If you’ve already written the perfect resume, it’s time to work on your cover letter. You got this boss babe! Seriously, congrats on starting your job search, this process is not easy. And, figuring out how to write cover letters in 2020 is even more challenging.
Writing a great cover letter should be a key part of your job search. You can make your resume perfect all you want, if your letter misses the mark – that could cost you the job interview. There are lot of jobs that require cover letters, so it’s important that if you are starting your job search – you have a cover letter handy that you can easily customize.
It’s very important that you don’t have a blanket cover letter that you use for every job, BUT, you can have one that you can customize for the jobs in which you are applying to. My cover letter formula has gotten me interviews at Apple, Box, and more (you can read more about how I got 4 job offers in 2 months with in this post). The cover letter can really be the differentiator between getting in for an interview, so it’s important to do it right.
Okay, so you might be asking yourself…
What is the purpose of a cover letter?
The main purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to a future employer. This document accompanies a resume and/or a job application. The cover letter can serve several purposes, such as explaining gaps in resume and stating why you’d be a great fit for a role.
Why are cover letters important?
Cover letters are so important because they provide additional information to job applications that resumes can’t provide. Not all recruiters might read cover letters, but you want to include one if you can so the hiring team can learn more about you. If you choose a cover letter, make sure it’s short and well-written. We’ll dive into how to do this more below.
One great example is if you had a gap in employment that’s not easily explained on your resume. For example, I was laid off 6 months out of college. I wouldn’t want my future employer to think I was fired, or quit – I would want them to know this gap was out of my control. A cover letter can serve the purpose of explanation that a resume can not.
If you’re not convinced, you might be wondering…
Do you really need a cover letter in 2020?
If you’re wondering if you should send a cover letter in 2020, the answer is yes. It may just take a new form in the digital age! Sometimes, instead or attaching a cover letter to a job application, I’ll reach out to a company directly and try and email the hiring manager. I think of this as a ‘modern day’ cover letter. There’s a step by step process for this tactic HERE.
Maybe you’ve checked reddit, seen templates online, and more. This guide will allow you to write a CUSTOMIZED cover letter you can send to any employer during your job search – which is way better than some copy and paste job.
Ok boss babes, let’s dive into how to write your cover letter.
How to write a great cover letter in 2020
Include a Header
When writing a cover letter, you always want to include a header. Similar to your resume, you’ll want your name & location front and center. If for some reason you are not in the location of the job that you are applying for – leave it out. You don’t want that to deter your recruiter.
I personally love a header that’s tucked in the top left corner of the page. I lean towards a subtle header, that’s professional with no color.
Then you’ll want to address the cover letter to a real person. Do not, and I reiterate DO NOT, say “To Whom It May Concern”. In my opinion, it’s better to leave off “Dear Hiring Manager” then show you don’t know who you are writing to.
Quick tip – you can easily find a hiring manager or a recruiters name from LinkedIn, the company’s website or the job application. Putting a real persons name is a great way to show you did your research.
Write an Introduction Statement
After written your header and addressed the cover letter to someone at the company, you need to write an intro statement. Your intro statement should include the job you are applying to, and a little background on yourself. Ideally, your introduction is memorable to catch the reader’s attention. Just remember how many people are applying to jobs, so this opening statement should count.
Here’s a great example of an introduction statement in a cover letter: “My experience raising sales for [company] [X%], while leading a team of three makes me a great fit for [role].”
You could also do something more vague like, “My track record of accomplishing [X] and [Y] make me a great fit for [role]. I believe I could a lot of value to this team.”
Balance Careers has some great cover letter content if you are looking for more.
Speak About Your Accomplishments
After you’ve written a header and an introduction statement, you should write a sentence or two about your accomplishments. It’s very important you do two things when you talk about your accomplishments in your cover letter. First, don’t simply reiterate your resume. And second, make sure to include numbers about your accomplishments. You want to quantify your success.
Your accomplishments should only be a few sentences. You can start this area with something like, “My background includes [accomplishment] and [accomplishment]. I also have a passion for [accompaniment or skill].”
If you can, include keywords from the job description in your cover letter where you see fit. This is a great area to do that.
State the value you’d bring to the role
Lastly, end your cover letter with the value you’d bring to the role. You can say something like, “My experience in [X] would bring [example] and [example] value to the [team].”
It’s important in your cover letter to remind the company about that value that you will bring to the role. Ultimately, this process is about making sure the company wants to hire you – and a big part of that is making sure they know you’ll crush it in the position.
Then, end of the cover letter with a sign-off and your name. Keep it short and sweet. Nothing too long, think that this person is reading many, if not hundreds of cover letters. It’s important to get your point across quickly.
What should you leave off your cover letter?
There are a few things you should leave off your cover letter. You don’t want to make your cover letter too long or try and explain personal problems. Try and keep your cover letter positive. You can have the tougher conversations in person.
Additionally, I wouldn’t mention salary requirements or expectations in the cover letter. That conversation is much more powerful in person.
There you have it boss babe, I’m so excited for you to write your cover letter. If you have specific questions, write them in the comments below.