So what's the big deal about cover letters, anyway? (Any why are they always so weird to write?) Essentially, a cover letter is your personal billboard, a one-page manifesto that you send off with your resume when you're on the hunt for a job. It's your golden opportunity to showcase your personality, express your enthusiasm for the position, and highlight your most relevant skills and experiences. With the right job application templates and cover letter templates, you can ensure that you're ticking all the right boxes and making a stellar first impression.
The Power of the Cover Letter
You might be wondering, "Is a cover letter really worth the effort?" The answer is a resounding heck yes! While your resume provides a snapshot of your qualifications, a cover letter allows you to weave a more compelling narrative about why you're the perfect fit for the job.
A well-crafted cover letter can:
- Grab the employer's attention: A cover letter that's personalized, engaging, and downright snazzy can make your application stand head and shoulders above the rest.
- Showcase your personality: A cover letter gives you the opportunity to inject a dose of your unique personality into your application and show employers what makes you tick.
- Demonstrate your interest: By taking the time to write a detailed and thoughtful cover letter, you're showing employers that you're genuinely jazzed about the role and the company.
- Highlight relevant skills and experiences: A cover letter lets you directly connect your skills and experiences to the job requirements, making it easier for employers to see why you're a great fit.
In the following sections, we'll guide you through the essential elements of a cover letter, provide you with some handy cover letter templates for different situations, and share tips on how to customize your cover letter and dodge common pitfalls. You can also check out our article on cover letter generators, if you're interested in getting AI to write your cover letter for you. Try it out for yourself:
The Anatomy of a Cover Letter
Crafting a compelling cover letter might seem like a Herculean task, but breaking it down into several key components makes it a whole lot more manageable. Let's dissect the essential elements that make up a cover letter, from the header to the signature.
Header and Greeting
The header of your cover letter should include your contact information, the date, and the contact information of the employer. Even in this digital age, you can impress recruiters by using this formal letter format. Here's an example of what your header might include:
- Your Name
- Your Address
- Your City, State, ZIP
- Your Email Address
- Today’s Date
- Employer's Name
- Company's Name
- Company's Address
- Company's City, State, ZIP
Next, you'll want to greet the hiring manager. If you know their name, use it. (If not, "Dear Hiring Manager" is a safe bet.)
The opening paragraph is your chance to grab the reader's attention. Start by stating the position you're applying for and where you found the job listing. Then, use one or two sentences to convey your excitement about the opportunity and briefly highlight why you're a good fit. Remember, you're setting the tone for the rest of the letter here, so make it count.
The body of your cover letter is where the magic happens. This is where you'll expand on the skills and experiences that make you the perfect candidate. When selecting which experiences to include, focus on those most relevant to the job description.
Try to incorporate specific examples that highlight your skills. For instance, if you're applying for a sales role, you might discuss a time you exceeded a sales goal and how you achieved it. Keep it concise, though — aim for one to two paragraphs.
Closing Paragraph and Signature
Finally, the closing paragraph is your chance to wrap things up. Restate your interest in the position and thank the hiring manager for considering your application. You can also indicate that you're looking forward to the possibility of discussing the role further in an interview.
After your closing remarks, sign off professionally with a word like "Sincerely" or "Best," followed by your full name.
By breaking down your cover letter into these key components, you'll be well on your way to crafting a compelling narrative that grabs the hiring manager's attention. Remember, each cover letter you send should be tailored to the specific role and company, so take the time to customize these sections for each job application. Happy writing!
Cover Letter Templates for Different Situations
Your cover letter is your first impression, right? So, let's make it count! Here, we're providing three cover letter templates tailored to different situations: new graduates, career changers, and experienced professionals.
Template for New Graduates
As a new graduate, your focus should be showcasing your academic achievements, internships, and relevant skills that would make you a great fit for the job. Here's a simple template to get you started:
Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],I am writing to apply for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name] as advertised. I recently graduated from [Your University] with a degree in [Your Major] and believe I would be a great fit for this role.During my time at [University], I [describe a relevant academic achievement or project]. In addition, I completed an internship at [Company Name] where I [describe a task or responsibility you had and what you learned from it].I am particularly drawn to [Company Name] because [give a specific reason]. I believe that my [mention a key skill or trait] would greatly contribute to your team.Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of contributing to [Company Name].Sincerely,[Your Name]
Template for Career Changers
Switching careers? Your cover letter should highlight the transferable skills and experiences from your previous job that make you a good candidate for the new role. Here's a template for you:
Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],I am writing to express my interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. Although I have been working in [Your Current Industry], I am looking to transition into [New Industry] and believe this role would be a perfect fit.In my current role at [Current Company Name], I [describe a skill or experience that is transferable to the new job]. I have also [mention any relevant training or courses you have taken to prepare for the transition].I am excited about the prospect of bringing my unique skill set and experiences to [Company Name] and am confident that I can contribute to your team.Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to discussing how I can contribute to your team.Best,[Your Name]
Template for Experienced Professionals
As an experienced professional, your cover letter should highlight your key achievements and the value you can bring to the company. Here's a template for you:
Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],I am writing to apply for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. With over [number of years] of experience in [Your Industry], I have a thorough understanding of [mention a key aspect of the role] and am confident in my ability to contribute to your team.In my current role at [Current Company Name], I [describe a significant achievement or project that demonstrates key skills for the job]. I believe that my expertise in [mention a key area of expertise] would be beneficial to your team.I am excited at the prospect of bringing my skills and experiences to [Company Name] and am confident that I can contribute to your ongoing success.Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of working with you.Best,[Your Name]
Remember, these cover letter templates are just starting points. Be sure to tailor your cover letter to the specific job and company you're applying to. Good luck with your job hunt!
Customizing Your Cover Letter: The Magical Touch
While using cover letter templates can be a huge time-saver, it's crucial to remember that each cover letter should be tailored to the specific job and company you're applying to. Here are a few tips to help you sprinkle some magic onto your cover letter and make it stand out.
Research the Company
Before you start crafting your cover letter, take some time to research the company. Understand its mission, culture, and the challenges it faces. This information can give you insights into what the company values in its employees and how you can contribute to its goals.
When describing why you're a good fit for the company, refer back to the insights you gained from your research. This shows that you've taken the time to learn about the company and are genuinely interested in becoming a part of it.
Highlight Relevant Skills and Experiences
The body of your cover letter is the perfect place to highlight the skills and experiences that make you a great fit for the job. But don't just list your skills – provide specific examples of how you've used these skills in the past.
For instance, instead of saying "I have strong project management skills", you could say "In my previous role as a project manager at XYZ Company, I successfully led a team of five and completed a six-month project two weeks ahead of schedule."
Remember, it's not about showcasing all your skills and experiences, but rather highlighting the ones that are most relevant to the job you're applying for.
Show Enthusiasm and Interest
Employers want to hire people who are enthusiastic about the job and the company. So, don't be afraid to show your enthusiasm in your cover letter.
This could be as simple as saying "I've been a long-time admirer of your company's commitment to sustainability, and I'm excited about the opportunity to contribute to your ongoing efforts in this area."
At the same time, remember to express your interest in the role. Make it clear that you understand what the job involves and why you're interested in it.
Customizing your cover letter can take a bit of time and effort, but it's well worth it. A well-crafted, personalized cover letter can catch an employer's attention and make them want to learn more about you. So, use these tips to make your cover letter shine!
Use Magical to Customize Your Cover Letter Quickly
Applying to dozens of jobs and sick of writing and rewriting your cover letter for each one? Here's a tip that makes job hunting a lot less painful—save your cover letter as a template within Magical. (It's a free Chrome extension.) You can add placeholders for things like "Company Name" and "Relevant Skills" to make personalizing it for a particular role or company much faster. When it comes time to apply for a new job? All you need to do is call up your cover letter from Magical and plug in the relevant details. It's just one of many ways that Magical makes it easier to get a job.
Common Pitfalls to Dodge
Crafting a standout cover letter can be a bit of a balancing act. While our cover letter templates can guide you, it's equally important to know what pitfalls to steer clear of. Here are three common mistakes you should avoid when drafting your cover letter.
One of the most common missteps job seekers make is using generic language. Phrases like "I'm a hard worker" or "I'm a team player" are often overused and do not provide specific details about your skills or experiences.
Instead, aim to be specific and unique in your language. Use concrete examples to demonstrate your skills and achievements. Remember, your cover letter is an opportunity to show your potential employer why you are the best fit for the job. Don't waste it by sounding like everyone else.
Repeating Your Resume
Your cover letter is not the place to simply restate your resume. If your cover letter reads like a list of your job history, you're doing it wrong.
Instead, your cover letter should complement your resume, providing context and personal insights into your career history and achievements. Use it to tell a story about your professional journey, to highlight key achievements, and to show how you can add value to the company.
Neglecting to Proofread
We get it, you're eager to hit the send button. But before you do, take a moment to thoroughly proofread your cover letter. Spelling errors, grammar mistakes, or typos can be a major turn-off for employers. They can suggest a lack of attention to detail or a lack of seriousness about the application.
Proofreading goes beyond just checking for spelling and grammar mistakes. Make sure that your cover letter is coherent, concise, and that it effectively communicates your message. Consider asking a trusted friend or mentor to read over your letter for feedback.
In summary, avoid generic language, don't just repeat your resume, and always, always proofread. Keep these tips in mind as you use our cover letter templates to craft your application, and you'll be well on your way to landing that interview. Good luck!