Cover letters are a great way to stand out. They show you've done your research, care about the company, and have taken the time to really think about your career before applying for a job.
Cover letters can also be a real pain to write. They can take up the time you would rather spend networking, attending events, and doing other things that can boost your chances of landing that next job.
That's why we'd like to offer a structure for your cover letter. There's nothing harder than staring at a blank white screen and putting words on a page. It's a lot easier when you already have words on the page and you can fill in the blanks.
With that said, here's the ultimate cover letter template that will help you craft an excellent cover letter and reduce the amount of time you spend creating them.
The first thing to do is address your cover letter to a specific person. It shows you're willing to do your research, and will immediately make a positive first impression (since most of the cover letters will have a generic salutation).
If the job posting does not include a name, look up the company's hiring manager on LinkedIn or the company website. Search for the person in charge of the department that you're applying to. If you can't find a name online, you can even pick up the phone and call the company to see who you should address your cover letter to.
Your Cover Letter Opening Paragraph
Your opening paragraph is your chance to let the hiring manager know why you think the job opportunity and organization are special. Here's a template you can follow with fill-in the blanks:
I am excited to apply for the [job title] position. [Company name] is [reason why they're special] because [how they've become special]. Your commitment to [reason why they're special] is something that I've always strived for in my career. I'd love to bring my [your unique value], along with my relevant skills and experience to [company name]
I am excited to apply for the Marketing Coordinator position. JobsInVT.com is the number one employment resource in Vermont because it connects local job seekers with local employers. Your commitment to connecting people to opportunity is something that I've always strived for in my career. I'd love to bring my passion for making meaningful connections, along with my relevant marketing skills and experience to JobsInVT.com.
Your next couple of paragraphs should focus on your experience, the skills you've acquired, and how you'd apply your skills and insight to the position.
Here's another fill in the blank cover letter template for you to follow:
For [time period], I worked for [job title] for [company name]. As [job title], I was responsible for [Task 1, Accomplishment 1, Project 1]. As your [job title], I'd apply this knowledge to ensure [main job task] while [company benefit from job 1] and [company benefit from job 2].
For the past five years, I've worked as a digital marketing associate for Markitors. As a digital marketing associate, I was responsible for servicing B2C clients and was responsible for increasing organic search traffic by 50% in 6 months for one employment services client. As your Marketing Coordinator, I'd apply this knowledge to ensure we increased online traffic while maintaining client service and connecting more job seekers to local employment opportunities.
Your next paragraph should highlight your current (or most recent position), as well as a second example that matches the job description and the things that seem to be most important - i.e. the things you absolutely need to have to get the job (experience in a niche, a certification, specific abilities, etc.)
You can follow the previous paragraph template to highlight your second example.
Utilize the closing of your cover letter to say more than, "Thank you for reading. Hope to hear back from you soon."
Instead, personalize the closing to proactively answer a potential concern, or address any qualification questions. Use this paragraph to show that you align with the core purpose of the company.
Here's a template you can use.
Again, [Company Name]'s focus on [what makes them special] has made a positive impression on me. I would be thrilled to work at an organization where every employee - from interns to the CEO - cares so much about [company's mission].
Thank you for your time,
Again, JobsInVT.com's focus on connecting local job seekers with local opportunities has made a positive impression on me. I would be thrilled to work at an organization where every employee - from interns to the CEO - cares so much about getting Vermont to work.
Thank you for your time,
Please edit this cover letter template to your liking. Its sole purpose is to help you overcome cover letter writer's block by putting words on a page and getting your creative juices flowing. Hope this helps put some structure to an important document in the job search process.
Brett Farmiloe is a marketing and employment branding expert who advises cutting edge recruitment companies. He is the founder of Markitors and frequent contributor to SHRM.