1. Contact Information
Include your full name, address (including zip code–for ATS purposes,) and phone number with area code. You should make it as easy as possible for the hiring manager to reach you. Traditionally, this contact information is included in the upper left corner of your cover letter if you’re writing in a document. If you’re writing an email, this information can be included beneath your signature at the end of the message.
It is ideal to find out the name of the hiring manager and greet them directly. You can usually find the hiring manager’s name by searching the company website or even calling the company and asking which hiring manager is assigned to this particular position. Once you learn the name, a simple greeting of “John” or “Hello John” is all you need.
Think of the opening sentence as your “hook”. It’s your chance to grab the hiring manager’s attention and get them excited to learn more about you. How exactly do you write a good hook? Think about what skills set you apart from the other candidates or how your experience would make you invaluable to the company. What can you do that nobody else can?
Word of warning: be careful not to go overboard with information in your opening (and be cautious of writing a run-on sentence). Pick just the one or two things you think are the most relevant and most important to this particular job.
When writing the body, or main section, of your cover letter, remember the three w’s: why, what, and what (Yep, we meant to say “what” twice).
Why are you writing to the hiring manager?
What value can you offer the company?
What do you know about the company and the team?
The body of the cover letter is all about selling yourself. Include a few examples of relevant and measurable accomplishments. Measurable accomplishments are powerful because they show tangible proof of your abilities.
For example, if you’re applying for a job in sales, you might include, “In Q4 of 2015, I increased sales by 15%”.
Or, if you’re applying for a job in web development, you might say, “Worked on a team of three developers to build a full mobile app”.
Someone in a managerial position could say, “Led a team of 15 to reach a combined $250,000 in sales in one quarter”. Just like when writing a resume, your cover letter should only include the most relevant and positive information about you. To home in on the right skills and qualifications to mention, try scanning your cover letter.
The closing of your cover letter is just that, a closing. This section should be used to thank the hiring manager for his or her time and to mention any attachments (resume, portfolio, samples). Keep the closing professional, and try not to sound too eager, since eagerness can come off as desperate.
For example, rather than saying something like, “Looking forward to hearing more about the position,” it’s best to keep it cool with something like, “I look forward to finding out if I’m a match for this position”. Again, keep in mind the tone and personality of the company you’re communicating with here.
To finish out the closing, do a formal signature. You can use “Sincerely,” “Best,” “Regards,” “Yours,” or any other professional signoff.
Use your first and last name as your signature. If you’re sending your cover letter in the body of an email, make sure it’s your personal email account that does not list your current work signature beneath the email. Your other option is to write the cover letter in a word document, saving as a PDF, and attaching it to your email.