How to Write a Cover Letter: A Step-By-Step Guide
Three to five short paragraphs are all you need to create a dynamic cover letter. By making your cover letter as concise as possible, you demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Our guide takes you through each step of the letter-writing process.
Step 1 - The Salutation
â€¢ Address the letter to a name: "Dear Sir" If you can't obtain the information by calling the company, use a title: "Dear Advertising Manager."
â€¢ Make sure the company address on your letter matches the one on your envelope.
Step 2 - Introductory Paragraph
â€¢ Open with a sentence that grabs the reader's attention. For example, explain how your skills uniquely qualify you for the job or that you are enthusiastic about the position or company.
â€¢ State what position you are applying for and where you learned about the job.
Step 3 - Why I'm the Perfect Person for the Job Paragraph
â€¢ Be specific without repeating everything that is on your resume.
â€¢ Briefly explain important career achievements.
â€¢ Define how you can contribute to the company's success. How do your skills make you stand out?
Step 4 - Additional Background and Skills Paragraph
â€¢ Talk about any additional skills that you have (be brief!).
â€¢ Show you have done research on the company by demonstrating how your background can help you meet current company objectives.
â€¢ State your practical work experience (as it pertains to the job; no one needs to know your entire teenage work history).
â€¢ Use bullet points to highlight your greatest strengths (if you have not already done so).
Step 5 - Executive Level Information Paragraph
â€¢ If you are applying to a higher-level or executive position (VP, Manager, etc.), you might want to include a fourth paragraph that gives more details of your achievements and background.
â€¢ For an entry-level job or non-executive position, you probably don't need another "background paragraph."
Step 6 - Closing Paragraph
â€¢ Don't ignore a request for salary requirements-but be cautious. Give a broad range or write "negotiable."
â€¢ Thank the employer for reviewing your materials.
Step 7 - Signature
â€¢ Remember to sign your letter in black or blue ink! Other colors don't look professional.
â€¢ List your phone number underneath your name. It makes it a lot easier to find.