A cover letter is a crucial component of any job candidate's application, but it can be challenging to know exactly what information to include. No matter the industry or job, your cover letter should include certain elements that give hiring managers enough information to want to move forward with you. Focus on answering the following key questions in order to engage and impress potential employers.
Who are You?
Start strong with a short story about who you are and how you came to work in this industry. This kind of information compels the reader to want to know more. Avoid starting your cover letter with generic information that is a complete bore to read. Get straight to the point by immediately introducing yourself and describing why you're an ideal candidate.
Why Do You Want This Job?
Hiring managers want candidates who really want to work for their specific company, so don't make your cover letter sound like you're just out to get any old job. Convey genuine enthusiasm for the company and position. To do this, mention some interesting details you learned from a news clipping about the organization, or make reference to information you found on the company's website or social media pages. Explain how the company's goals and mission complement your own personal and professional values. Discuss how you not only have the skills and experience to perform well, but also possess the personality and character traits that align with the company's culture.
Why Should the Company Hire You?
To answer this question, focus on how your skills can directly benefit the company. Provide concrete examples of how you solved problems or helped a company advance. Detail past accomplishments and responsibilities that are similar to the qualifications the company listed in the job description. Describe how you can save the company money, improve efficiency or make a positive impact on the business.
What's the Next Step?
Many job candidates fail to include a clear call-to-action in their cover letters, but it's important to ask for exactly what you want — an interview. End your letter on a strong note by explicitly stating how much you want to be considered for the job and how the hiring manager can get in contact with you. Include your phone number and email address, and mention the exact dates and times you are available within the next week.
Use this list to create the outline for your cover letters. Review your cover letters intently, and have a friend read them over to make sure the questions are answered thoroughly. A well-written cover letter can increase your chance of getting called for an interview, so make sure the letters you send out always hit the right marks.
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