a quick guide to formatting your cover letters

 
a quick guide to formatting your cover letters
 

Letters have the power to change your life. Amongst the sea of candidate applications, your cover letter gives the employer an impression of the work you can deliver which is why it’s imperative you don’t cut corners on writing your cover letters—your future depends on it!

 

headings

Your heading should contain your name and contact information (email, phone number, website, and address).

This should go without saying, but make sure you’re not using your current employer’s phone number/fax or your company email. It might make for awkward conversations with your current employer.

 

date

Unless you’re faxing in a cover letter, you don’t need to insert the date as emails will date stamp your application. If you’re a traditionalist, it doesn’t hurt to insert the date between the heading and the recipient's information.

 

recipient

Include the company name and the recipient’s title. You can usually find this on the company page or their LinkedIn profile. You can add the address, but it’s not necessary.

 

salutation

Dear [Insert name]

You should always address your cover letter to a specific person. LinkedIn will help you find out the name of the hiring manager. If you can’t find it on Linkedin, try calling the office and simply ask.

Addressing someone in the company shows you’re willing to put in the extra effort to do your research and make a connection.

 

introduction

You want to have an attention-grabbing introduction. Make your reader want to continue reading your cover letter.

Tips:

  • Share your passions (relevant to the industry/role) and get specific in why you love doing what you do.

  • Share your love for the company. Do you have a story about your experience with the company as a customer?

  • Add some humour or creativity. Make your resume stand out with a bit of humour or get creative with your storytelling.

 

purpose of the Letter

Mention what position you’re applying for and where you’ve come across the job posting.

Discuss your skills and experience that directly relate to the position and why you’d be the best candidate for the job. Hiring managers are looking to solve a problem within the company.

So with as much detail, while being concise with your words, demonstrate that you understand the company and the industry and offer up your skills and experience as a solution to the company’s problems.

Instead of using subjective words, like “team player,” “excellent communication skills,” and “results-driven” show them!

What results did you provide your previous employers? What projects have you worked on that demonstrated your leadership or teamwork skills? Hiring managers are interested in concrete facts and numbers so give them something more tangible than “hard-working.”

 

call to action

When you’re applying for work, you’re marketing yourself as the best candidate. And with any good marketing campaign, you’ll need to set up the call to action. It’s the next steps for what you’d like the reader to do with your application.

Initiate the time to follow up with the application and the method the hiring manager can reach you at should they decided to proceed.

 

close

“Thanks for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you.” Is a good closer. It’s simple, it thanks the reader, and ends the letter.

As with any letter, you should end your letter with a farewell phrase such as “Sincerely,” “Best Wishes,” or “Regards” before signing with your full name.

Extra Tips

•Triple check for typos and grammatical errors. Run your letter through a grammar check program like www.grammarly.com before you get your peers to read it over for you.

•Use bullet points to make information like facts and numbers easier to read and scan.

•Format your resume into a PDF to avoid formatting errors or awkward spacing when they open the document on their chosen word processor.