Writing a cover letter isn't easy. You've got limited space and the task to make the best impression possible. While it may seem tough and confusing, the process could be much easier if you've got all the right elements in place. This is where we come in to help.
in this guide we'll teach you:
- The 10 elements you have to have in order to make the best of your cover letter
- Detailed information on why you need each element and how to include it in the letter
Before we get into it, have one last look at your resume and make sure it looks great. After all, the resume opens the door to the cover letter.
10 Elements to Include in your Cover Letter
Let's get right into it. Every job-landing cover letter includes these 10 elements:
- the hiring manager's name
- your contact details
- a relevant example of the candidate performing the tasks the job requires
- an impressive accomplishment
- explanation of what the candidate can do for the company
- motivation for applying
- knowledge of the company
- a reference to a contact in the company or someone who referred the candidate
- short explanation of how the candidate's experience is relevant
- transferable skills
Now let's look at each of these elements in depth.
1. The hiring manager's name
Begin the cover letter right by addressing the person who's deciding whether to give you the job or not.
There's nothing worse than saying "to whom it may concern." Instead, look for the hiring manager's name in the job ad.
Usually, you'll see the name listed or at least their email address. If the ad doesn't say the name, go on LinkedIn and look up "hiring manager" within the company.
Then, address them as:
Dear Ms/ Mr (Name)
If there's no information whatsoever on the hiring manager, simply say:
Dear Hiring Manager
2. Your contact details
What good is it to have an amazing cover letter if you forget to provide your contact details? While your resume should have your email and phone number, it's a good idea to list your email one more time on the cover letter.
VelvetJobs Expert Tip
Make sure your email address is professional, such as FirstNameLastName@provider.com
as opposed to
3. A relevant example
Include a relevant example of how you've performed the tasks the job requires in the past.
While the resume states the facts of your career, the cover letter gives you the opportunity to tell an engaging story and show how you've used your skills.
4. An impressive accomplishment
It's always a good idea to include an impressive and relevant accomplishment. If you're applying for a sales position for example, mention that you've won prizes for reaching and exceeding your quota.
If you've worked as a marketing expert, mention that your company's content has gone viral.
Make sure to relate the accomplishment to the position you're applying to.
5. Explain what you can do for the company
Many candidates make the mistake of being too self-focused. Explain how you want and are capable of helping the business. Don't forget that a cover letter is a two-way street.
While you should mention how you'd benefit from the position, you also have to offer your vision on what you can achieve and help move the business forward.
6. Motivation for applying
Related to the previous point, mention why you want to be a part of the company and the team you're applying to.
Will you be capable of making a difference? Is this the position you've dreamed of and prepared for all throughout your career?
The cover letter is the place to mention all of this. Hiring managers always prefer the most driven candidates.
7. Knowledge of the company
Show that you care. Mention relevant company accomplishments or current news. You can find out the company mission and values on the company site.
Go on LinkedIn, the company blog, and Twitter to see what the company has been up to recently and mention it briefly on the cover letter.
8. A company reference
Did someone from the company refer you to apply? Do you have a contact who knows the hiring manager?
It's always a good idea to mention that on your cover letter. Personal connections can make a difference and give you an edge.
9. A short explanation of relevant experience
Mention how your past experience relates to the job you're applying to. While your acquired skills should already be on the resume, include an example of how you've successfully performed the tasks already.
For example, if the job needs someone to make door-to-door sales, explain how you've done it in the past and hit your quota every time.
10. Transferable skills
In case you're applying to an industry different from the one you've got experience in, mention how your acquired skills are applicable to the job you want.
For example, if you've worked as a hotel concierge, chances are that you're great at customer service and pay attention to detail.
If you're applying to be a bank teller, these exact skills will come in handy, so go ahead and mention how your skills transfer even if it's not obvious at first sight.
Writing a cover can be much easier and productive if you include the 10 elements above. Make sure you've got relevant examples, a vision of yourself helping the business progress, and a reference to any relevant contacts. Finally, make sure your resume is finished and get to applying.