What Should A Cover Letter Really Cover?

Posted by John Carroll on Thursday, July 18, 2013 Under: Job Search

For some candidates, writing a cover letter can be an intimidating process. There seems to be endless ways to approach a cover letter, and countless questions to consider. Using specific guidelines can help make the process seem less daunting. That’s why we decided to break down the most important aspects of cover letters, so check out our recommendations below!

Where (or how) do you start?

Before you even begin writing the content of your cover letter, make sure to include your name, address, and contact information on the letter, as well as to whom you are addressing the letter. Simply starting with “Dear Hiring Manager” takes away from the formality of the letter. Once you do begin writing, try to grab the attention of the reader right away, by starting with your skills or discussing what value you can bring to the company. For example, a statement like, “As a trained professional with over 10 years of experience, I am confident I bring the skills necessary for this position,” is more personal and effective than a general statement like, “Please consider my application for this role.”

How long should it be?

What’s important about a cover letter is not so much the length of it, but rather how concisely and clearly it is written. If you can express your qualifications clearly in half a page, then that works great. Generally cover letters should not exceed a page, and a half a page to three-fourths of a page is a good length to shoot for. However, make sure what you are including is absolutely necessary, and don’t get caught up in flowery or descriptive language—following that rule should keep your cover letter short and clear.

How should you sell your skills?

Using the words “I think” or “I might” or any other words that suggest hesitation is something to avoid. You want to convince these hiring managers that you are their next dream employee, so use strong words like “I would” and “I am confident that”. Also, always try to include ‘buzzwords’ from the original job advertisement when listing your experience, to not only show that you are qualified, but to also show that you understand what the job entails and have read the description thoroughly.

How do you leave it?

When wrapping up your cover letter, make sure to reiterate your interest in both the specific job and the company itself. Why do you want to work for this company above all other companies? Also, never forget to include a way to reach you in case a hiring manager has further questions. Always thank the company for their time and consideration, and make sure to end with a professional sign-off. “Best Regards” and “Thank You” are great options, whereas “Yours Truly” or “Sincerely Yours” tend to be less professional. Remember, you’re writing this to be seen by a potential employer, not your friends or family.

Have more questions or concerns about cover letters? Send an email to Rachel Cerrone, our Recruiting Coordinator, at rcerrone@watsondwyer.com, or comment on any of our social media pages to get your questions answered!

In : Job Search 

Tags: candidate