Today, most jobs will ask you to submit a cover letter and your resume when applying for a job. However, even if the job doesn’t explicitly state that you need to attach a cover letter, it’s still a good idea to write one. Why? Because it shows how much you want the role, and it may motivate a recruiter to look at your resume more carefully. A cover letter helps you make an excellent first impression and stand out from the hundreds of applications.
The problem is that people think writing a cover letter is hard. More so, people who aren’t good with words. The good news is that a cover letter is easier to write than people give it credit for. A cover letter should be concise, with no more than four paragraphs. If you’re still hesitant about your cover letter writing skills, this article should give you the tools and tips you need to write the perfect cover letter to help you land your dream job in 2023.
9 helpful tips to write a great cover letter
However, before you write a cover letter, you need to know that a cover letter is different from a resume. While a resume states the facts – who you are, your job experience, skills and educational background and any other relevant information, a cover letter provides an opportunity to explain why you are qualified for the job. Therefore, whatever you write in a cover letter is in relation to the job you’re applying for and why you’d be a perfect choice.
Write a different cover letter for each job application
A cover letter should be directly related to the job you’re applying for. It should show how appropriate your skills are for the potential job. A cover letter is not the time to be generic or copy and paste a cover letter from a different job application. A hiring manager will interpret this as disinterest and laziness, two interests no employer wants in anyone their hire.
Address the hiring manager by name
Your cover letter needs to be as customized as possible. One way to do this is to address it to the hiring manager by name. Even if the name isn’t stated in the job description, you can find it with some research. We live in an era where information is at our fingertips. You can find such information on the company website or sites like LinkedIn. If the information wasn’t provided and you still found it, it shows that you are dedicated, thorough and committed.
Follow any instructions specified in the job description
Ensure that you read the job description as carefully as possible. Some hiring managers specify how cover letters should be written, for example, fonts, formats and spacing.
Some may even go a step further to include a secret word you should have in your letter so that they know you pay attention to detail. In addition, companies usually include specific instructions to reduce the load by eliminating those who don’t meet all the requirements.
Emphasize your specific expertise and skills
Whatever you write in your cover letter should be directly tied to the job you are applying for. One way to do this is to write the cover letter while reading the job description, line by line. This will help you know what you can include in a cover letter and what you can leave out.
For instance, if the firm is looking for a person with leadership skills, you can talk about projects you spearheaded. Using the job description to guide your cover letter writing process can especially come in handy for those with multiple skills and tons of experience they want to highlight. The job description will help you highlight the most vital information.
It would also be best if you went into specific detail about your experience. For instance, if you helped a firm land multiple accounts, boost revenue, cut costs, etc., mention it. Adding specific details like figures will make your letter more impressive, credible, and memorable.
Speak about the company in question
In your letter, don’t stop at talking about how perfect you are for the job. You can take it a step further and talk about the company and how you’ve always wanted to work for it. Mention what company cultures and values you admire or even significant achievements.
This will show the hiring manager that you’re not just applying for the job because you came across it or want a job and will take anything. Don’t be fooled; flattery still works.
Limit your content
As much as you might have a lot to say, try to limit your word count. Most cover letters are around 400 words or less. A cover letter is merely an introduction; and these are supposed to be shorter. A concise yet thorough cover letter shows that you have good writing skills. Also, long cover letters get passed over, so you might even be wasting your precious time.
Use simple and affirmative language
Your cover letter should be easy to read and understand. No hiring manager wants to have a thesaurus by their side while they peruse through your letter. Keep your language simple and affirmative. Use affirmative language to show that you are action and goal oriented. Instead of terms; ‘responsible for’ and ‘tasked with,’ use affirmative language like handled, secured, etc. Statements like ‘responsible for’ don’t state whether you were successful or not.
Don’t mention what you lack
A cover letter is supposed to flatter you. You will have other opportunities to discuss your professional weaknesses or failures. You can go into that if it’s brought up in an interview.
Proofread your cover letter
Once you are done writing your cover letter, proofread it five times before submitting it. You want to avoid giving the impression that you weren’t eager enough for the job and that you didn’t bother to read through it a couple of times. It would be best if you also put it through spell and Grammar checking software like Grammarly to catch any mistakes you missed.
You can also give it to a friend to look through because it is easier for them to catch any mistakes since it’s their first time looking at it. Because you wrote the letter, you may have some blind spots. If you follow these easy tips, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t impress a hiring manager and land your dream job. If you want to perfect your cover letter writing skills, you can use these tips to write a few samples until you’re confident in your abilities.
Examples of great cover letters
For a Business Development Specialist position
321 654 987 email@example.com 44 Browning, Boston Massachusetts
December 21st, 2022
Ms Eve Rhodes,
44 Windsor Ave.
111 333 555
Dear Ms Watts,
As an enthusiastic admirer of the excellent work at Green & Grant, I’m thrilled to submit my application for the Business Development Specialist position advertised on Indeed.com. As a dedicated and results-driven Business Development Specialist with 12+ years of experience in identifying sales and business growth opportunities and implementing new business development processes and procedures, I’m optimistic that I would be a great asset to the team at Green & Grant.
Your job listing mentions that you need a Business Development Specialist who is a strong leader, effective communicator, and account manager. I am happy to report that I fit the bill. While at JP Morgan, I led product development teams to guarantee that products were made in accordance with client requirements and company priorities while creating and maintaining ties with external clients and internal partnerships.
By nurturing relationships with partners, I was able to generate more than $800,000 in sales and secure cost reductions of at least 14% with significant suppliers. In addition, through regular market analysis and testing, I successfully developed and tested new innovative strategies to boost penetration into critical markets, which resulted in a revenue of over $3M.
In a bid to increase conversion rates at Newman & Co., I created a referral program for lead generation that increased revenue from $0 to more than $700,000 per year. Soon after, I conducted an experiment in which I sent scheduled and segmented messages to fresh prospects, which resulted in a 250% increase in conversion rates.
I was named the Top Business Development Associate and Specialist for the above achievements in 2018 and 2019.
My demonstrated long history of outstanding work ethic, unrivaled attention to detail, and employee efficiency will make me an indispensable asset to the team and allow me to contribute to its success.
I am excited to talk about the Business Development Specialist role and my skills and experience with you in greater depth. I am available to speak with you whenever it is convenient for you. I’ll contact you again next week to follow up and ensure you received my application.
For a Product Manager position
292 082 950 firstname.lastname@example.org 987 Longbow Street LA, California
19th December 2022.
234 Blue Valley Drive
923 292 685
Dear Ms Miller,
As a Product Manager with 10+ years of experience designing brand strategy, assessing product performance, and executing strategic marketing, I was thrilled to see your job posting on Indeed.com for a Product Manager at Better Brand. So naturally, I could not pass up the opportunity to submit my resume. I come armed with efficient techniques that guarantee revenue increment and quality product delivery.
In your job listing, you mention that you need a Product Manager who can lead a team of other managers seamlessly and effectively. You are in luck. While at Brand It, Boost It, I garnered 25% more development ideas from team members by adopting agile conceptualization planning, optimizing development procedures, and cutting development deadlines by 10% without compromising quality.
In addition, I devised new marketing strategies with advertising and sales managers, which enhanced brand recognition and resulted in a 20% rise in sales.
Still on the topic of cost management, I successfully established distribution channels in critical markets while negotiating contracts with partners that slashed development costs by an average of 5%.
I also left my mark at Product Pro in Atlanta, as you will see below.
- Successfully tracked market trends and examined consumer input information, which throughout my tenure resulted in improvements to 7 crucial product features.
- Despite COVID-19, the company exceeded revenue targets, boosting sales by 20% by creating three significant software products.
- Controlled a $5.4 million annual budget while liaising with 5 teams.
These are a few key achievements that I hope to expound on in an interview. I’m confident that I am the perfect candidate for this position. I assure you that I am my own competition and will surpass even these remarkable achievements.
I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for your time and consideration,
For a Software Developer position
919 717 711 email@example.com 456 Spooner Street LA, California
16th December 2022.
234 Oceanview Drive
000 888 666
Dear Ms Paris Geller,
I was thrilled to hear about the open position of Software Developer at The Refactory Group from an ex-colleague, Barbara Sanders. We worked as lead developers on several agile products, finishing them and deploying them in live environments as early as three months after the projects started. In addition, we handled all the training of junior developers who joined the senior teams faster than we had anticipated.
Everything I’ve heard about the work being done at The Refactory Group has been astounding and inspirational. With my assistance, we can take the company to an entirely new level and stake our claim in the software development world.
In your job posting, I noticed that one of the skills you require is a proven track record in project development, management, and team leadership. At The Deep, Miami, I was instrumental in completing projects ahead of time without exhausting the assigned budget and exceeding functional expectations.
In addition, I designed and implemented multiple tech solutions, 4 and 6 of which made it to the top 50 newest software innovations of the year in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Because of my vast experience as a lead Software Developer, I have mastered the art of preparing simple yet intricate technical documentation to help junior developers.
I am particularly interested in designing end-user apps for more seamless customer service. For the past two years, I have been working as a freelancer on the side, developing these kinds of apps. I handled system testing and developed reporting interfaces and pre-built options allowing users to execute the majority of user inquiries without involving technical support.
I am proficient in the following programming languages:
- Visual Studio
- C & C++
- MS SQL
As you see, I come with significant experience, tangible accomplishments, and outstanding credentials. These characteristics are what you need in a Software Developer.
I am thrilled at the prospect of joining The Refactory Group. I look forward to discussing the role and my skills and experience with you in greater depth. I am available to speak with you whenever it is convenient for you. Next week, I’ll be in touch to follow up and ensure you received my application.
For a Product Designer position
222 333 444 firstname.lastname@example.org 666 Rosaria Street LA, California
14th December 2022.
234 Lakeview Drive
973 272 595
Dear Ms Andrews,
Elite-X Designers has been my dream workplace for as long as I can remember. So, I was elated when I saw the job posting for a Product Designer on LinkedIn.com. After over eight years in the UX industry, I have perfected my user testing and research skills, built task flows and wireframes based on customer requirements, and partnered with designers and developers to construct user-friendly, intuitive software.
Your job description mentioned that one of the problems you currently need help with is finding designers who are excellent at designing customer feedback systems. While at Dream Designer, I created and deployed user feedback systems for numerous companies while boosting their net promoter scores by 40 points over eight months in over half of these companies. As a senior UX developer, I recruited, mentored, and managed a team of over 15 junior designers who led their own teams in 18 months.
One of my most significant achievements at Dream Designer was increasing revenue by 200% in the first eight months (accounting for 20% of company revenue). I managed to do this by reworking the mobile onboarding procedure for the apps with the poorest download rates. Additionally, I redesigned the website’s navigation and flow, leading to a 30% decrease in diverted customer support inquiries and a 50% increase in traffic to underutilized pages.
Furthermore, while at Metro Domain, I was instrumental in pioneering unique email layouts for marketing emails and monthly newsletters that improved click-through rates by 170%. I went one step further by designing and deploying behavioral push alerts predicated on app usage. This boosted the client’s retention rate by 120%, a boost they had never recorded in all their years of operation.
My goal as a UX designer is to conceptualize, develop, and launch the most seamless and robust systems that entice users with ease of use and boost company revenue through their uniqueness and simplicity. I am a team player eager to join your company and take on any challenges, learn from them and use that experience to design valuable software.
I would be an invaluable asset at Elite-X Designers.
I’m eager to discuss my qualifications and experience further and what more I can do for your company, given the opportunity to showcase my skills. I will reach out next week to ensure that you received my application.
I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Gerald Ainomugisha is a freelance Content Solutions Provider (CSP) offering both content and copy writing services for businesses of all kinds, especially in the niches of management, marketing and technology.