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Writing a Successful Cover Letter

By: Lindsay McKay

Published On: March 14, 2022

Writing a Successful Cover Letter

Looking online you may think there is a big debate about whether cover letters are still important or whether they are a thing of the past. I am here to tell you there are still extremely important and many hiring managers will toss your application if it does not include a personalized cover letter. Job applications can include a resume, cover letter, salary expectations, credentials, and whatever else the posting has asked for. It is key to carefully read the entire posting as it could ask for something specific to weed out people batch applying to jobs. For example, somewhere in the post it may say to include a specific phrase in the cover letter that has nothing to do with the job – paying attention to details is essential in many roles and you want to pass the first hurdle.   

Purpose of a Cover Letter 

First, what is the purpose of a cover letter? The cover letter is your time to make a positive first impression on the hiring manager, it gives you the space to expand on your capabilities, skills, and accomplishments. As well as why you would be a good fit for the role and how you would be an asset to the company. Each cover letter should be personalized as you will be researching the company to learn about their values, company culture, and how they present themselves online. Key details to include in your cover letter include: 

  • Personalized greeting – do a little research to see who the hiring manager is 
  • How your school or work experience meets the job’s requirements 
  • Why you want to work at the company – show you enthusiasm and passion 
  • Concrete examples of your skills or accomplishments – expanding on a skill mentioned in your resume 
  • End with a thank, call to action, and contact details 

It is important to note that this is a letter and should be formatted as such which means it will include: 

  1. Your name and contact information 
  2. Full date 
  3. Recipient’s name and address (company name, address, and hiring manager) 
  4. Introduction, body, concluding 
  5. Appropriate salutation and signature 

Tips When Writing a Cover Letter 

While there are many templates and cover letter builders, it is extremely beneficial if you develop the skills to write your own customized cover letter. It takes time, effort, and research to write one and that should be something done by you not an algorithm.  

  1. Be Concise: The cover letter should not exceed one page. Paragraphs should be short and to the point, you can use bullet points when listing examples. 
  2. Find a direct hiring manager: As mentioned above, it is important that you attempt to find the hiring manager for the role you are applying for. If you cannot find any information on who will be doing the hiring, including the name of who will be supervising the role is the next best option, you will not be docked points for putting the wrong person – to an extent of course.  
  3. Make it unique and tailored: Take time to read the job description and review information about the company, use key words and provide exact examples of demonstrating skills they are specifically looking for. 
  4. What is in it for them? Demonstrate how your skills are beneficial to the company, what can you bring them that is unique to your experience or what are they missing that you can bring? 
  5. Show your personality and enthusiasm: Let your personality shine through, you can stay professional while also letting the hiring manager learn about you and why you are in the field you are in. Do you have a personal story or moment that made you join the industry the posting is part of? Tell them! In a concise manner of course.  
  6. Choose an appropriate voice and tone: Doing the research, looking at the company's website, social media accounts, and any press they have, will give you insight into the voice of the company. Try to match that voice and tone while also writing like yourself. Match the tone of industry, how you would write for an education assistant role would be very different from a digital marketing position.  
  7. Pay attention to instructions: Some companies will include random phrases or job-specific questions to answer in your cover letter, if you miss these instructions, it is guaranteed your resume will not be reviewed.  

The more cover letters you write, the better you will become at writing them. While you want an error free cover letter do not stress out if you notice errors after you sent it. If the content is high quality and what they are looking for, they may overlook a silly error. You can do this! 

If you are a current student or past student of Ashton College, you can get your cover letter looked over by the Student Success Coordinator, it is always beneficial to get your resume looked over by multiple people.   

 

Disclaimer

The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog

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