We know cover letters are a little old school, but some companies still require a good ole’ explanation of who you are and why you should work for them when applying online. The document should explain details and anecdotes outside of your resume and your LinkedIn profile to help sell yourself!
The purpose of a cover letter
The main purpose of submitting a cover letter is to further explain your skills, quantitative achievement and what you’ll bring to the team. This is an opportunity for the company to get to you know you, in your own words, outside of your resume and whatever else is online, before scheduling an interview. Think of this as your chance to brag about your work.
What to include
Do a little research to find the name and contact information for the hiring manager or HR director. Don’t address the cover letter to a generic “Dear Madame” or “Dear Sir.” Find a name and be personable in the intro and outro.
Include some of your most impressive accomplishments as they relate to the new job. For example, if you’re a marketer, highlight an ad campaign click-through rate that you worked on or blog post page views for an article you wrote. If you’re in a leadership position, explain how you trained your team on new products and features, which instilled confidence in your team to sign on X number of new clients.
If the company requests it, include a link to your online portfolio toward the end of the letter. Ex: “For more samples and information on my experience, please see my portfolio here.”
Keep it short! Try to keep your cover letter under 300 words and definitely keep it under one page. You should kick off the letter with an short intro, no more than three sentences.
The meat and potatoes of your cover letter should include your accomplishments. Split this section into two to three easy paragraphs.
Close the cover letter by thanking the hiring manager by name and add a call to action. Ex: “Thank you for the opportunity to join your team, Devan. Let me know when you begin scheduling interviews.”
Write the cover letter in your voice. The document should sound natural while also being persuasive.
An example of a cover letter
Here’s an example of one of my cover letters. With my samples, the document was 224 words and I wound up working with this client later down the line!
[Hiring Manager’s Name],
As a print girl living in the digital world, I know how valuable digital writing and marketing has become. I work with a wide range of clients – local, national, and international – to provide them with the best digital solutions for their businesses.
My skill set ranges from long-form articles to marketing copy, deploying emails, analyzing reports, as well as any and all forms of editing. If there’s a typo or a missing comma, I always find it!
Here are a few of my top-ranking articles:
[Bullet points with article names and links]
I’m always searching for classes to take and people to learn from. I enjoy expanding my knowledge and improving my skill set to help clients. I’d love to bring my dedicated work ethic and sunny disposition to the [Company Name] team.
Please let me know when you begin scheduling interviews. I look forward to hearing from you, [Hiring Manager’s Name] !
Looking for more cover letter advice?
We’re on it. We know it can be intimidating and confusing to know exactly what to highlight to put yourself in the best position for the job. Contact our team today and we are happy to guide you on cover letter best practices! Or hey, even recommend an alternative that could be more effective.