metricool

What Should I Include In My Cover Letter?

What should my cover letter include?

As a career coach, I often get asked how to write a cover letter. Cover letters don’t have to be long (3-4 paragraphs max is usually sufficient), but they should be written in a way that helps you stand out from the competition. It is okay to show a little of your personality in your cover letter. 

What Is The Best Cover Letter Format?

Your cover letter should follow the format of a standard business letter, unless you are crafting an email cover letter, or applying online, as these may differ slightly. Typically, the header of a cover letter includes the date as well as the name, title and address of the person you are writing. This information is followed by the greeting.

Month, day, year

Mr. Bob Brown
Human Resources Director
A Great Company
1234 Main Street
Dallas, Texas, 24000

Dear Mr. Brown: 

Try to find the name and title of the hiring supervisor. You want to ensure the letter gets to the correct person. Do this even if you are uploading your letter to an online application. It shows you have done your research. If you cannot find the name of the hiring manager, address your cover letter to the Human Resources Director. Never use the greeting “To whom it may concern.”

What Should A Cover Letter Include?

Begin your cover letter by letting the employer know which position interests you and how you found out about the job. Express enthusiasm for the role. This paragraph is usually 2-3 sentences.

I was excited to see the position of Social Media Specialist advertised on your website. I’m a social media addict who loves building a community around a common goal. I’d love to learn more about the position and see if my skills may be a good fit. 

Your second and third paragraphs should explain why you are a good fit for the position. You can highlight your current or past experience in a similar role and mention any big accomplishments from your career. Don’t merely repeat your resume here, explain what you enjoy about this type of work or how you have brought success to a company or project. 

You won’t have room to provide a ton of details, but you want to highlight the parts of your experience that will be most attractive to someone looking to fill this role. Your cover letter should tease some of your best skills and work results to make the employer want to know more. Remember, the goal of both your cover letter and resume is to get you selected for an interview.

I was excited to see the position of Social Media Specialist advertised on your website. I’m a social media addict who loves building a community around a common goal. I’d love to learn more about the position and see if my skills may be a good fit. 

I was excited to see the position of Social Media Specialist advertised on your website. I’m a social media addict who loves building a community around a common goal. I’d love to learn more about the position and see if my skills may be a good fit. 

Close your cover letter by expressing gratitude at being considered for the role, and express interest in an interview to learn more about the position and see how your skills may be a good fit. Be sure to include all of your contact information so the employer can easily reach you. 

While my current role includes managing the social presence for several different clients, the opportunity to focus on a single brand and apply all I’ve learned in this industry so far is very exciting. I would love the opportunity to discuss how my skills may be a good fit for your organization. I can be reached by phone at 555.555.5555, or by email at firstname.lastname@gmail.com

Sincerely,

Mary Jo Edwards

Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Do address the letter to the hiring manager when possible. 
  • Do follow all instructions in the job posting. If the posting says to email your letter, do so. Most likely though, you will need to complete an online application and your cover letter will be a part of it. If there is an option to upload your cover letter as a file, be sure to note which file formats the employer accepts (usually Word docs or a PDF). Be sure to submit it in the format they request. 
  • Do proofread! It is even better if you ask someone else to proofread it for you. You do not want to send out a cover letter that has typos in it. 

Don’t:

  • Don’t ignore the job posting. You want your skills and experience to match what the employer asks for in the job posting as closely as possible. 
  • Don’t approach cover letters as if one size fits all. You need to customize each cover letter to the specific company and position. Though all of your cover letters will have a similar format and structure, you want to craft each one specifically for each role. 
  • Don’t write more than one page. In fact, some of the best cover letters are much less than a full page, but never go beyond one page. You want to be brief but compelling and entice the employer to invite you to an interview. 

Should I Use A Cover Letter Template?

A quick online search will provide a ton of cover letter templates that you could use in your job search. So are good; some are not. 

As mentioned previously, you want to tailor each cover letter to the specific job you are seeking, so using a template will be a challenge. Cover letter templates are often too vague to help you really stand out from the competition.

However, there is one reason you may want to take a look at some cover letter templates. If you are stuck on what areas to highlight (though this should mostly be guided by the job posting). You can get ideas by searching for examples of industry-specific cover letters. Sometimes you just need something to get the creative juices flowing, and reading through a few examples could help you overcome writer’s block. 

If you do want to see some examples of great cover letters, one of the best collections I’ve found was curated by HubSpot.

There are some true gems here! 

But use these for inspiration only. You still want to be sure your cover letter is uniquely you!

The Bottom Line:

A well crafted cover letter is crucial for setting you apart from other job applicants. Take time to carefully customize each one you write. The more your practice, the stronger your cover letters will become!

Published by Career Coach Belinda

I’ve helped job seekers of all ages and career levels develop résumés, craft cover letters, and approach job interviews with confidence.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: