Cover letters are tricky. They can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Some people are very familiar with writing cover letters, but more often than not people seem to have trouble writing them. In the following post I will do my best to give some basic background, information, and advice about writing cover letters.
Why make a cover letter?
A cover letter is a great place to expand on your resume, talk about some of the stuff you didn’t include on your resume, and display your writing skills. When employers read a cover letter they like it to be interesting, original, informational, and concise. A well-written cover letter can make a huge difference when applying for a position. I’ve heard about scenarios where companies have opened up a position to hire someone because they had such a great cover letter. Whether an application asks for a cover letter or not, it is always a good idea to include one with your resume. A cover letter is the extra effort that could tip the scales in your favor.
What to include in a cover letter?
There are many ways to write a cover letter, but the most common cover letter format typically includes an introduction paragraph, one to two body paragraphs, and a closing paragraph. This is the format that I will be focusing on for the remainder of this post and my next post.
In my opinion, the introduction paragraph is the hardest part about the entire cover letter. In the introduction paragraph you want to tell them what you want, how you heard about the position, and why the position is especially exciting for you. Telling them what you want and how you heard about the position is easy enough. Telling them why the position especially interests you can be a struggle. You want to make it personal and tell them why you want to work there, but you don’t want to talk about how the position will only benefit you. For example, saying, “I would like to apply to the gardener position because I come from a long line of gardeners and I have always had a passion for taking care of plants” is a reasonable answer. On the other hand, saying, “I would like to apply for the gardener position because it is close to my house and pays very well” is not an acceptable statement in a cover letter. You may want to talk about how you’ve used the product they sell before and you have been impressed with it, or how you really want to apply yourself to the work they do. There are many ways to approach this paragraph, but when you are a recent graduate who just wants any entry-level position it can be challenging.
Hopefully this post has given you a good introduction to the basics of cover letters. Keep checking in to see my next posts about the body paragraph and closing paragraph and good luck in your job search!
Of Possible Interest: