Starting your first job search can be intimidating: there’s a lot to consider, like targeting employers, buying interview clothes, writing your resume, and writing your cover letter. If you’ve never written one before, you may be unsure of what to include, or how to structure your letter. Never fear: the tips below will help you get a good start on a compelling cover letter that can help get you the job you need to launch your career!
Why Do You Need a Cover Letter?
Writing a cover letter is a great way to put your best foot forward when applying for a job. Stand out from the crowd by customizing your letter specifically to each employer--and telling them exactly why you want to work there. Be aware that many times a cover letter is listed as optional when it's still expected. Not including one can harm your opportunity to even be interviewed for your dream job!
How to Start Your First Ever Cover Letter
Many word processing programs have templates for writing a business letter, so you can use them if you are unsure how to do your own formatting. LiveCareer’s Cover Letter Builder has dozens of templates to choose from, and is a great place to start. Choose one that is simple, without excessive embellishment, and professional looking. Include your name, address, and contact information at the top of the page. Begin by addressing the hiring party, if known, or use a professional standard greeting. It is always best to address an actual person whenever possible.
The first paragraph of your cover letter should be about you and the job for which you are applying. You want to avoid beginning with “I am applying for the position of teacher posted on the board of education’s website.” A better starting point would be, "A proven record for demonstrated growth in the classroom makes me an excellent candidate for the teaching position listed on the district’s website." Continue with your general accomplishments and skills that will make you stand out as a candidate.
Here’s where you can get more specific. It is permissible to change the formatting of this paragraph to break up the letter and highlight your skills. Make your abilities and willingness to perform duties clear. Use a bulleted list or a table to make it easy to read and really point out your skills. Begin by saying something along the lines of “After reviewing the job posting, I have the training and education to meet the following requirements.” Take the requirements directly from the job posting and explain how you meet them. This will give employers exactly what they need to know about you and your ability to do the job.
The last paragraph of your cover letter should sum up the argument for why you would be the perfect candidate. Close by thanking the reader for his or her time and let them know you will call in a week to discuss your application and hope to meet in person to discuss your unique skills and qualities.
Using these tips, you will feel confident that writing your first ever cover letter will give you the leading edge in the job hunt. If writing your first ever cover letter still seems too daunting, try using LiveCareer’s Cover Letter Builder. Cover letters always make a great first impression and help you to land your dream job!