Today I want to share with you the exact cover letter that got me hired at my dream job and has helped many others get hired, too. I spent hours crafting this to fit the exact needs of hiring managers, so that when they read it I immediately stood out.
When you send in a cover letter, it’s going to get used in a couple different ways.
- As part of the general filtering process of good applications and bad ones. Your cover letter needs to stand out, answer the call for applications, and pique the hiring manager’s interest.
- Before each round of interviews, your interviewers will be given your cover letter as part of the pre-interview materials. It will be your first impression, so it should be professional and clear with a high-level overview of your work but plenty of room for follow-up questions in the interview – that’s what you want.
- After all the interviews, the interviewers often use cover letters and resumes to remind them of the qualities they liked/disliked about the candidates. Your cover letter should paint yourself in the best light.
Your letter needs to be able to function in each of these scenarios.
Thankfully, the bar is pretty low. Many cover letters are too long, riddled with errors, and boring. Using the template below your cover letter will stand out, show you know how to communicate professionally, and highlight your best attributes succinctly.
On to the template…
Dear [COMPANY] selection committee,
Please accept my application for employment as a [JOB TITLE]. [COMPANY] needs a self-motivated [JOB TITLE] with strong [JOB ATTRIBUTE (FOUND IN CALL FOR APPLICATIONS)] and [OTHER JOB ATTRIBUTE] skills who can [OTHER JOB ATTRIBUTE]. In addition, the Partnership needs an analyst who is flexible and dedicated to [COMPANY]’s mission and goals. I offer the requisite education and experience for the position. I would be thrilled to work for [COMPANY].
In reference to the call for applications, I meet or exceed all qualifications:
- [DEGREES EARNED]
- [# OF YEARS, HOURS, ETC] experience as:
- [PAST JOB TITLE] for a [WHAT YOU DID]
- [OTHER PAST JOB TITLE] for a [WHAT YOU DID]
- Experience [PRACTICAL SKILL] to [GOAL/ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THAT SKILL]
- Proficiency in [TECHNICAL, INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC SKILL] as a [WHERE & HOW YOU’VE USED THAT SKILL]
- [COMPUTER PROGRAM SKILLS] experience as [WHERE & HOW YOU USED THEM]
- [GRADE/CERTIFICATION] in [RELEVANT COURSE/TRAINING]
- Extensive experience with [THINGS YOU’LL PROBABLY BE READING/INTERPRETING AS PART OF THE NEW JOB]
- Strong interest in [MISSION OF COMPANY]
My experience and interests fit perfectly with this position, and I have the skills and motivation to forward [COMPANY]’s goals. Thank you for considering my application. Do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any help.
Why this works
I use bullet points because hiring managers are reading hundreds of applications. You want to make it easy on them and make your application stand out. Your biggest skills/assets should be easy to locate on the page, and the bullet points help with that.
When you fill this in, use exacts phrases from the call for applications. It’s a way of making the hiring manager feel like your speaking their language. When you use their words, they’ll feel comfortable and confident in you. It increases your legitimacy and makes you seem competent. So if the job posting uses specific wording or mentions exact skills, you should copy those phrases word-for-word.
Your cover letter is just a tool. It’s only a part of your overall career shift. In coming posts I’ll share more about finding jobs before they’re ever posted and even having job titles created for you.