What are the Parts of a Cover Letter?

April 10, 2020

What are the parts of a cover letter? Although your initial response to hearing the words ‘cover letter’ might be moaning and groaning, one thing that can make it all the easier is knowing how to create a cover letter and what’s involved. If you don’t even know what to put in your cover letter, it might not end up being all too great- right? That’s why you should know the five parts to a rockstar cover letter.

So, what are the parts of a cover letter? There are essentially five important parts of a cover letter, including:

  1. Your Greeting- Which should have an actual name, not just a “To Whom it May Concern” line.
  2. The First Paragraph- This paragraph will show off all your best skills and achievements to sink your teeth into the hiring manager.
  3. The Hook- Otherwise known as the third paragraph, the hook will explain in further detail while you’re the top choice for the job. You can use bullet points to set them apart. It will essentially mimic, although not entirely, your resume.
  4. The Knowledge- Here you will show the employer that you’ve done some research on the company and have specific reasons why you should be their top pick.
  5. The Closing- Here, you will want to remain professional and set the tone for the future.

As you can see, there are a lot of different elements that go into a cover letter. Knowing the basics, such as the 5 (different) imperative paragraphs of every cover letter, will help you to succeed in your job search. We’re going to discuss- in detail- these five parts to a cover letter so you can nail it every time.

The Five Parts of a Cover Letter

Knowing that there are five pieces to the cover letter puzzle can be a bit overwhelming at first, but once you break it down into bite-size chunks…it becomes easy-peasy.

We are going to look closer at these 5 parts to ensure you know everything you need to know to make these 5 paragraphs top-notch and ready for reading.

1. Your Greeting 

The first thing, of course, is going to be your greeting. And, unfortunately, a lot of people think that they can get by with simply saying ‘To Whom It May Concern” and proceeding with their message.

Well, let me tell you this- employers hate this line.

It’s basically showing that you have done zero research on the company, which essentially equates to you having little to no interest in the job.

Instead, do your research and try to find an actual name to greet in your letter.

This makes your entire cover letter stand out as A. You have done research and B. It is far more personal, which a lot of employers and people in general enjoy. This will set your cover letter apart from the sea of “To Whom It May Concern” letters.

2. The First Paragraph 

Your first letter really needs to ‘Wow’ the reader and sell yourself.

Here, you want to place a whole lot of emphasis on your skills, abilities, certifications, awards you have earned, etc, basically anything that is going to highlight you as the perfect person for the position. 

Don’t be afraid to be braggy in your first paragraph.

Think about it- if your first paragraph isn’t interesting and you have too much uninteresting ‘fluff’ that doesn’t pertain to the position, then they are not going to want to continue reading.

That being said, load up on the highlights of your past to make you the star of the show. 

3. The Hook 

It can be hard to pick and choose what goes into the first paragraph, especially since you likely have a lot more to say- but that is where the hook comes into play.

The hook is essentially the second paragraph of the cover letter that is going to mimic your resume- but don’t copy-paste everything you have said word for word.

The hook is going to give a bit more detail on your accomplishments, employment history, and education. Here, you can display all of the other reasons why you’re a top pick for a job.

Don’t be afraid to place bullet points in this section- they make it easier to read and employers love that.

Think about it this way- if you are applying to be a chef at a new high-end restaurant, you can get by with something like this:

  • Graduated top of my class with a 4.0 at Chef School.
  • Won an award at Restaurant for being top chef 2 years in a row.
  • I have worked alongside a-list chefs, including Chef 1, Chef 2, Chef 3.
  • Formally trained in pastries and desserts.

Basically, everything that is interesting while directly relating to the position is something you can add here.

Take a look at your resume and gain inspiration from that. While it shouldn’t be the exact same content, it should be similar- but highlighting the top areas of your resume.

4. The Knowledge 

The final paragraph of your cover letter is going to tell the employer you have done your research on the company.

Think back to the chef application. If you take a look at your restaurant and notice they specialize in spicy dishes, you might want to mention that you have been trained by the best when it comes to spice and your best dish is a spicy one.

You basically want to show the company that you know a thing or two about them, followed by a few reasons why this fits you and your skills beautifully.

Take this section to sell the fact that you and this company are a match made in heaven.

5. The Closing

Just because you’re nearing the end of your message, doesn’t mean you should slack off.

You want to remain professional here, so don’t try and get casual with a “Talk Soon” note.

Instead, saying something like “Thank you for your time” or “Salutations” is a great way to end things.

However, you are also smart to toss in something that references a future meeting.

You can do this by mentioning some times and days you’re available to come in for an interview or chat over the phone. This shows the employer that you have a bit of an assertive personality while also ensuring that you make it known you want this job and would love to speak with them as soon as possible.

Related Questions

What is the point of a cover letter?

The point of the cover letter is to get personal with the employers and prove to them why you’re the best choice for the job. Sure, your resume can do this, but a resume is just another boring assessment of your past employers, education, and references. The cover letter is more personalized, customized, and intriguing- if done properly.

What shouldn’t be included in a cover letter?

There are a few different things to keep out of your resume. The obvious things to remove are grammatical errors or typos, but you also don’t want to flood them with too much information or fluff, especially those that do not connect with the job. Try to stick to information that directly relates to the position and keep it professional, but not overly professional.


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