Cover letters are meant to be professional, highlighting all of your most important skills and expertise. What better way to make sure that your cover letter does exactly that than to organize it beforehand? Organizing isn’t just important in every other aspect of life- it can land your dream job. Here’s how to organize a cover letter:
So, how to organize a cover letter? Start by organizing the root of the cover letter with distinct areas for the contact information, greetings, three paragraphs, and closing. Then, you can pinpoint the specific information you want in each area and make notes. Continue to organize your thoughts on paper before making the final draft.
Organizing can play a huge role in your cover letter construction. This blog will share with you the easy steps to follow to ensure that you have a cover letter that excites and piques the hiring manager’s interest.
Start With the Basics
The first thing you need to do is understand the five points of a cover letter.
You can write these important things down on a piece of paper or use a computer/tablet to construct it together.
Whichever method you use, organize these basic points first before filling in the details:
1. Contact Information
Here you are going to place all of your personal information such as your name, the date of your cover letter, your email address, phone number, and city and state you live in. You can add your address if you are comfortable doing so, but it’s not imperative- unless, of course, you are sending your cover letter by mail.
After you have placed your personal information, you will need to greet the hiring manager. Keep in mind that the greeting shouldn’t be impersonal, such as ‘To Whom It May Concern’. This shows that you might not care too much about the open positive to do a little research. Instead, find a name. Then, greet them as Ms., Mr., Dr., or Prof. Never use Mrs.
3. First Paragraph
Your first paragraph is going to shed light on why you want this job and where you found it. Express your interest in the job, but keep it professional. Why you want this job shouldn’t be for the hefty paycheck- it’s because you’ve spent years crafting your skill or just got out of college with a 4-year degree in the career choice.
4. Second Paragraph
The second paragraph is the most important paragraph in your cover letter. This is your chance to really wow the hiring manager. This second will explain, in detail, why you’re the best pick for the position. You can use bullet points and lists. However, keep it short and to the point and never copy from your resume. Give them some new, thrilling material.
5. Third Paragraph
This is your closing. Here, you can reiterate why you’re the best man or woman for the job. You should also share that you are looking forward to hearing from them and when a good time to call is. This way, you take initiative and invite them to a phone call interview, which is usually something an employer likes to see.
Last is the closing. Here, you will want to remain professional. Something like ‘Thank you for your time’ is an excellent way to end. Don’t forget to place a signature, too, as this is professional. You can also add a ‘P.S.’ to your closing where you share another chunk of information that will excite the hiring manager.
Then Fill in the Gaps
Now that you have your basic outline lined out and you know what to put in each section, it’s time to fill in the gaps.
Think about your skills, expertise, background, and education as it relates to the job in question. Everything you can think of should be written down in its reflective paragraph.
For instance, if you went to chef school and graduated with a 3.8 GPA, that should be added in the second section.
If you are a salesman and increased sales for your previous company by 30% in just 3 short months, that might be intriguing enough to be placed in paragraph number 1.
The point is to make a list of everything you can think of that would not only wow the hiring manager, but show that you truly are the person for the job.
Be detail-oriented in your response.
Nobody wants to hear the same old ‘top-notch customer service agent’. Instead, find proof of that. Even something like ‘Customers love my ability to diffuse situations’.
Make sure that every item in your list directly relates to the job in question, as cover letters should never be too personal.
For instance- if you’re applying for a preschool position, the hiring manager probably doesn’t care if you, yourself, have had children. It’s not a necessary or optimal approach.
Stick to skills.
“I’ve been working with small children since 2007 and thoroughly enjoy the experience.”
At this point, you will also want to decide what greetings and closings you will be using. This is important because you always want to start your cover letter with an actual name.
So, you might have to do a little bit of digging on the company website, which can take some time. Once you have the name, put it on your cover letter outline.
Complete the Cover Letter
Now that you have the cover letter formatted correctly and have all the major details, you can complete the cover letter. This will be the easiest part of your job. Simply put all of the major information you have written down into paragraph form.
For instance- if you put ‘Salesman of the Year 2018’, you can either write it as a bullet point in paragraph number 2 or make it a point.
To put it in paragraph form, you would write something like
“I can bring a boom of sales to your business with my personality and flare- and my Salesman of the Year Award from 2018 proves just that.”
Writing in paragraph form allows you to put emphasis on certain details and relate it to the company. As you can see from the example above, you are making it clear why your previous awards will also help the company you’re applying to, and employers love that.
Do you introduce yourself in a cover letter?
Technically, yes. But simply saying ‘Hello my name is Michelle and I am interested in your open position’ isn’t going to cut it. Add some style, excitement, and pizazz. ‘Hello, my name is Michelle and my 8 years as a cover letter writing enthusiast will prove strong in your business’. This shows how your experience relates to the company before they even begin reading the rest of the letter.
What should not be included in a cover letter?
Anything personal that doesn’t relate to the job specification should be left out. Also, try and avoid using any grammar or spelling mistakes as that is simply unprofessional. Don’t lie or be negative, either, as this will give them the wrong view of you and your personality. Also, remain professional and never be too impersonal or personal, such as using ‘Hey’ instead of ‘Dear Mr. Brown’.