How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

cover letter

Part of the process for landing your dream job is writing an effective resume and a cover letter. Are you thinking about making a career change in the new year? Do you want to find happiness at work — and to stretch your skills to a new level? Are you feeling overwhelmed with all that is required in the job search process?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you are feeling something very normal and equalizing to job seekers throughout the world. Looking for the right fit for you in the workplace can feel like a full-time job — and sometimes it truly is. But with the right plan and pacing — and the expert tips in this guide — you’ll be on your way to finding the next perfect job for you.

This guide will give you sample letters and examples for specifically writing a cover letter to include in your job application. When you write a stellar cover letter, you give your future employer the opportunity to get a first glimpse at you and your experience. You get to set the tone for how others will perceive you — so the power is all is literally at your fingertips.

Are you ready to get started with writing an effective cover letter for the job you want — from an internship to an assistant position to a teacher to an engineer? Follow the templates in this free guide to get the best template and format for your letter now.

Try These Cover Letter Examples

The key to a good cover letter is in practicing the format by following effective examples. You want to make sure you introduce yourself in a unique and memorable way — and one of my favorite ways to do this is by telling a story about yourself.

Because hiring managers read so many cover letters at a time, looking for the perfect candidates to come in for an interview, they get bored with the same routine cover letters covering the same old points.

You can enliven your cover letter by including a telling anecdote about your experience working as an administrative assistant or receptionist, a teacher, a nursing or medical professional, a customer service representative or as an email manager at an IT company, for example, that demonstrates how you have effectively helped your company and its clients.

The key in this first step is to avoid being general and to tell a specific story that will make the hiring manager remember your story and set your job application apart.

To practice writing the top of your cover letter, try a lead-in such as these:

Cover Letter Sample: Keep it Simple and Format it Correctly

  • I want to tell you a story about Emily. I met her when I first began working as a teacher — and she was behind grade reading level.
  • There are some moments in a nurse’s life that stick with her forever. I had one of those experiences recently as a hospice nurse.
  • There are some simple joys in life that change your life for the good and remind you of why you work in the engineering industry. I want to tell you about that experience for me.
  • Sometimes you are reminded that your job is not just a job. It’s a life-changing opportunity you have to make a great difference in the world. I want to tell you what I like so much about my job — and why I continue to strive in my industry.
  • As a pastor for 25 years, I’ve learned that every word counts — from the pulpit to the everyday interaction with people in the grocery store.
  • We all can have jobs in this life. But it’s when you realize you were meant for something in life that a job becomes a passion and a mission. I’ve experience that in my 10 years as a receptionist.

No matter whether you are hoping to be a graphic designer, an entry-level builder, a nurse a sales representative, an online teaching assistant or tutor, a designer or an engineer, you can create a basic cover letter that puts you in the best position for getting your dream job. I have learned that the experience you include in your cover letter and the simple design you use can really set you apart. Whatever you do, make sure your cover letter is not generic but is tailored specifically to the job you want.

Here’s a sample of a new cover letter that you can easily make your own simply by copying and pasting it or starting to download it for your job applications today. Take a look:

[Date]

[Insert Your Employer’s Address]

Ms. Sarah West

Customer Service Manager

Microsoft

Sometown, NY 98706

Re: Name of Job Posting

 

To Whom It May Concern: [Note: If you know the name of the specific hiring manager, you could write “Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name.”

Teachers have made a critical difference in my life and have shown me the way — and today I want to tell you how I strive to return that favor via my 10 years of experienced employment in the New York City School District where I work as an elementary science teacher.

For years, I have worked with students who, by my school district’s definition, are failing to thrive. I’ve worked at formatting and creating a classroom that is exciting and makes children want to learn and develop purpose — moving from preschool where I worked first as several assistants with children with special needs to my current position today.

I believe that we all can do our part to enact change in children and to create a classroom that makes excellent in learning and loving science impressive requirements in life. I believe this because I wasn’t always the type of student who loved school — that was until I went to a special Montessori center in my hometown.

When I received a summer scholarship and found a teacher who took the time to spend extra time with me, I began to thrive. She would call my parents when I was falling behind in my academic routine because she saw I was in need. She would always send home items that included handwritten notes updating my parents on my progress with attached work and homework sheets for them to complete with me.

Today, I do the same but the formats have changed. I send updates via email with PDF, printable progress reports and downloads for a selection extra homework. I create a network among my parents so there is never a substitute for learning. I make sure they know I am one of the biggest marketing professionals for their child and I stand for them no matter what through the services I provide.

So when it came time for me to choose a career — I chose teaching. And from my internships to my first job, I’ve pursued teaching with a passion. Whether I’m in the office or the classroom, I want to be the best teacher I can be. As the first graduate in my family to pursue teaching, I am committed to it for the long term in my career. I always say that there’s not ever a perfect teacher, but I can be the “My teacher” to some child who is energized to go the distance — and that’s what I believe I can add to your staff as a [insert job title here]…

Continue on in this letter by highlighting your high school, college, graduate, business or other relegate education experience; how your skills uniquely fit the job to which you are applying; relevant software or speciality training you have and a short, simple closing that includes how the hiring manager can contact you through calling, emailing or faxing you.

Note that your CV is not the proper document to discuss your salary. Leave that for toward the end of the interview process when a hiring manager is getting ready to offer you a job or when you find out that you are one of the finalists for the new position at the company or business. That’s the proper time to discuss finance and whats ahead for the future. It’s also effective because it keeps the conversation focusing on the job and what you can bring to the table.

Finally, don’t forget about sending a follow up email after your cover letter has been received. This is a nice gesture that solidifies your interest in the job without sounding pushing and as if you’re a person who goes over the top.

Cover Letter Example For Customer Service Position

[Date]

[Insert Your Employer’s Address]

Mr. Bob Smith

Customer Service Manager

Verizon

Sometown, NY 98900

Re: Name of Job Posting

To Whom It May Concern: [Note: If you know the name of the specific hiring manager, you could write “Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name.”

For the past 10 years, I have worked as a customer service manager like yourself at a telecommunications company in Los Angeles. Through that experience, I’ve learned what it takes to lead a team of 20 customer service agents, to mitigate problems and troubleshoot customer issues — and ultimately to keep the company I work for in the best light possible.

These are the same skills I’m hoping to bring to your open position of Customer Service Manager.

[Continue on in this letter with your relevant experience and skills throughout the trajectory of your career — noting the specific skills and requirements listed in the job description. Remember, an employer wants to know you have read the job description and care enough to curate a tailored cover letter. This communicates your interest in the job more than anything possibly could.]

I look forward to learning more about opportunities to work with your company as a Customer Service Manager. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Number and/or Email] with any questions you may have.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Summing it Up: What is a Cover Letter?

At the end of the day, think of a cover letter as your gateway to introduce yourself to a potential employer. You get to decide what you want to say to market yourself to the hiring manager — and put all your best skills in the spotlight. Because hiring managers get so many CVs, it’s important to make yours stand out as much as you can. Tell a story that is memorable and use that story as a platform for discussing the specific skills you have that match the job description being advertised.

A Great Team: The Resume and Cover Letter

It’s also important to remember that the resume and cover letter go hand in hand. Just like you tweak the cover letter to follow the requirements of the job description, your resume should do the same. Not only does this show your thoughtfulness for the job — but it helps you get through computerized vetting systems that companies frequently use to identify candidates and match them to open jobs.

In conclusion, if you’re ready to start the new year with a brand new job — then look no further than your cover letter. Your cover letter is one of the first impressions you can make with your potential future manager. That’s what makes it so important. Every cover letter needs an authentic story that communicates your personal story and provides the hiring manager with a great impression of you.

Remember that your cover letters should complement your resumes. Read the job description carefully — whether it is for engineers, the law industry, a job fair representative, a federal worker, a cartoon maker, a front desk attendant, human resources representatives, a process or quality manager, a manufacturing project supervisor, a writer or a daycare owner — and tweak your cover letter and resume to fit the specific skills listed in the job description.

Not only does following these tips show your employer that you are well-versed in job application templates but that you cared enough to read the job description and prepare for applying for the job. Remember to include your contact information, such as fax, email and phone number so your employer knows how to contact you — and then sit back and wait for that call!

Author: Jon Stahl

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