Writing a perfect cover letter is always a challenge, but the very first cover letter of your professional career can feel like a monumental task. Keep these tips in mind as you create your first draft. And if you start to get nervous, take a breath and remember that it’s never too late to revise.
1. Don’t be overwhelmed. The quality of your cover letter can have a powerful impact on the success and the duration of your job search, but you can always get help at every stage of the process, and you’re always free to revise and rewrite your letter in order to fix what isn’t working. If you miss a detail, it’s not the end of the world; just remember to address this topic or credential when you’re called in for an interview.
2. Start by overdoing it. Write way more than you need to. Take pages of notes, and try to think of any accomplishment, award, or credential that might interest your potential employers. At this point, you’re just generating raw material. At a later stage, you’ll narrow things down to a single page of text.
3. When you’re ready, draft a great first sentence. And by “great,” we mean lean, efficient, and packed with meaningful information. You can start by simply stating the position title that interests you and how you found out about it. For example: “I’d like to apply for the Assistant Account Manager position you posted on LinkedIn.” Even better: “I’d like to help Qualco expand its client base by stepping into the role of Assistant Account Manager. I saw the position posted on LinkedIn and I could tell right away that my skills are a perfect match.”
4. Back up your claim with evidence. If your first sentence states that you’re perfect for the job, let the second sentence explain why. What do you have to offer this company and what can you bring to the table? Focus on the specific traits requested in the post, and then move on to describe traits and credentials you possess that other candidates might not be able to claim.
5. Use your second paragraph to briefly summarize your professional background. Since this is your first cover letter, your work experience may be thin, but that’s okay. Just focus on your studies, your internship if you completed one, and anything else in your history that your employers might want to know. For example, were you attracted to this field by a parent or grandparent who immersed you in this profession from a young age? Did you have a specific talent that started to show when you were child or when you were in high school?
6. Use your final paragraph to draw employer attention to your resume and sign off in a respectful way. Leave your reader with a polite and simple call to action, for example: “I invite you to review my resume for more information about my background. I also welcome an opportunity to speak with you in person about the qualities that make me a perfect fit for Qualco.”
A great resume and an effective cover letter go hand in hand, and there’s no need to tackle either of these challenges by yourself. Take advantage of the templates, drafting tools, and personal help you’ll find by visiting LiveCareer.