Learn how to write an effective cover letter with three simple tips

by Gaby Gramont

effective cover letter

We know job applications are a lot of work–especially when you may be applying to multiple jobs every week! To speed up the process, it’s tempting to send out the same generic cover letter with every application. If you want to catch the attention of busy recruiters, however, an effective cover letter is a must. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, consider adopting this formula to tailor your message to each job opportunity.

Here are 3 tips for writing an effective cover letter:

Personalize your introduction

Start off by stating your name and how you found the position. If you can, avoid using “to whom it may concern” and find the recruiting manager’s name on LinkedIn. The intro is a great place to include any connections you have with the company and demonstrate that you have a stronger tie to them than the average applicant. 

Additionally, you can squeeze in details that relate to their organization. A good way to do this is to look up the company name in Google search and check under the “news” section. For example, if the company recently launched a new product, mention it and explain why that makes you want to work for them.

Sell your experience

Remember that the cover letter is the first thing most hiring managers read and ideally makes them want to know more about you. The body of your cover letter is your opportunity to really sell yourself by highlighting the skills that are most relevant to a particular position. 

Your resume already lists where you have worked and what you have done. It answers the “where” and “what” in effect. The cover letter should answer the “So what?” So you had five years of experience at a project proposal firm. How does that experience make you a good candidate for this role? What skills and projects from your resume make you the best fit for their company?

We recommend you identify three requirements from the job description and demonstrate how you satisfy them through clear examples from your experience.

Finish strong

How you close your cover letter can make a lasting impression so be sure to explain why you want to work for the company and how you will fit well with their team. The organization’s mission statement and company culture can give you good ideas for this.

For example, you could say something like “I would love to be part of a team that values diversity and different international backgrounds like [company name]. Let them know that you care about their mission and impact as much as they do. Also, be sure to thank them for their time and give them your contact info for follow up.

We hope these tips for writing effective cover letters are helpful and give you some actionable ideas for making your next ones even better. When you customize your cover letters and sell why you are a great fit for a given job and company, it really can help you rise to the top of the applicant pile. Happy job hunting and good luck!

Posted in Job Search TipsResume tips