extra mile by showing enthusiasm. Use interest verbs and adjectives to grab the recruiters’ attention right away.
In the intro, state why you’re writing to them, what you want, and who referred you, if relevant. You can even explain why you were referred and why they thought you were a great fit.
4. Use the Right Format
The best format for most cover letters is a standard one-page business letter. It will include a header, your contact information, the hiring manager’s contact information, and a salutation. Most cover letters have an opening paragraph, up to two body paragraphs, and a closing.
If you mess with this format, it’ll be harder to read your cover letter. Unless the employer gives you specific instructions, use the one-page business letter format, as it looks more professional.
5. Keep It Simple
Your cover letter should be easy to read and understand. Use short sentences and simple language that anyone can understand (i.e., stick to a 6 to 9th-grade reading level). The hiring manager doesn’t have time to read through a long letter, so make sure to keep it concise.
As a rule, a cover letter will range from 250 to 400 words long, which is about 3 to 6 paragraphs. To minimize your word count, do your best to omit any unnecessary information or fluff.
6. Use Natural Language
Your cover letter should sound like it’s coming from a real person, not a robot or AI program. Avoid using overly complex words and jargon, and use natural language that imitates human speech. This will make it easier for the hiring manager to read and understand your letter.
A great way to test the natural flow of your cover letter is by reading it out loud. If you find you’re stumbling over sentences or slowing down, that’s a sign you’re using complicated language.
7. Proofread Twice
While it’s by no means fair, 77% of recruiters will screen out a resume with typos and bad grammar. Spelling studies show that 50% of Americans earn low marks on tests that feature everyday words. If you can write with perfect grammar, you’ll beat out a lot of candidates.
Once you’ve finished writing your letter, take some time to proofread it. In fact, proofread it twice or a third time. When you’re done, ask a trusted friend or family member to look over it.
8. Ask for a Follow Up
End your letter by asking for a follow-up. This will show the hiring manager that you’re serious about the job and that you’d be interested in continuing the conversation. Plus, recruiters are more likely to follow up with you if you’re adamant about connecting with the organization.
After you’ve sent your letter, make sure to follow up with a phone call or email. You don’t even have to wait longer than a day if you haven’t received a timeframe from the recruiter.
With these 8 straightforward tips, you can write an effective and engaging cover letter that gets you noticed. Don’t forget to research the company, showcase your qualifications, show your passion, and use the right format to make sure that your cover letter stands out.