How to Write a Cover Letter for Experienced Professionals

Customize Each Letter

As an experienced professional, you probably have a cover letter that you send out to multiple employers when you’re searching for new work. But if you’re using a one-size-fits-all approach and it’s not working, it could be time to change it up. Try to target each letter you write specifically to the job you’re applying for. This will let employers know that you’re genuinely interested, that you’ve done your homework, and that you’re not just mass-mailing a form letter to everyone in the industry.

Be Tone-Appropriate

Generally speaking, your cover letter should be written in a relatively formal tone. But you’ll want to vary your tone depending on the job you’re applying for. Some companies will favor a more light-hearted, conversational approach: it can depend on the industry, and the particular company. Do your research, and if you’re answering a job ad, the ad itself could provide tone cues. Match your voice to the company’s voice in your cover letter and your chances of landing the interview may skyrocket. 

Keep it Businesslike

Your cover letter is a business letter of sorts. It is your formal request to be considered for a position that is being offered. Keep the format business letter-like. Stay away from uncommon fonts and sizes. Don’t do anything fancy graphically. Write in paragraphs that are easily readable. Always do a spelling and grammar check on your work before submitting the final copy. Something as simple as a typo could make the difference between your application ending up in the “to interview” pile and the trash pile.

Intro

The first paragraph of the cover letter should be in the form of an introduction. Here, you will state your purpose and how you came about to applying for the position. What interested you in the company? What about your background makes you the best fit for the job? Use this space to relate your core values to the position and show how you can be an asset to the company.

Body

The body should be no longer than two paragraphs that reflect who you are as a person and your background and story make you perfect for the job. Relate your past experience to the new position, and show, in a few brief sentences, how you add value. You’ll also want to communicate that you’re passionate about the job: no one wants to hire someone who’s not enthusiastic. In essence, these paragraphs are your initial pitch to the employer, and probably your first and only chance to make a great first impression.

Closing

In the closing paragraph, use action words that are compelling and memorable. Most likely, the company has already read your resume by the time they’re reviewing your letter, and may well already be interested in talking to you further.  Close the deal by inviting the hiring manager to get in touch with you for an interview.

Your cover letter can play a critical role in helping advance your candidacy for that new job. Be brief but engaging, and use proper formatting to arrest employers’ attention, and highlight and enhance the experience you’ve outlined on your resume. To create a powerful, professional cover letter in less time with less effort, try LiveCareer’s Cover Letter Builder.