Considering employment, a cover letter is a letter that is submitted to a prospective employer and generally accompanies other application materials, such as your resume.
A cover letter is important for numerous reasons. Here are a few of those reasons:
- Opportunity to tell the employer that you are seeking to be considered for a certain position.
- Explain to the employer how and why you are the best fit for the position.
- Add focus to your resume.
- Show initiative on your behalf.
- Help you stand out by helping you look more dedicated, professional, respectful, and conscientious in comparison to other applicants who don’t have one attached.
Tips for writing a cover letter:
- State the position for which you are applying.
- Explain why you are the best match for the job.
- Instead of just repeating your resume, use your cover letter to emphasize your strengths, education, and experiences that are most relative to the position for which you’re applying.
- Tailor each cover letter to each specific position for which you’re applying.
- Professionally introduce yourself.
- Instead of writing about what the company can do for you, write about what you can do for the company. Remember, this is your opportunity to sell yourself, so tell them about how you can serve them.
- Avoid focusing too much on your education, because while it’s important, employers generally care about experience. Experience can include volunteering and internships, too.
- If you have a good grade point average (GPA) but not much experience, you can use your GPA to display your ability to maintain consistency in performance overtime and your ability to learn.
- If possible, use numbers to showcase your experiences, skills, and/or achieved results.
- Write in the potential employers “voice.” If you’re applying for a government job, you may want to write more formally than if you were applying for a new, modern technology firm that may be more relaxed.
- Use a few examples of past successes from your education, experience, skills, etc. that are relative to the position for which you’re applying.
- Some companies scan for keywords in your cover letter that are relative to the position. Think of related words, and incorporate them into your cover letter. For example, if you’re going for a position that requires project planning, you may want to include words like “project,” “managed,” “organized,” “organization,” and give concise examples using these keywords.
- Use correct formatting:
- 12 point font.
- Times New Roman.
- Generally, kept to one page (maybe more if you have a lot of directly related experience).
- List your name and contact information in business format at the top.
- Address it to the hiring manager.
- Have someone, or several people, proofread it for you. You may want to show them the job description, so they can make sure your letter is tailored to the job.
- End by stating your enthusiasm for the job, gratitude for the company’s consideration, and that you look forward to hearing from him/her in the near future in regards to the position.
Here is an example format for a cover letter that you can tailor to your needs:
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
I am interested in the executive assistant position at *insert company’s name*, as advertised on your company’s website careers page. I am currently employed as an administrative assistant for *insert your current company’s name.* I believe that the experience and skills I have acquired at this position make me an ideal candidate to fill the position of executive assistant.
As an administrative assistant, I have developed strong writing and editing skills, as well as strong verbal communicative skills. For example, one of my main duties is to prepare presentations for my manager to present to our company’s upper-level management, which pertain to new programs to implement to improve our company’s efficiency and increase company profit. One of my other main duties is answering the phone and successfully solving issues for customers.
I have also gained extensive experience in human resources, a field that you state the executive assistant must be familiar with. My experience at *insert your current company’s name* has afforded me the opportunity to become familiar with the basics and foundations of HR, including hiring new employees and certain functions of PeopleSoft and HelpDesk. I am always eager to learn more about HR, as I currently read up on these topics on my own time to become more knowledgeable. I would love to bring this passion for HR to *insert company’s name*.
I am confident that my experience as an administrative assistant in human resources and my verbal and written communication skills qualify me for consideration. If you would like, I can provide you with current samples of my work. I have also enclosed my resume. I look forward to meeting with you and discussing my qualifications in more detail.
Signature (Physically sign the hard copy of the letter. If online, print the letter, sign it, scan it, and then upload the signed copy.)
What our friends are saying:
Katarzyna S. says, “For me, cover letter is a chance to sell your uniqueness. I usually list things I am proud of which serves me as a confidence boost.”
Nikki W. says, “The cover letter introduces your resume. It even tells HR or management why they should even read your resume.”
Jesse M. says, “Cover letter – presentation.”
Lauren S. says, “Imagine yourself literally in a stack of papers. Sometimes, it’s a HUGE stack. Be efficient with your words, but also find a way to set yourself apart from those other papers.”
Do your own research! No Longer Silenced Movement encourages you to do your own research about topics of your interest in order to formulate your own educated opinion.