A Quick Cover Letter Guide To Recent Grads!May 8, 2015
So you’re about to graduate from college. There are probably some things you still don’t know: how to file taxes, how to buy a house, how to cook complicated meals (or any meal), how to pay off student loan debt, how to apply for a credit card and maybe how to write a cover letter. Well, we can help you with the cover letter!!
Employers generally ask job applicants for two things at the onset of the recruitment process: a resume and a cover letter. For tips on writing a professional resume, check out our blog post and also our Pinterest boards. For some, the resume is the easy part, second in priority to the dreaded cover letter.
Although it can be intimidating to fill a page with words about yourself and your ambitions, it’s not as hard as it may sound! Thankfully, cover letters are formulaic and follow a strict set of rules. So once you nail down the basics, you’re just a few steps away from a completed cover letter!
At the very top, include your name, address, and possibly your current job title. A lot of people choose to include this as a pre-made letterhead spanning across the top of the page, but placing it in the top left will do just fine. Be sure to include a phone number and/or email address where you can be reached.
Below your own address comes the name and address of the employer or recruiter. If you know the exact name of the recruiter, use that, along with his or her company address and contact information. This should also go on the left hand side.
Date your letter. It can get mixed in with other documents, so it can be helpful to the employer to remember when you wrote of your interest.
Greet the employer. For example, if the employer’s name is John Smith, begin your letter with “Dear Mr. Smith:”. If you do not have an exact name, or you’re writing to the company as a whole, you may use “Dear Recruiter:” or “To whom it may concern:”.
The first paragraph should state the purpose of the letter. In nearly every case of a cover letter, your purpose is to inquire about a position. Tell the employer which position you’re applying for, how you heard about it, and what you know about the company. It’s okay to keep it brief, but be sure to make it clear that you’ve done your research on the company and the position.
The second paragraph is the longest section of the letter. This is the part where you get to sell yourself and convince the employer of your qualifications. Tell the employer about past experience you’ve had with a similar role, skills you have that are relevant, and/or why you are different from other applicants. Don’t sell yourself short! This paragraph is what separates you from the pile of other resumes and cover letters.
Finally, the last paragraph is where you request that the employer contact you further. Once you’ve explained to them why you should be considered, thank them for their time. Then leave your email address and phone number and urge them to reach out to you to discuss the position further. It’s okay if this paragraph is only one to three sentences.
At the bottom, use some form of formal closing. “Sincerely,” or “Best,” both work well. If you’re going to print the letter and submit it in person, leave some room for a signature and then type out your full name below. If you are submitting electronically, just type out your full name.
Once you’ve completed the steps, there are just a few more things to remember! Keep the entire letter aligned to the left, without indentation. To differentiate between paragraphs, leave an entire blank line.
Finally, remember to be yourself! Always speak professionally, but allow your personality to shine through! Write your letter with confidence and poise, and anyone would be glad to hire you!