There’s no doubt about it. People who write the best cover letters get the best job interviews. Research shows that the most effective, cover letters have a number of common characteristics. They follow a 3-part format that consistently garners positive results and earns the job applicants who wrote them highly sought after job interviews.
Even if you’re not a great writer, you can write great cover letters by following the format listed below. Use this format to write the best cover letters for getting job interviews. If you write your cover letter and still aren’t comfortable with the result, have no fear. The link at the end of the article offers cover letter writing services and software that may assist you.
But first things first…
1. Grab Attention in Your First Paragraph is the first tip to writing best cover letters for getting job interviews.
Hiring managers review hundreds of cover letters and resumes for every job they fill. To get attention, your cover letter must stand out. Here are examples of effective and interesting first paragraphs. Choose the one that works best for your situation and modify it to suit your needs.
State how your skills and experience match the job description and would be a benefit to the organization.
- Example: After graduating from Northeastern University with a B.S. in Computer Graphic Technology, I spent the summer interning in New York City at Sunrise Communications. During that time, I brainstormed ideas and story concepts with Sunrise’s Creative Team. I drew detailed storyboards that formed the basis for local and international TV advertisements. At Sunrise, I learned to share ideas, accept criticism and problem-solve in a high-pressured environment.
- Example: In response to this opportunity, I would like to call attention to my experience in producing and directing numerous PR events throughout Orange County as well as my large network of both celebrity and national media contacts.
- Example: Since graduating from Simmons College Prince Program of Retail Management, I’ve been involved in all aspects of retail, from front-of-the-store management and training to inventory planning, buying, and merchandising. I have worked in both specialty and mass markets and have broad-based experience dealing with customers, fellow employees, management, and vendors. I thrive in a fast-paced environment and feel energized by the thought of helping manage the L.L. Bean Women’s Department.
If you’ve talked with the hiring manager, use the first paragraph to remind her of the conversation.
- Example: Thank you for calling me about the Character Animator position posted on Pixar’s website. I enjoyed talking with you and learning more about this position.
If appropriate, don’t be afraid to name drop.
- Example: Henry Smith, who supervised my work as a summer intern with your firm, recommended that I apply for the position of Associate Attorney.
Mention something you know about the organization.
- Example: I read the June 10th issue of The Kentucky Sun with great interest. The article, “How One Restaurant Makes a Difference” applauded Pannucci’s contribution to the Good Shepherd Food Bank. I believe my experience as a pastry chef as well as my work on the Eastside Food Pantry’s Board of Directors makes me a perfect candidate for the position of Pannucci Head Pastry Chef.
- Example: Cuddledown’s branded voice is recognizable and respected; its high-quality products are well positioned in the market. I would welcome the chance to develop and execute marketing strategies to increase sales and distribution of the company’s products.
Get their attention by asking a question.
- Example: Are you looking for a self-motivated individual who has organized large-scale events and significantly improved customer retention?
2. Keep Their Attention in the Middle is the second tip to write best cover letters for getting job interviews.
As you write, keep the company’s point of view in mind. Try to anticipate what the hiring manager is looking for and include that information. If you have an employment gap or some other item on your resume that you think the hiring manager will question, succinctly and without apology, answer the issue in the middle section of your cover letter.
In the middle section of your cover letter, tell how your education and experience match the job description. Use specific examples to show how your skills meet the job requirements..
- Example: To manage this department, I would call on my experience at Jordan Marsh as the Liz Claiborne Department Manager. There, I merchandised product and motivated my sales team to generate the highest company-wide sales volume for dress collections. I am a natural sales person and definitely “have a knack” for merchandising and visual presentation.
- Example: Throughout my years as a caseworker, I have helped many clients identify and apply for jobs that match their skill sets. I believe my dedication to the people I serve and my ability to identify and match their strengths to the job market makes me the perfect candidate for Employment Specialist position at Crossroads Community Services.
If appropriate, mention specific goals you have accomplished.
- Example: While at Nordstrom’s, I motivated my team to exceed department sales goals of $1.2 million annually. The team generated the highest company-wide sales volume for the dress collection.
- Example: While providing administrative support to the Director of Marketing and Sales, I reduced company travel expenditures by $37,000 in my first three months by renegotiating contracts with the department’s suppliers.
3. End your Cover Letter with an Action Follow Up and a Respectful Close is the third tip for writing best cover letters for getting job interviews.
Your closing paragraph or sentence should encourage action.
- ·Example: As requested, I have enclosed my resume for your review. I look forward to discussing my qualifications and learning more about the position. Please contact me at 555.555.5555 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions. Thank you for your time and consideration.
End your letter with a respectful and professional close. “Sincerely yours” or “Respectfully yours” works well.
That’s it. Use this 3-part format to write best cover letters for getting job interviews. If you do, you’ll end up with a cover letter that will stand up to the competition and get you the job interviews you deserve.
Best of luck in your job search.