How to Start a Cover Letter

Whether you are applying for a job or internship or sending a cover letter to any other type of writing project, there are some simple tips on how to write a more compelling cover letter. A lackluster cover letter can easily be ignored or be seen as unprofessional.

A cover letter should be concise. Your cover letter does not need to include your life story, but it should draw attention to your most relevant qualifications, skills, and experiences. Your cover letter is not an opportunity to rehash everything you said in your resume. Remember the purpose of a cover letter is to assist the employer in making the decision to read your resume and possibly offer you an interview. Include pertinent information from your resume, and this should be enough for them to see what they need without reading your entire resume.

Your cover letter should be proofread and easy to read. Hiring managers regularly receive people’s resumes and cover letters, so make yours stand out by using proper spelling and grammar. Your cover letter should not have any obvious errors, as this will instantly take away from your professionalism. Most people will overlook a resume with bad grammar, but not a potential employee’s cover letter.

Your cover letter should be concise. Your cover letter does not need to include your life story, but it should draw attention to your most relevant qualifications, skills, and experiences. Your cover letter is not an opportunity to rehash everything you said in your resume. Remember the purpose of a cover letter is to assist the employer in making the decision to read your resume and possibly offer you an interview.

Top 10 Tips to Write an effective Cover Letter:

Here are the top 10 tips to write an effective cover letter for almost any kind of job:

1. Don’t Use a Form Letter:

Never use a form letter. A cover letter is an opportunity to reveal your personality and add that personal touch. A form letter will take away from this.

2. Include Your Resume:

Just like your resume, your cover letters need to be tailored for each application. Be sure to include any important qualifications and details about the position in your cover letter.

3. Address Correctly:

When addressing your cover letter directly to a specific person, you should always capitalize the name. Instead of “Dear Mr. Jones,” it should be “Dear Mr. Jones.” Next, address your letter to the position and not simply the person who will be reading it. For example, “I am writing in response to your advertisement for a Director of Sales” and not “To Mr. Jones.”

4. Leave Out Personal Information:

Personal information in a cover letter should be limited to your address, phone number, and email address. Otherwise, do not include your age, marital status, or other personal information that is not relevant for the position you are applying for.

5. Include a Brief Summary:

In this section of the cover letter, briefly describe any previous experience and skills that are relevant to the position. For example, “I have over six years of experience in sales and customer service. I have strong leadership skills, and excellent communication and customer service skills.”

6. Use Professional Language:

Be sure to use professional language in your cover letter. Refer to the job posting, instead of “our company,” or emphasize the fact that you are only available for “one week this month.” Use proper grammar and spelling.

7. Personalize Your Application:

Write your cover letter in the first person so it feels more personal to the reader. You can also add information about yourself at the end of your cover letter e.g. you love to read, play chess, or you have two children.

8. Refer to an Accomplishment:

A cover letter is your opportunity to explain why you are the best candidate for a job. For example, “It says in your ad that you are looking for someone with excellent time management and organizational skills. I am an extremely organized individual and feel that my previous experience will translate into an excellent fit at XYZ Company.”

9. Get to the Point:

A cover letter is not your opportunity to make up a story or add any irrelevant information. Be specific about why you are applying for the position and what qualifies you specifically for it.

10. Use Appropriate Letter Length:

Most cover letters will be a maximum of one page long. You may need to include up to three pages, but try for less than that.

Examples of Cover Letter Introduction:

Cover letters are an effective way to increase a recruiter’s interest in you. Read a few examples of cover letters to get a better idea of how one should be formatted and written.

Example 1:

Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing in response to your advertisement for the __ (position) in the ___ (name of company). I am very interested in this position because ___ (insert details on why you are interested in this job).

Example 2:

I am applying for the __ (position) with your company. With more than five years of experience in ___ (name of the field), I believe that my skills and qualifications can help your company. I will be available during the week of ___ to discuss this position further.

Example 3:

Dear Sir/Madam,
My interest in your company first began after I read the description of the __ (position) on the website. I have extensive experience in ___ (name of the field) and believe that my skills, knowledge, and abilities will help your company grow in __ (name of company).
I look forward to hearing from you.

Example 4:

Dear Sir/Madam,
As an __ (position), I am interested in your company because it is a great opportunity for growth and development. My skills and experiences can help you achieve your goals in the field of ___ (name of position).

Check our cover letter examples.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Use cover letter template
  2. The most important advice that you should follow is to be accurate and use proper grammar and spelling.
  3. You should be very specific about what you can do for the company, as well as your interest in the position.
  4. List your experience and interests as important qualifications for this job.
  5. Address your cover letter directly to a specific person and not simply to the position itself.
  6. Don’t use a form letter. Each cover letter should be tailored to each specific job you apply for.
  7. Don’t provide any personal information that is irrelevant to the position you are applying for.
  8. Include a brief summary of your skills and experience that is relevant to this position.
  9. Use professional language and avoid contractions like “don’t” and “won’t.” 9. Personalize your cover letter for each job that you apply for.
  10. Be sure to use proper grammar and spelling.
  11. Don’t exceed one page in length, and keep your cover letter to no more than three pages.
  12. Use bullet points to highlight useful information and skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for.

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Published by Sarah Samson

Sarah Samson is a professional career advisor and resume expert. She specializes in helping recent college graduates and mid-career professionals improve their resumes and format them for the modern job market. In addition, she has also been a contributor to several online publications.