By | 4th July, 2020

How to create the best cover letter

As a career counselor, I’ve reviewed thousands of cover letters for hundreds of different positions. Give me a quick glance at your cover letter, and I can tell you the effect it will have on a reader.

That’s why I wrote this article: to explain how to write your cover letter in a way that gives you the best chance of landing work. Here’s how:

1. Target the role

First, if you want to make a strong pitch, you should target the job directly.

At the very least, that means you need to refer to the position by name, and make it clear that this isn’t a cover letter you’ve sent out to multiple companies. A hiring manager wants to know what you can do for their company, so if you don’t address your cover letter to their needs, it’ll be trashed.

2. Respond to the job requirements

If you really want to make an impression, respond to one or more bullet points from the job description, and outline how you can fulfill each requirement. This shows you that you can handle the duties of the job, and hit the ground running on your first day.

Also write about what attracted you to this particular role in the first place. When you do this, don’t talk about salary numbers or perks, but rather something that makes you excited to work for the company.

Additionally, you could point out a problem you’ve noticed it’s facing — one that you’d be able to fix.

You can also mention an interesting fact that you’ve learned about the company or position, such as a bit of information you picked up from reading the news. This will prove that you’re motivated and detail oriented.


3. Craft a great cover letter opening line

Use one of these ideas for the opening sentence of your cover letter. You only get one chance at making a first impression after all. Since it’s the first thing the hiring manager will read, you’ll need an opener that immediately hooks them.

Check out this example:

Excerpt from a cover letter: With six years of experience in full-stack web development and systems architecture, I am confident I will be an excellent fit for Haystack Search’s next Senior Software Engineer.

This opening line is much more effective than starting your cover letter with the dull sentence “I am writing to apply for [Position Name]”. A strong introduction will show the hiring manager that you’ve done your homework.

By customizing your cover letter to the role, you’ll immediately set yourself apart from the vast majority of applicants whose letters don’t address the company’s needs. When composing your cover letter, think of it as your elevator pitch in written form.

The 3 best cover letters of 2020

Millions — if not billions — of cover letters have been sent out, but only a small fraction of them are cover letters that work and that have landed an applicant a job. Thanks to the internet, hiring managers have shared some of the amazing cover letters they’ve encountered.

The consummate professional

In this great cover letter example, the applicant landed a job as a project manager by proving they had the required skills and experience in a short but effective cover letter. Their professionalism and humor shines through. Notably, they know how to address a cover letter to the person they’d be reporting to, rather than using the generic “To Whom It May Concern,” which is the best way to get things started

This approach may not be the best if you already have a lot of experience under your belt. But it’s perfect for an entry-level position, since all of the candidates will have similar backgrounds. A good cover letter will get read — a great cover letter will land you an interview.

The compassionate candidate

This awesome cover letter left a strong impression by showcasing the writer’s zest for life. Their compassion toward people and animals in particular makes them a desirable employee. Their cover letter also shows that despite working in entry-level roles, they still helped to fulfill organizational goals.

The much-improved applicant

The author of this wordy cover letter was horrified to reread it after finding it buried in their email outbox several years after submitting it.

Their original cover letter was difficult to read because of its length and lackluster content. It simply repeated the bullets on their resume, and didn’t showcase their passion or interest in the role. So they asked experts to rewrite it.

The redone version is much more readable, since it has short, easy-to-read paragraphs and an impactful opening line. It’s much more likely to hook the hiring manager and help the candidate score an interview.

See if there are any lessons you can take from this cover letter to apply to your own.

Our best cover letter examples

If those creative cover letters above didn’t resonate with you, no problem. Browse our amazing cover letter examples below to discover more strategies for writing a great cover letter.

Cover letter samples for job applications

How to use these great cover letter examples

First, read through our samples and note what they do well — you can adapt these features and apply them to your own.

Then, choose the cover letter sample you want. You can either click through to the page and hit the download button, or you can copy and paste the text into Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

To make your application as eye-catching as possible, use the matching resume template for your cover letter.

Change the text to reflect your circumstances and the job opening. Don’t forget to insert your telephone number, email address, and mailing address in the space for your contact details.

Writing a great cover letter is a skill. And like any skill, it takes time to develop.

For now, remember that the best cover letter for a job reflects your personality, shows you’ve researched the company, and proves you’ll be able to handle the tasks in the job description.

We have a full library of professional cover letter templates for you to pick from, so find one you like and download it for free. There’s no time to get started like the present. Good luck on the job hunt!

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