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How to Write a Cover Letter 101

The thought of writing a cover letter may make you groan, sigh, and wonder if it’s even necessary. Or maybe you’re one of those people who get excited about the chance. Wherever you land, the truth remains: they are an important part of the application process.

For hiring managers, cover letters are a first look into who you are. The resume can tell them what you can do, but the cover letter shows them your personality. It also helps them learn about how well you communicate.

Knowing this, writing a compelling cover letter is paramount. If you’re unsure of how to get started, follow this format.


1. Determine how you’re sending your cover letter

There are three basic options for this: physical copy in the mail, PDF copy with the application, or direct email. The first two require specifically formatted documents, while the latter is a simpler style. Keep reading.


2. Start with who you are, when it is, and who they are

For those sending a letter or attaching a PDF, this step is for you. The traditional format involves you listing your name, contact information, and address. The date of your letter goes in the middle of this contact sandwich as you follow it up with who the letter is going to and their address.


3. Format your introduction

Always start with a note of greeting, like ‘Hello…’ or ‘Dear…’ then use the first paragraph to explain what you’re applying for and why you’re excited about the opportunity. You don’t need to go into too much detail yet as you’ll have more time to explain.

Remember: you want your introduction to grab their attention and keep them reading.


4. Write the body

The following paragraphs should focus on your background, tailored to show how you’re right for the position, and then another reason why you are specifically qualified to do the job. Be authentic in your approach and convince the hiring manager why you are a good candidate.


5. End the letter strong

Your conclusion should be brief and reiterate why you’re applying and why you’re the right person. Next, let them know you’re excited to hear from them about what happens next. Finally, end the letter with something like ‘Sincerely,’ and close it with your signature.


6. Proofread, obviously

Even if you’re excited about your letter at this point and can’t wait to send it off, take a moment to proofread it slowly. You could’ve written the best letter in the world, but a typo in the first paragraph may keep your brilliance from being read.


Take the pain out of your job search

Waiting to hear back after sending your cover letter is agony, but Sterling Personnel is here to help. We know it can be downright stressful through the process, which is why we designed our hiring to be streamlined and convenient. See for yourself and apply today!