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Cover Letters 101
Learn the importance of a cover letter and how to effectively write one

Cover letters often get overlooked by job applicants. Many people tend to focus solely on their resume, often neglecting to include a cover letter. However, a cover letter is a crucial part of any job application, it provides an opportunity to show off your personality, communication skills and fill in any gaps in your resume. In this week’s blog we will outline the importance of a cover letter and provide some tips on how to effectively write one.  

  1. Why is a cover letter important?
  2. How to write a cover letter
    1. Do your research
    2. Header
    3. Address the hiring manager
    4. Introduce yourself
    5. Include the past, present, future

Why is a cover letter important?

A cover letter is important because it can help you stand out from other candidates. The letter will serve as your introduction and allow you to showcase your personality and voice your enthusiasm and/or desire for applying to the job opening. Additionally, a cover letter will be the ideal place to enhance and speak about your soft skills such as communication, team player, positive attitude, etc.

How to write a cover letter

Be sure to keep your letter concise (short and direct). Your letter should not be more than one page in length with 10 to 12-point, Arial or Helvetica font. Lastly, it should be single-spaced and with one-inch margins. 

Do your research

Before you begin writing your letter to the hiring person, be sure to do your research. Find out who the letter will be addressed to (hiring manager, HR recruiter, etc.) This is important because it will allow you to address the person reading the letter by name, making it more personal for the person reading it. 

In addition, be sure to do some research on the company. According to Indeed’s Career Guide, it’s a good idea to look at the desired company’s website and gather some insight on their values, mission, and culture; by doing so, you avoid sending a generic letter. Lastly, read over the entire job description and identify which responsibilities are the most important and be sure to address those in your letter.


The very first thing listed on your cover letter should be your name, followed by your contact information, making it easy for your prospective employer to reach you. Your contact information should include:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • LinkedIn URL (if applicable)
  • Website link (if applicable)
  • Date
  • Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
  • Name of the company you’re applying to

Address the hiring manager

We want to steer clear of sounding generic, so let’s avoid phrases such as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir/madam”. If you were able to locate the hiring manager or recruiters name, address them in your letter as “Dear [insert manager name].” However, if you were unable to find a name for the manager, it is recommended by Careerblog to address your letter as “Dear Hiring Manager” in order to avoid generic phrases. 

Introduce yourself

We have all heard the saying, “first impressions last a lifetime,” so be sure to grab the reader’s attention when introducing yourself. Indeed recommends including the job title of the position you are applying for and expressing your interest in the role. It’s always a good idea to include words such as excited, happy, pleased to express your enthusiasm.

Past, Present, Future

Be sure to link your past work experience with that of the job description. For example, if one of the job responsibilities includes addressing customer complaints, you may say something along the lines of “In my previous role as a Customer Service Representative at [name of previous employer] …”  Make sure to address each of the key responsibilities and relate that to your previous job(s).

Additionally, explain why you are a good fit for the company. In order to stand out, include your stance on the company’s values, missions, and culture. Talk about how you relate to their beliefs in a way that is authentic.

Your cover letter should include a call-to-action (CTA) as a conclusion. This can be something like “I am excited for this opportunity and look forward to hearing from you soon” or you can ask for the next steps in the hiring process. If you need some inspiration for your letter, you can find free templates here.

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