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Creating Cover Letters

What's the Point of a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is meant to give a greater insight into your career bio and provide a story of your career path and future goals. Highlighting key skills and the ways in which you've applied them to reach goals is key. It also has the ability to allow career changers, industry switchers, and early career professionals to draw direct connections to transferable skills and their unique perspectives.

While some places may still require a cover letter, other may make it optional or not require one at all. From my experience, I would advise only submitting a cover letter when requested. I've also learned along the way that depending on the industry and job level, your cover letter may not be completely read. The section I have seen given the most attention to is paragraph 3.

How to Write a Cover Letter

Header and Formatting

Copy and paste the header of your resume into the cover letter document.

Space down two lines and add the date. Then space down two more times and put the information for who the cover letter is addressed to. See the attached example below for a formatting visual. A free downloadable copy is below to help get you started.

Keep your cover letter shorter than one page. Ideally it will be about half a page of content, but one full page with formatting. Be concise and make the content personable to you.

Paragraph 1

Start with a strong opening that grabs the attention of the employer. You may write something like: "Dear [Hiring Manager], I am excited to apply for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. I learned about this role from [LinkedIn, careers webpage, Jane Doe in your Marketing Department.]. With my [Skill/Experience], [Skill/Experience], and [Skill/Experience], I am confident in my ability to make a meaningful contribution to your team.

If you don't have the hiring manager name, you can write dear [Company Name] Team. In many position descriptions they'll state who the role reports to. Search for that role that's been shared in the position description and the company name on LinkedIn or the web. This can give you a name to address the cover letter to. It can also allow you to share your resume and cover letter directly with the hiring manager after you've applied to the role. Provide a confirmation or application number ID provided.

Avoid using gendered language like Mr., Ms., Mrs., or Mx. Names can be gender neutral and the pronouns of hiring managers are not normally shared, so stick with their first name when addressing them.

Paragraph 2

In the second paragraph, highlight your relevant skills and experience that make you a strong fit for the job. You may write something like: "As a [Previous Position] at [Previous Company], I gained experience in [Skill/Experience], which I believe will be valuable in the [Job Title] position. Additionally, my experience in [Skill/Experience] and [Skill/Experience] has prepared me to excel in this role."

Make sure to highlight specifics about your past experiences. Provide how you impacted the org in one way or another. Maybe you implemented a new process that saved a sum of money, created a new leadership training that all leaders completed, or oversaw the successful retention of 5 reports. All of these accomplishments are amazing! Choose the top 2-3 to highlight. Ideally, ones that are most closely related to the role you are applying for.

Paragraph 3

In the third paragraph, demonstrate your enthusiasm for the company and the job. You may write something like: "I am impressed by [Company Name]'s commitment to [Company Value/Business Mission]. I believe that my skills and experience align with the [Job Title] position and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]'s success."

Areas you may want to call out as a reason you want to work there can include, but are not limited to: DEI, social impact, career progression, awards and honors, innovation, community engagement, leadership, positive word of mouth, environmentalism, and more.

This is the time to demonstrate you've done the research on the company and you have seen where what they have done aligns with your values. Research the company in recent news, check out their social media and review their community or DEI pages on their website to gain information for this area of the cover letter. Be authentic in this section and call out the things that are important to you.

Concluding Paragraph

In the fourth paragraph, conclude your cover letter with a strong call to action. You may write something like: "Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information or to schedule an interview."

In this section you can also encourage the reader to check out your GitHub, LinkedIn, or webpage.

Free Cover Letter Example Download
Example Cover Letter
Download DOCX • 17KB

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