How To Write A Cover Letter In 2021
After weeks of heavy job search, youre almost there!
Youve perfected your resume.
Youve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.
Youve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.
But then, before you can send your application and call it a day, you remember that the job ad requires a cover letter.
Now youre stuck wondering how to write a cover letter…
Dont panic! Weve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think.
In this guide, were going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.
So, lets get started with the basics!
What Is A Cover Letter
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application .
Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long.
A good cover letter can spark the HR managers interest and get them to read your resume.
A bad cover letter, on the other hand, might mean that your application is going directly to the paper shredder. So, to make sure this doesnt happen, its essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.
How does a good cover letter look, you might ask. Well, heres an example:
Keep in mind, though, that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you dont just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume.
If youre writing a cover letter for the first time, writing all this might seem pretty tough. After all, youre probably not a professional writer.
The thing is, though, you dont need to be creative, or even any good at writing. All you have to do is follow a tried-and-tested format:
- Header – Input contact information
- Opening paragraph – Grab the readers attention with 2-3 of your top achievements
- Second paragraph – Explain why youre the perfect candidate for the job
- Third paragraph – Explain why youre a good match for the company
- Formal closing
Or, heres what this looks like in practice:
Formatting Your Cover Letter
Treat your cover letter as the most important document of your job application process. This is the very first document the hiring manager will see so it must be compelling enough to convince the reader to review your Resume.
Use a basic block style format that is easy to follow and always looks professional. Once youve got the basics, you need to include an explanation , who are you and why they should look at your Resume. How long should your cover letter be? No more than 1 page in length and should be targeted to the job application.
Use a basic block style format that is easy to follow. Dont use fancy fonts or excessive highlighting, bolding or underlining. Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman are classics for a reason.
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A Formal Cover Letter Greeting
You should also greet the reader of your cover letter with a polite salutation. Dear Mr./Ms./Mx. does the trick:
Dear Ms. Hernandez,
Using an actual name is better than writing Dear Hiring Manager or To Whom It May Concern because it shows youve done some research while preparing your application.
Find the hiring managers name on the company website or on LinkedIn. If all else fails, call the company and ask for the hiring managers name, and explain that its for addressing your application if asked.
Focus Your Time And Energy On Your Resume
Recruiters say it takes an average of 60 seconds to decide whether a candidate is viable on paper. Since your resume is only given a glance, Brooke says recruiters focus on figuring out whether you have the skill set, education and years of experience required for the jobso make sure your resume has those answers.
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They Assume That It Is Read Before The Resume
Most of the old job search books would lead you to believe that your resume is magically unfolded from the envelope with the cover letter on top, then read at a leisurely pace by a hiring manager. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your cover letter is only read after your resume has passed both a quick scan and a screen. Only then does the cover letter get any attention. So it is not an intro to your resume, it is a supplement to your resume.
What Paper Weight Should My Resume Have
Typical copy paper is 20 pounds per ream, or per 500 pages of paper. Instead of using the standard weight, opt for 24 or 32-pound paper. 24-pound paper is more formal than 20-pound paper. It’s also cost-effective and budget-friendly, and can usually go through a home printer easily. 32-pound resume paper is heavier and opaque, and it’s less likely to tear. It’s usually more expensive than 24-pound paper, and many home printers may have trouble running this paper through. If you use 32-pound paper for your resume, consider printing it at an office supply store that has a commercial printer.
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In The Days Before Your Interview
From this research, prepare a list of questions to ask the person interviewing you. The questions you ask have the ability to teach the recruiter more about you.
Editing Revision And Review
Now that youve written down every credential you can think of, its time to take a break. Stand up, stretch, and breathe. The worst of the process is over! Before you begin the revision process, turn your attention elsewhere. Maybe take a quick walk, have a snack, or take a nap. Put thoughts of a resume out of your head for an hour or so.
Youre back and refreshed? Great! Take a moment to re-read what youve written. Check for these common errors:
- Spelling & Grammar
- Run your word processing programs spelling and grammar check.
- Run a manual spelling check .
- Expand contractions .
- Be consistent with punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
- Read your resume out loud to yourself. A good resume will flow off your tongue and sound professional. Reading aloud will also help you identify grammatical errors.
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Some See Cover Letters As An Insignificant Part Of The Job Search Stand Out By Paying Extra Attention To Yours
You found a great job on Monsterfantastic. Time to apply! While job seekers often spend countless hours developing their resumes, they tend to treat their cover letters as an afterthought. Don’t make this critical mistake the cover letter can help your resume get noticed.
Think of the cover letter as your resume’s cheerleading section. To make the best impression, follow these etiquette rules:
Overall Remember To Do The Following:
- Be concise limited to one page
- Do not overuse first person I to begin sentences and paragraphs
- Avoid using qualifiers
- Sentence and paragraph structure should be well thought out and easy to read
- Be sure the reader immediately understands the purpose of the letter
- Does not restate exactly what is on your resume
- Customized to a specific positionshows how your qualifications match their requirements
- Letter is employer focused throughout using the job description to focus on employer needs
- Reflects research and knowledge of the company
- Printed on the same paper as your resume
- Letter is signed
- Convert to .pdf or .rtf document if sending electronically to eliminate compatibility errors
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Say No To The Cover Letter Cop
The first rule of cover letter etiquette is to send a cover letteralways. It doesn’t matter if the hiring manager didn’t ask for it or you’re too busy to write one. It’s proper business etiquette to accompany a resume with a cover letter, and it gives you the opportunity to help sell yourself for the position.
A Note About Sending Cover Letters
Most of the time, you will be sending cover letters by e-mail. When submitting a letter or application in this manner, put your cover letter in the body of the e-mail and attach your resume as a .pdf document. Be sure to follow an employers instructions when filling in the subject line. If an employer does not specify subject line instructions for submitting applications, write the word Application, the position you are applying for/inquiring about, a dash – and your name.
Subj: Application: Northwestern Mutual Financial Representative Kang
The subject line is extremely important when sending a job application or prospecting letter through e-mail. The subject line determines whether your e-mail will be opened and ultimately, considered. Be sure to follow employer guidelines exactly where specified.
When sending a cover letter by mail, affix a hand written signature above your printed name. Be sure the letter is postmarked before any application dates. Note the differences in formatting in the Cover Letter format page. Be sure to include all necessary documents in your envelope. It is recommended that you print your resume and cover letter on professional resume paper .
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How To Write A Cover Letter
Before writing your cover letter it’s important that you do your research. While reading the job description thoroughly is essential, it’s often not enough. To help you craft a successful cover letter discover more about:
- who will be reading your cover letter
- the organisation and its culture
- the industry it operates in and any relevant news
- company competitors and market position.
- the organisations goals over the next five years.
When writing your cover letter keep it brief, while making sure it emphasises your suitability for the job. It can be broken down into the following sections:
- First paragraph – The opening statement should set out why you’re writing the letter. Begin by stating the position you’re applying for, where you saw it advertised and when you are available to start.
- Second paragraph – Highlight relevant experience and demonstrate how your skills match the specific requirements of the job description. Summarise any additional strengths and explain how these could benefit the company.
- Third paragraph – Cover why you’re suitable for the job, what attracted you to this type of work, why you’re interested in working for the company and what you can offer the organisation. This is a good opportunity to show off your knowledge of the company.
- Last paragraph – Use the closing paragraph to round up your letter. Reiterate your interest in the role and indicate your desire for a personal interview. Now is the time to mention any unavailable dates.
Common Entry Level Cover Letter Mistakes
Entry level job seekers get a lot of bad advice. Some of this is due to the rapidly changing world in which we live. Much of the advice about cover letters is outdated. Even the term “cover letter” is dated.
So here is some up-to-date advice from a hiring manager who has reviewed more than 100,000 resumes on the top five cover letter mistakes made by entry level job seekers:
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Writing An Effective Cover Letter
To be effective, the body paragraphs of your cover letter must really sell you as the best candidate for the job. This area should highlight your accomplishments and qualifications, as well as explain how you can benefit the company. It should be easy to read and have a positive tone.
Each paragraph of your cover letter has a different purpose, and there are strategies you can use to make each paragraph effective.
What Is Resume Paper
Resume paper is a specific type of paper that you use for your resume. Resume paper is thicker than standard printing or copy paper and might be a different material and color too. Use resume paper in the following scenarios:
At a job fair for submitting to multiple hiring managers or company representatives
At an interview with a hiring manager or a panel
At a networking event with a focus on hiring
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Relevant Achievements Throughout Your Cover Letter
Now youve set up your cover letter, its time to write the body text.
Listing your previous achievements is good, but its not enough for more competitive jobs in 2021. Instead, you need to provide numbers that prove you can get results for your new employer.
Finding this data doesnt have to be difficult.
For instance, if you were previously working in a customer service position, think about how many customers you served on an average day. A bullet point built with such information might look something like this:
- Served approx. 47 customers per day, remaining professional, courteous, and patient when dealing with each individual
Or if you were in an office role, you might focus on your output over a regular period of time:
- Produced 17 sales reports per week for our product portfolio
Including this data shows the hiring manager what you can achieve on the job. These numbers give them a glimpse at how your output will improve their companys performance, and whether youd be a good fit on their team.
Quantifying your accomplishments is especially crucial when writing a cover letter for an internal position, because the hiring manager is going to ask themself if youve been an asset to the company since you were hired.
What Paper Should You Use For A Resume
The first item to consider when selecting paper for your resume is the material. Some of the options you can choose include:
Linen. This paper has a nice texture with a natural thickness that could help your resume stand out. Cotton paper usually has a linen texture.
Granite. With darker speckles distributed throughout, this paper looks unique while maintaining a professional appearance. Most granite paper is made largely from recycled materials, making it an eco-friendly choice.
Cotton. Cotton is the classic option because it presents as crisp and formal. The percentage of cotton in the paper makes a difference in the feel, durability and texture of the paper. The higher the percentage, the better quality and more noticeable your resume paper.
Parchment. Diplomas and certifications usually use parchment paper, so use this option for an official appearance. Similar to linen, parchment has some texture to it, but it’s not as noticeable.
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Do You Have To Use Resume Paper
Though you don’t absolutely need to use resume paper, it offers some advantages:
Better printing quality. The extra thickness of resume paper means that you can expect fewer ink bleeds and smudges and an overall better printing quality compared to standard printing paper.
More professional feel. Although the content on your resume is more important than the paper you print it on, the thicker paper will give it a more professional feel. A hiring manager may not expect higher-quality paper when you hand them your resume, so the extra thickness and quality helps them take notice.
Higher chance of standing out. A hiring manager usually receives many resumes for one open position, and your resume has a higher chance of standing out in a stack of resumes when you use high-quality paper. This may be because of the feel of the paper or the color you choose.
Submitting A Cover Letter Make Sure You Do It Right
While cover letters may be on the decline, Shannon Nolde, lead recruiter at Zendesk, a software development company in San Francisco, says they have more value in specific jobs and industriese.g., a creative job in marketing, public relations or content fields where writing is prevalent.
If this is the case for you, Tim Windhof, executive resume writer at Windhof Career Services in Columbus, Ohio, says your cover letter should address the following: how you learned of the opportunity, how your qualifications match the job requirements, your possible availability in the area and how you can be contacted.
If youre still debating about whether you should spend the time writing a cover letter, Brooke advises that you ask yourself, What’s more important, a paragraph explaining why you want the job, or bulleted facts in your resume or portfolio that show you have the skills to do this job?
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Since You Need To Present Yourself Professionally Don’t Use Colored Paper Fancy Fonts Logos Or Images On Your Cover Letter Resume Or Envelopes
Should a cover letter be on resume paper. This is a great opportunity to highlight to the journal editor what makes your research new and important. There is no specific word count you should aim for when writing a cover letter . The extra thickness of resume paper means that you can expect fewer ink bleeds and smudges and an overall better printing quality compared to standard printing paper.
When you submit your article to a journal, you often need to include a cover letter. Your cover letter is a professional communication structured in full paragraphs, while your resume should have sections with bullet points that convey specific details like dates of employment and job duties. Use a large 9 x 12 envelope so you dont have to fold the documents (and no, genius, it’s not ok to steal one from the.
the cover letter provides you the opportunity to connect the dots for the human resources staff, says vickie seitner, executive business coach and founder of career edge one in omaha, nebraska. What should a cover letter for a job say that’s how you know you can get college assignment assistance with us the way you want it. Cover letter or resumewhat gets read first?
while it is important to keep both these documents together, generally an employer will read the cover letter and want to throw it away, keeping the resume if he plans to interview you. The letter should not be more half a page. Create a professional resume in just 15 minutes, easy