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7 Steps to Writing Your First Cover Letter

Published August 6th, 2019 by Sarah

7 Steps to Writing Your First Cover Letter

When applying to jobs, one thing that most job seekers overlook is submitting a professional cover letter along with their application. Not only do cover letters provide more insight into your background and top skills, but they also give you an advantage compared to other industry professionals in your field. In the first article in our career prep series, we will be sharing our advice on getting your career started while highlighting important steps that occur before you’re called for an interview. Whether you are seeking advice on interview tips, starting your first job, or trending skills for job seekers you can count on us to provide you with all the essentials. We’ve outlined 7 steps to writing your first cover letter sure to impress the hiring manager! 

1. Start with an outline 

The best cover letters are ones that are organized from start to finish. Use your resume as a starting point for your outline to help you quickly summarize top skills, background, and expertise. Preparing an outline is a great way to help you divide the cover letter into smaller parts as opposed to a large-scale project. Similar to writing a great essay or preparing a project timeline, you want to identify key points and takeaways you would like the company to be aware of. Start by assigning each paragraph with a section header, this will allow you to recognize where to place your skills, education, and additional experience all in a simple format.  See the example below for a basic outline to help you get started: 

2. Add your contact information

Give the recruiter or hiring manager the opportunity to reach out to you directly by providing your name and contact information. Although you’ve submitted your resume for review, your cover letter should also include some basic information should the hiring manager seeks to contact you without trouble. Remember, resumes get you noticed and cover letters help you land the interview. 
Pro tip: We recommend providing general contact information like your name, number, email, LinkedIn profile, the job you’re applying for and company. These are the basics that are essential for making your mark! 

3. Introduce yourself

The key is to create an introduction that is both engaging and strategic. Drawing attention, in the beginning, is essential for gaining the reviewer's interest and making an effective first impression. It is of much importance to emphasize who you are and what you do. Regardless if you are an entry-level job seeker or experienced professional, proper introductions can set you up for success in the long-run. Be unique and most importantly, be you!

4. Highlight your top skills 

Whether you are utilizing target keywords from the job description or mirroring the look of your resume, highlighting your top skills will help you stand out from other candidates. This is best applied in the beginning and conclusion of your cover letter. 
Pro tip: Start by discussing your experience and education in the introduction and then utilize keywords within the job description to highlight your top skills. Provide a brief overview of how you’ve applied these skills to your current or past jobs. 

5. Summarize your work experience 

Chances are your work experience speaks for itself. However, it’s important to include only relevant experience that can be associated with the job. For example, let’s say experience in project management is required. You would start with the jobs where you’ve utilized this skill to help build a brand or organize a project from start to finish. 
Pro tip: Be honest. It’s better, to be honest upfront about your skills since you will be expected to perform well if selected for the role. We also encourage you to use real examples in your cover letter, you can always explain in more detail if you are selected for the interview process. 

6. Explain why you’re a good fit

Think of your cover letter as a sales pitch, assuming that you’ve incorporated a resume, now it’s up to you to provide a brief summary of who you are, your expertise, and why you would consider yourself a good fit for the role. Be realistic as to what you will bring to the company, do you have a passion for business development or experience in recruiting? Give a few reasons why you are a good fit while providing unique qualities that make you a highly desirable candidate for the role.  

7. Provide a conclusion

This section can be anywhere from a few sentences to a short paragraph. Here you want to provide a closing statement that emphasizes your skills, work experience, and any additional information you want the hiring manager to know. Typically the conclusion to any cover letter is a brief overview of the major discussion points from the letter overall. In the next article in this series, we will share a few examples of professional cover letters and personal statements. For now, feel free to use these steps to prepare a general cover letter, and we'll provide a follow-up article with our recommendations for taking it to the next level!

Stay tuned to Comrise News for the next article in the career preparation series including cover letter examples, resume writing tips, video cover letters and more! 
Job seekers, are you seeking your next employment opportunity? View current job postings here
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