Cover letter writing isn't easy. A lot goes into it - storytelling, outlining relevant accomplishments, talking about transferable skills, and sharing your vision for the job. The process can seem tedious and confusing but don't worry - we've got the recipe for success. We'll show you how to create 4 paragraphs that land you the job.
in this guide we'll teach you:
- The 4 paragraphs you need to have on your resume to land the job
- What information goes where
Before we dive into it, make sure your resume is flawless. Head over to our resume builder for expert help.
The 4 Paragraphs that Make a Winning Cover Letter
Let’s have an in-depth look at what each winning paragraph should contain. The idea here is to be as clear and as concise as possible. Recruiters don’t have time to read any more than one page, so everything you say has to be strategic.
Paragraph 1 - Introduction
If your’re thinking along the lines of:
Dear Hiring Manager,
My name is (YourName) and I’m applying for (Job)
...then you’re wasting your and the hiring manager’s time.
Instead of reiterating what your name is and what position you’re applying to (information that can easily be found throughout your application), open up with a strong intro.
Dear Hiring Manager,
I live and breathe sales. As a Sales Director for the past 10 years who’s managed to completely restructure an entire company and turn it around after the global recession, I’m extremely passionate about the industry and continue to seek new challenges.
This introduction is much more attention-grabbing and actually has some value - we learn that this person has been a Sales Director for 10 years and saved a company from a recession. This is a much more effective use of space than simply repeating your name and the position you’re up for.
Paragraph 2 - Qualifications and relevant skills
Let’s get to the heart and soul of cover letter writing. This is the information the recruiter is most interested in - how are you qualified?
The idea here is to take the relevant experience you’ve listed on your resume and mention it by explaining what you’ve achieved and what you’ve learned.
For example, if your resume says that you’ve “managed a team and increased company revenue,” you can explain how that happened:
This paragraph should be easy to read and understand. Stay away from overly complicated terms and jargon.
Paragraph 3 - Motivation for wanting the job
Next up, explain why you want the job. Do you have a vision about what you’ll do to help the company? Remember that hiring managers want to bring on people who want to help the company improve, not those who are only interested in money and perks.
If we continue with the example of the Sales Director, we might say:
"As your next Sales Director, I plan on helping you expand into the Millennial market and improve your level of customer satisfaction into the double digits.”
Paragraph 4 - Closing statement
The closing statement should be short and sweet.
“I look forward to speaking with you regarding the opportunity to join the team.
Your cover letter doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, the shorter it is, the better. Make sure you include all relevant information into 4 compact paragraphs.
A strong introduction will grab the recruiter’s attention. An explanation of how you’re qualified will tip the scale in your favor. Sharing your vision for the position and how you can help the company will demonstrate your dedication and passion.
End the cover letter with a brief closing statement expressing your interest once again, and there you have it.
Double-check your resume and make sure it looks flawless. Then get to applying.