Tips for Writing a First-Rate Cover Letter

Writing an effective cover letter is often what will get you an interview at the company you choose to apply to. While your resume may be your calling card, your cover letter is what potential employers will use to evaluate your interest and enthusiasm for the job in question. Anybody can apply for a job, and many applicants will be qualified for it. However, what often leads to an offer is showing what sets you apart from other applicants in your cover letter. Your cover letter is the place for you to highlight your background, experience, and skillsets as they relate to the position in question. It should be customized to each job you apply to, and it should show a bit of your personality in a professional, relatable way. Here are some tips for writing effective cover letters.

A Compelling Introduction

The introductory paragraph in your cover letter is perhaps the most important part because it states your purpose and why you think you’re a great fit for the position. Use this opportunity to introduce yourself in a professional yet personable way and to show the research you’ve done on the company and the position itself. The direct address and the first sentence are the places to list anybody who might have referred you to the position; it always helps to have a name. If you don’t have a contact at the company, check LinkedIn for a list of employees, and address it to a Human Resources Manager or Recruiter at the company.  

The introductory paragraph should always list the position you’re applying for and where you found out about the job listing. Also, and perhaps most importantly, your first paragraph should directly communicate why you think you would be a great fit for the position in a succinct but detailed sentence. This statement should highlight what skills you think you could bring to the position and why it should matter to the person reading the letter. Basically, it states what you have to offer as a potential employee.

Second Paragraph

Your second paragraph should detail what experience you have that is directly relevant to the position. Use this part of the letter to describe your responsibilities at previous internships or jobs as they apply to the position you’re applying for. For example: If you’re applying for an entry-level job in marketing, you might want to describe what you accomplished in a relevant internship such as writing communications materials to be published. List these responsibilities using keywords that can be easily identified and that show you have a comprehensive understanding of the position and the company – use some of the wording in the job description when describing your skills, but don’t copy it.

Third Paragraph

The third paragraph of your resume is a good place to describe your education and any projects you might have participated in that you think are applicable to the position you’re applying for. This part of your cover letter is also a great place to discuss the skills you feel you’ve gained from your educational experiences and how they might apply to the position.

In a separate paragraph, add any links to a portfolio or samples, leave your contact information, and thank the reviewer for their consideration. Whether you decide to add your cover letter in the body of an email or send it as an attachment, you’ve got a good idea of what makes a strong cover letter.

Final Thoughts

A well-written cover letter that is free of spelling and grammatical errors is essential to your job search. It helps you express a little of your personality, and it goes a long way in helping you to secure your job of choice. Try these suggestions listed above for a better chance of success in reaching out to potential employers for that dream job. Stay tuned to Lionbridge onDemand’s blog for more career insights!

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