Writing a resume cover letter can be a daunting task for most job applicants. Consequently, it may appear like a lot of work; however, this is not the case. Cover letters complement the resume and facilitate getting an interview. As a result, cover letters have become even more critical because there is stiff competition for limited job positions and the application process has become highly automated in the current job markets.
As a job applicant, you should thus take time to craft a resume cover letter that introduces you to potential employers and creates a lasting positive impression on your value as an employee. Cover letters are not resume reiterations but tools to tie your personality, qualifications, achievements, and skills into a compelling narrative highlighting your suitability for the position. A strong cover letter offers you a competitive edge over other applicants. You should create a cover letter for each job application to align it with the job posting and the company you are applying to. What are the best practices for writing a resume cover letter?
This article will outline how to craft a solid and persuasive resume cover letter and give you a sample for reference when applying for any job position.
A cover letter is defined as a formal introduction letter of a job applicant to potential employers.
The letter highlights your personality and suitability for the job in a well-constructed narrative that emphasizes professional history, qualifications, skills, and accomplishments concerning the job description. Fundamentally, the cover letter bridges the gap between the information in the resume and the interview. It explains why you’re the best candidate for the position. However, the letter is not a substitute for the resume. It will ideally be a page long and should average 250-450 words.
A resume cover letter persuades the recruiter to read the resume and call you for an interview. It achieves this by illustrating your seriousness about the position. It also allows your resume application to stand out from other generic resumes created by templates.
Resume Cover Letter for Job Template
[Salutation] Dear [Recipient Name]
My name is [your name], applying for [job position] at [company name]. I want to bring my skills in [mention skills] to your company. I’ve managed to [mention a notable achievement]. As such, I strongly believe I’ve got the capabilities to fill the advertised position successfully.
I graduated from [university/college] with [degree]. I went on to work in [profession] for [number of years]. I can [mention relevant skills] which are essential in undertaking [mention the functions or duties of the job you’re applying for].
In [year], I managed to [mention a noteworthy experience or achievement and quantify your contribution]. I would love to convey the same expertise and more to your company. I admire your company culture as it promotes [mention values], which I strongly believe in. Your firm’s interest in [area of interest or expertise] is a strong indicator of the need to change the world of [industry, e.g., automated medical practice]. I want to be part of that movement.
Thank you for going through my application. I’ll be waiting for your correspondence. I’d be glad to do an interview and answer any questions if needed.
Resume Sample Cover Letter
22 June 20XX
555 8373 0202
Hugh & Boyle Industries
123 Halfway Park Avenue
Pretoria, CO 3789
Dear Ms. Patton,
My name is Jose Mauricio, and I’m applying for the position of Finance Manager at your Hugh & Boyle Industries, Pretoria branch. I’m an experienced finance professional with five years of experience in retail. Over the years, I’ve worked for companies with retail sales ranging from $10 million to $24 million. Considering your retail footprint, I believe I’d be an invaluable asset to your company.
I’m an accredited economist with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of London and a financial management certification from the same. You can thus bank on me having adequate training in financial management to help me perform the fundamental duties of a financial manager. I can create accurate and objective budgets, financial statements, and financial reports. As a financial manager at Leeway, I increased company profits by introducing cost-cutting solutions that saw a recovery of $500 000 in the 2020 budget.
My knowledge of QuickBooks and Oracle NetSuite can help digitize financial management for electronic payments and shipping sales. I’d greatly appreciate being part of the soon-to-be-opened Pretoria branch. Your reputation for breaking boundaries in the retail industry is admirable, and I always strive to be part of companies that break through barriers. This will also be a milestone in my career, which I intend to commit to.
Thank you for reviewing my application. If needed, I’d be open to an interview. You may contact me through any of the provided means of contact. Hope to hear from you soon.
Structure of a Basic Cover Letter for Resume
It’s important to remember that as much as your cover letter is an opportunity to sell yourself to a potential employer, it is not just a free-form form of communication. Therefore, you need to follow a few simple rules: know when and how to write one and understand how cover letters differ from resumes.
Below are guidelines on appropriately structuring a cover letter for any resume:
Your contact information
You should have your complete contact information at the top of the letter. This includes your name, phone number, email, and your current address.
All cover letters should be dated. The date should appear conspicuously below your contact information. Most people put the date in the left-hand corner, but the important thing is to make sure it’s easy to read. Also, give the month and year with no abbreviations.
Employer’s contact information
The letter should outline the potential employer’s details. This will include the recipient of the letter, designation, company name, physical address, phone number, and email address. Identifying the letter’s recipient makes it clear who you are addressing in the letter.
A salutation should always be provided in the cover letter for a resume. The salutation starts with the recipient’s proper title: Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms trailed by last name or full name.
An opening paragraph should mention the position you are applying for and highlight a notable accomplishment, skill, or experience that intrigues any employer. This section should be precise and concise and, as such, does not have to be too detailed.
The body of your resume cover letter should highlight your experience, strengths, skill set, and something that makes you stand out. It can be a skill or accomplishment relevant to this job. This is a section where you prove to be an asset to the employer.
The closing paragraph should re-emphasize what has been previously discussed in the body of the letter. In addition, it can summarize your strengths and reiterate your interest in the position. Also, it can be used to encourage the employer to reach out if they have questions or require an interview.
Information to Include
The contents of your cover letter will depend on the job opening you are applying for and the type of industry and company you’re working in. However, below are some of the most common items that can be included in a resume cover letter:
Introduce yourself and provide 2-3 of your achievements
You should start with a captivating introduction that grabs the readers’ attention and motivates them to continue reading. Recruiters will ordinarily not review every resume cover letter they receive from start to finish. So, it is typically up to you to ensure they are interested in the first few sentences of your letter. A strong introduction will be specific and give information highlighting your suitability for the position – for example, 2-3 noteworthy achievements. Recruiters are likely to dismiss resume cover letters with generic introductions.
The following examples illustrate the difference between a firm and an unconvincing introduction:
My name is Harrison. I’m applying for the accountant position at your firm. I’ve ten years of experience in the field and am a competent employee. Therefore, I believe I’d be a good candidate for the position.
My name is Harrison, a CFA applying for the accountant position at ABC Company. I’m conversant with QuickBooks and Xero and have previously employed them in developing cost-cutting solutions in my former jobs. At Bit fame Microfinance, I saved the company annual losses amounting to $120 000 in inventories in 2 years. This fostered an 8% increase in annual profits. These are some of the skills I would like to bring to your company. I firmly believe I’m the right person for the job.
Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for this job
It would be best to illustrate your suitability for the profession you are applying for. This will require you to outline any knowledge, skills, or experience you possess that are useful in performing the functions or duties of the respective job. Also, it is crucial to list the keywords (or criteria) the employer used in describing the job opening.
Therefore, you will be required to review the job posting carefully and research the employer to understand what the specific employer prioritizes. This way, you can tailor your resume cover letter to the employer’s expectations and requirements. Specificity and objectivity are vital in creating a persuasive case.
- Conversant with basic accounting procedures and principles
- Experienced in creating financial statements
- Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree in accounting
- Conversant with accounting software (at least two)
I’m a graduate of UBC with a degree in accounting. I’ve been an accountant for five years. My certifications are CPA and CMA. I’m efficient in preparing financial statements and budgeting. I can allocate and manage company funds using my expertise in accounting. My experience in QuickBooks can be beneficial to your company.
I have a degree in Accounting from NYU (The University of New York). I have eight years of experience in budget planning and financial management. My finance and accounting expertise has enabled me to create accurate budgets, monitor progress, and predict and prevent potential financial risks in my previous employment.
In 2013, I attained my advanced CPA and CMA certification, which has enabled me to take up more responsibilities in my roles. Since entering the field, I have mentored junior members and have developed a reputation for knowing the basics of accounting and applicable laws and regulations. This is evidenced by my being awarded the most reliable employee of the year award for ensuring Meta Hub Company completes its projects without exceeding its budgetary limits.
I’m conversant with NetSuite ERP and QuickBooks software, which have been vital in my professional services. Introducing these tools at Meta Hub Company enabled me to reduce the budget preparation period from 4 weeks to 2 weeks. This resulted in eliminating delays in the disbursement of funds for company projects.
Explain how you can be a good fit for the company
This paragraph should answer the question, ‘why are you well suited for this role?’ It is an opportunity to create a connection with the person who will be doing the hiring and the company. So, it’s important to make that connection as strong as possible. Your personality can also be reflected in this part of your resume cover letter.
Recruiters often feel more comfortable learning about candidates on an individual level than on an impersonal level. Recruiters want to establish if you’re an excellent fit to minimize resignations once employees are hired.
To improve this section, you should learn the business model, company products/services, company culture, core values, mission, and vision. Also, show enthusiasm to work for the company. Avoid generic explanations. For example:
I want to work for your firm because I’m passionate about IT. My passion for technology makes me an excellent fit for your company.
I’ve admired HSPB Technologies for as long as I can remember. I’ve been a customer of your products, especially the 2018 Office Station Monitor X. As a passionate, creative designer, I believe my input would be invaluable to your company. In addition, I’m a firm believer in integrity, environmental sustainability, and innovation. It would be a pleasure to be part of your great team.
Give a call to action
This section of your resume cover letter should summarizes your interest in the position and how you can be reached for further discussions. You should also thank the recruiter/hiring manager for their time. Courtesy is a positive gesture in the professional world. This is also where you ask for a meeting with the hiring manager. However, avoid sounding too needy. After the CTA, include a formal closing. For example:
I look forward to receiving a call from you. As the letter shows, I am qualified for the position.
Thank you for reviewing my application. I’m available for an interview on Tuesdays or Thursdays. I hope to hear from you soon so we can explore ways to work together.
Effective Practices for Writing an Exceptional Cover Letter
It is easy to write a cover letter, but often the challenge is to write an excellent resume cover letter that sells you and makes your job hunt more seamless. There are particular points to bear in mind when creating a resume cover letter for any resume discussed as follows:
Address the employer by name
Avoid generic salutations like “To Whom I May Concern.” Instead, take your time to find out the name of the recruiter/recipient and use it. This shows you’ve done your research and personalizes your cover letter.
Apply the same style as the resume
The style of the resume cover letter should be consistent with your resume. They don’t have to be strictly identical but should be somewhat similar. This is in terms of layout and design.
Use consistent colors
You should use a consistent color in your cover letter and resume. Mixing up colors seems unprofessional and may lead to your application being dismissed.
Pay close attention to formatting
Your cover letter and resume are formal documents and should be formatted. For example, if you use font size 12 points, use the same on the other. Avoid using colors, too much text, and fancy fonts. Instead, use bold to emphasize only the most critical sections of your cover letter.
Provide anecdotes and evidence
Opt to incorporate real-life examples that support claims made in your resume cover letter. Show as opposed to the listing. Providing evidence of your skills and experience is more persuading than simply listing.
Do your research
The main intention of your cover letter is to get the recruiter’s attention. Therefore, you should do your best to make them remember you. Therefore, learn more about the company, for example, their values, mission, and goals, and align your letter according to these aspects.
Match your skills/qualifications to the job description
The resume cover letter is a great place to highlight your greatest strengths and show how you can be an asset to the company. However, don’t go overboard and try to list every aspect of your professional background and experience. Only focus on a few skills and qualifications relevant to the job posting.
Include relevant keywords
Carefully review the job posting or ad and incorporate the keywords used by the recruiter in your resume cover letter. This helps you beat the applicant tracking system (ATS) and thus improves your odds of getting an interview.
Type your cover letter
Type your resume cover letter. Since the letter is a formal document, recruiters will expect a typed document as it is legible and easy to scan and file. Handwritten letters will often be overlooked.
Edit and proofread
The resume cover letter should be error-free. Avoid spelling mistakes, use correct grammar, ensure all the paragraphs are written coherently and avoid repetition of information. Typos will show a careless attitude and thus, send the wrong message to the employer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes cover letter examples suitable for you?
These samples of resume cover letters assist the job seekers in getting a head start on writing their own and give them great ideas on how to write an excellent resume cover letter. They are thus excellent guides for a better understanding how to structure and format resume cover letters.
Are cover letters vital?
Even though resume cover letters will often be optional, crafting one can be very helpful for any job seeker who wishes to stand out from hundreds of applicants. The resume cover letters are thus necessary. Moreover, recruiters can sometimes ask for the letter, thus making it mandatory in those cases.
Should you write a different resume cover letter for each job application?
Writing a different resume cover letter for each application is one of the most critical pieces of job search advice that any job seeker should apply. This is because recruiters will typically require specific details for each job application. Therefore, tailoring the letter to each application dramatically influences the letter’s effectiveness, which boosts your chances of getting the job.
What should not be incorporated in a cover letter?
You should avoid restating your resume. Do not list skills but rather elaborate on how you’ve previously utilized those skills in your line of work. Avoid including your weaknesses and information not related to the position. Also, do not include negative comments regarding your previous employers and colleagues. Lastly, do not include wrong information such as wrong company name or misrepresented information such as exaggerated figures.
Should you address employment gaps in a cover letter?
Yes. This is because your cover letter is more flexible regarding what you can include than your resume. You can use this opportunity to provide adequate explanations for the gaps in your work history.