Cover Letter Template
Your first opportunity to communicate with a potential employer is often in the form of a cover letter. Thus, it is crucial to draft a careful cover letter that clearly explains why you would be the ideal candidate for the position.
A good cover letter will follow a format that is similar to other business letters, which will include each of the following sections that serve distinct purposes:
- Headings: These provide your personal contact information and the information of the recipient of the letter.
- Introduction: This section states exactly why you are writing (to pitch yourself for a specific position), and then briefly states why you are a great candidate.
- Body: This section describes how your skills and experience will fulfill the needs of the job.
- Closing paragraph: The final paragraph restates your enthusiasm for the position and requests a personal interview to discuss the position further.
One critical aspect of writing the cover letter is to avoid unnecessary information about your skills or experience that does not relate to the position. Employers appreciate concise, relevant letters because they have to read many of them, and it will make yours stand out. Ensuring your letter is concise will also highlight your writing ability and your knack for discerning relevant information from unnecessary information.
Like many other types of writing, your opening paragraph needs to grab the reader’s attention: Your opening statement should condense why you are the ideal candidate into one concise sentence. One great way to do so is by stating a particular length of time that you have successfully applied the skills that would fulfill the position. For example:
- “With over three years of experience successfully managing the production of health science textbooks, I would be a great fit to manage the production of [Company/department’s name]’s healthcare content.
This type of opening statement works well because it concisely tells the hiring manager that the applicant has substantial experience (three years), performing the same type of work (project management of a health-related publication) the job demands. These are the principles that should orient your opening, but if you do not have such directly related experience, describe your experience in a way that relates it as closely as possible to the position.
After this statement, it can be very helpful to state any philosophical reason compelling you to work at the organization. This could include a lifelong passion, or a firmly held belief in the company’s overall mission. For example, if you are applying to work at the EPA, you could state how important you believe it is to protect our environment, and thus it would be meaningful to use your skills for that goal.
The goal for the body of the cover letter is to show what you can offer the organization. These (one or two) paragraphs are where you will elaborate on your opening statement to explain precisely how your skills will fulfill the job requirements. Do not merely list your skills or experience. Instead, you will describe your relevant experience and skills with language that mirrors the job’s requirements, and show how this enables you to do the job well. For example, for a business analyst position, you might explain how you would be able to define business needs and implement functional strategies to meet those needs.
Your closing paragraph should simply state that you would like to discuss the position further because you believe you would make a great fit. Close the letter with “Best regards,” or “Sincerely,” and then end with your name. If you are mailing the physical letter, leave space above your name and sign your name by hand in that space.