What To Say In Your Cover Letter

The Quick & Dirty On What To Say In Your Cover Letter

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The purpose of your cover letter is to introduce yourself, get the reader to open your resume, and help them to see the connection between you and the position you want. Trying to figure out how to do that and what to write in your cover letter isn’t always that easy, though. So, here’s a quick list of what to say in your cover letter:

Position Sought

Within the first paragraph of the cover letter, it’s important to state the position you want to be considered for and how you heard about it. If it was through a referral, or someone within the company, it’s important to state that.

A Summary Of KEY Accomplishments

The idea here is to include “key” accomplishments—those most relevant to the position you’re seeking. Use brief statements to show how you can be an asset to the company—how you can help them reach their goals or meet their needs. These statements should market your education, credentials, and experience and how they’re a fit for the company.

Personal Touch

Bring in the personal connection to the position. By personal connection I don’t mean you have to have followed the company’s entire history, but if there’s a project the company worked on that you admire, state that. If you have a personal connection with or interest in the company, mention that. It shows that you’re personally invested in the opportunity and the company.

Close With A Call

Don’t forget to close your cover letter by thanking the reader for their time, and include a call to action. By call to action I mean a way they can contact you or how you plan to follow up with them. Examples can include:

I will call you within two weeks to confirm receipt and discuss how I may be a good fit for your team.

Or:

Call me at 800.991.5187 to discuss how I can deliver the same or better results for ABC company.

Feel more comfortable leaving the writing to the experts?  We know resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. Find out more here.

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Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

4 comments

  1. Question: when is it ok to put the cover letter into the body of an email with the resume attached vs. attaching one that is in the same format and template as the resume? I find, having been in the position of ‘hiring manager’, if both are attached sometimes I tended to open the resume first and if I liked it then I’d see what they had to say in the cover letter.

    • That’s a good point, Mariam. I never even thought about that. A lot of big companies nowadays have job search sites (Like Taleo) where you attach a resume and a cover letter. If the hiring manager really wanted, they could just open up the resume first right?

      i think that this is why being concise and brief is key. What I teach is to write a brief, 3 paragraph (and sometimes add bullet points) is key, whereas the resume can be much longer of a read. If the cover letter is brief, it will serve the point that Bill (below) was saying.

      Cheers -
      Nate @ ExampleCoverLetters.org

    • Generally if I have to send an attachment, I put the cover letter and resume as one file. That way it is read in the order I want it to be read, and the HR person only has to open one attachment (which, if you have 200 applicants, really saves time).

  2. Good advice! Remember this simple trick: the purpose of the cover letter is to get the reader to read your resume. So your cover letter should create that interest and curiosity in the reader. Best way is to show how you match up vs the major job requirements in a simple bulleted format. The details are in your resume.

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