A cover letter is a valuable part of the process of searching for a job. It complements your resume, allowing you to expand on your qualifications and explain why you are interested in a certain position. This can help you stand out from the other applicants, and even increases your chances of getting farther in the interview process. In fact, over 50% of employers said they prefer candidates that submitted a cover letter. In this article, we’ll share some cover letter tips that will help teach you how to write a cover letter that will get you noticed.
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
First, it’s important to talk about how long a cover letter should be. Generally, cover letters should only be 3 to 4 paragraphs long. Additionally, they should fit onto one page. Cover letters are intended to expand upon your resume and talk about why you are a good fit for this specific position, but if you write multiple pages, it’s likely that the hiring manager will simply stop reading and move on from your application.
What To Include in a Cover Letter
Now, let’s focus on what to include in your cover letter and the basic structure it should follow.
- Contact Information – You should start a cover letter with your contact information, like your name, your email address, your phone number, and your physical address. You should also include the date.
- Greeting – Next, you should greet the hiring professional reading your letter—E.g. “Dear Hiring Manager.” Try to find their name and title so you can personalize your greeting, but it’s okay if you can’t. You should also include the company’s name and address.
Next, we’ll get into the main 3 to 4 paragraphs that make up the bulk of your cover letter.
- First Paragraph – In the first paragraph, you want to grab the reader’s attention. Explain who you are and why you are writing. You should also include what is so intriguing about this particular position and the company overall.
- Second/Third Paragraphs – In the next paragraph(s), explain how your past experiences—work, education, etc.—have prepared you for this specific position. Focus on your qualifications and how they’ve grown, while also describing how they factor into this particular role. Be sure to support any claims you make with detailed proof from your past experiences.
- Final Paragraph – In the final paragraph, make any concluding points you would like to leave the hiring professional with. Let them know that you are interested in discussing the position further, and offer to provide them with any additional information they need. Be sure to add your contact information again in case they need to get in touch. Finally, thank them for their time and consideration.
Other Cover Letter Tips
- Customize your cover letter for each specific position you apply for. Sending a generic cover letter most likely won’t help you at all.
- Be succinct and don’t get too flowery with your language. You are trying to quickly highlight your experiences, the skills you have, and how they qualify you for the role. Hiring managers go through hundreds of applications, so taking up a lot of their time may be detrimental to your chances.
- Don’t try to be too funny. It usually doesn’t come across well in text that a stranger is reading. Keep it professional and straightforward.
At Thompson-Markward Hall (TMH), we’re a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote the academic and professional success of young women. TMH is in the heart of DC and offers safe, affordable, and convenient housing for women who are working, attending school, or interning in our nation’s capital. Visit our website to learn more about our accommodations or fill out an application today so you can start enjoying all of the benefits of co-living in DC!