“Hello, I love you, let me jump in your game.”
This famous lyric from the Doors summarizes the essence of a cover letter related to your job search process. You’re trying to grab the attention of the hiring manager and get them read your resume and invite you to an interview. To be successful at this, you have to accomplish four objectives within the cover letter:
Let them know why you are contacting them (Introduction)
Show them that you’ve taken the time to learn about them and their organization and describe why you are attracted to them (Flattery)
Summarize your qualifications so they’ll be attracted to you (Brag)
Suggest the next steps in the process (A Call to Action)
By following this model, you are more likely to capture the attention of the reader and prompt them to at least read your resume and possibly invite you for an interview.
The first section of the cover letter is the “Introduction” and should be a paragraph describing why you have contacted them, what position you’re interested in and a statement to describe your enthusiasm for the position and summarizing your qualifications.
An example of this is:
I’m writing to express my interest in joining Acme’s Logistics Organization in the role of Logistics Manager. I’m excited about the opportunity to join such a prestigious organization as Acme and believe my skills and experience will be of benefit to you.
The next section of the cover letter is the “Flattery” paragraph. This describes in 2 to 3 sentences why you are attracted to their organization and some characteristics relevant to them. It ends with a sentence which relates the values of the organization to your personal values, thereby creating a connection between you and them.
Here is an example of this section of the cover letter:
What attracts me to Acme is your wide selection of financial services and products, and your commitment to helping people and businesses reach their full potential. You are well known as a leader in your industry and your recent award for excellence from the industry trade group is evidence of this. It’s no secret that your team has a reputation for being open and caring and these characteristics match my personal values.
Another benefit of this section is that it demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to do some research and learn about their organization. This will set you apart from many other applicants and let the reader know that this isn’t another “form” letter which most people use.
The third section of the cover letter describes your experience, skills, and talents and is meant to convince the hiring manager that you’re qualified for the position. While it may not result in an interview, it should at least prompt them to read your resume to learn more about you. This section is written using the keywords and terminology listed in the job posting so that the reader creates a connection between you with the position they are trying to fill. Here’s an example of the “Brag” paragraphs:
Here’s an example of the “Brag” paragraphs:
I believe I can bring a great deal of enthusiasm to your company and become a valued asset based on my portfolio of skills and experience with working with individuals and businesses similar to your clients. Some of my qualifications include:
- - 20+ years of advanced experience regarding Logistics, Distribution, Transportation & Supply Chain Management
- - History of streamlining transportation operations saving millions of dollars
- - Experience negotiating favorable rates of up to 30% off for services from suppliers
- - Knowledge of how to develop efficient operational standards preferred by customers
- - Ability to conduct strategic planning, resource allocation, leadership, production methods, and people/resource coordination
My background has also afforded me many intangible qualifications. Qualities such as enthusiasm, compassion and a sense of humor are just a few of these that would help me to contribute to the customer-oriented culture and strong work ethic your company is known for.
The final section of your cover letter is a “call to action” and should suggest what the hiring manager should do to move this process forward. This section is important because not only does it describe what you’d like to see happen next, but it places you on par with the hiring manager. You do this by indicating that you are evaluating their company just as they are evaluating you. Most job candidates will not take this position, so it will set apart from other applicants.
The paragraph may read something like the following:
I look forward to hearing back from you to arrange a time for a conversation so we can explore whether Acme and I are a good fit for each other.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
First & Last Name
By following these recommendations and this structure for a cover letter, you are more likely to convince the hiring manager that you are serious about working for their organization, have taken the time to do your homework and learn about them, and are qualified for the position you are applying for. Once you have written your first cover letter using this format, you can easily edit it for other positions by simply updating the information relevant to the organization you are applying to, the position you are interested in, and your experience and skills which demonstrate your qualifications.