Cover Letter Content

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Your cover letter should follow a standard format. It is always less than one page, with 3-5 paragraphs. Use these sections for a better cover letter.

Greeting

The greeting should be formal, yet warm. If you know the name of the hiring manager, always write it in the greeting:

  • Dear Mary Chavez:

If you do not know the name, try to find it on the company website. Be sure you double check the job posting first to see if the hiring manager’s name is listed.

“To Whom It May Concern:” is appropriate in some letters, but not in a cover letter. It is too official and unfriendly. If you don’t know the name, use this greeting:

  • Dear Hiring Manager:

Opening

The first paragraph is the purpose of the cover letter. Include the job title and company name, like this standard beginning:

  • I would like to apply for the receptionist position with Dr. Smith Dental Associates.

If someone recommended the job to you, write his or her name in the opening sentence.

  • I would like to apply for the sales position at Mullen and Associates. I was recommended to apply by Jane Smith.

Follow your opening with one sentence why you should be hired:

  • I believe my experience in logistics and international trade makes me an ideal candidate.

Overall, a first paragraph could look something like this:

  • I would like to apply for the position of maintenance technician with Jordy Electrical Systems. I believe my experience repairing conveyor belts and maintaining electrical systems makes me an ideal candidate.




Body

The second paragraph is a chance to talk about yourself. In a few short sentences, discuss your most relevant experience, and why you are a good candidate for the position. You should also list some relevant achievements in your previous positions.

Here are some examples:

  • I have 8 years of experience as a waiter in casual and fine dining.
  • I have worked in sales for 6 years, and I was recently awarded top salesperson at my company.




Closing

The final paragraph is the call to action. Tell the reader what you will do, and what you want him or her to do. With a cover letter, this means you ask for a job interview.

  • I have attached my resume.
  • I would like the opportunity to discuss this position further in an interview.

Here is a full example:

  • I believe I am a strong candidate for this position. I have attached my resume, and I would like the opportunity to discuss this position in an interview. You may contact me by email at myname@email.com or by phone at (555) 555-5555.

Tip: do not use timelines that put perceived time pressure on the reader. 

  • “I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
  • “Please contact me as soon as possible.”

These statements rush the reader to take an action, which can appear rude.

Salutation

The salutation is not the place for creativity. There is nothing wrong with using the same salutation in every cover letter. Here is the best choice:

  • Sincerely,

            (Signature)

            Your Name