Any experienced job seeker will tell you that building a strong cover letter requires some thought. There are many elements to juggle, including design, formatting, and the writing itself.
While formatting and design issues might be a hassle for some applicants, the real test of a great letter is its contents. When you want to learn how to write a cover letter that will get you noticed, focusing on the body of the letter is critical. As the longest, most in-depth section of a cover letter, it's vital that the content is compelling.
Below, we've gathered tips for what the body of your cover letter should contain and the best ways to write this section.
What is the "body" of a cover letter?
To understand the importance of this section, first, you must understand its purpose. A cover letter's body section is the paragraph (or paragraphs) that illustrates what qualifies you for a position to hiring managers.
The body of your cover letter lives (roughly) in the middle of the page and should come after your opening paragraph, which follows your header and salutation. It should always come before your "call to action," which is the last paragraph before signing off.
The body is where you'll get into specifics, laying out the nitty-gritty details that connect your specific work history, skills, and other qualifications to the role's requirements. Don't be afraid to dig into minutia here, but only if it directly reflects what's asked for in the job description. Even echoing the exact wording of the job ad can work in your favor. The main goal of your cover letter's body should be to paint you as the right person for the position.
Formatting and writing go hand in hand
Nailing the correct length and shape of a cover letter depends on more than just the quality and number of words written. Additions like bulleted lists and bolded or italicized text can make an otherwise long cover letter succinct and readable.
Decisions about the font, line spacing, and margins will affect your page's layout even more. Keep these elements in mind when mapping out your text.
Craft compelling cover letter content
Not everyone is a natural writer. Between choosing which pieces of your work history are most relevant, adding the proper keywords, and following grammar rules, it's not surprising that nearly half of all job seekers skip writing a cover letter altogether.
However, writing a cover letter can set you apart from the competition, so don't skip this advantage. LiveCareer's Cover Letter Builder can make the process simple by offering pre-written, industry-specific phrases and keywords based on the information you enter about your job search.
If you are a solid writer, the builder allows you to customize its text suggestions. This ensures that your writing skills shine through while including the industry-specific terms that'll get your resume past applicant tracking systems (ATS) and onto a hiring manager's desk.
Customize your cover letter body
The importance of personalizing your cover letter's body section cannot be stressed enough. Detailing your specific qualifications to match the job ad is the surest way to land an interview.
More advanced cover letter builders often open with simple questions designed to save you the work often associated with cover letter customization. In LiveCareer's builder, providing easy answers about your years of experience, field, skills, and more automatically generates personalized paragraphs specific to the job you are applying for, shaving time off of crafting each personalized application.
Spelling and grammar checks are key
As the longest section of your cover letter, the body also runs the highest risk of containing spelling and grammatical errors. More than half of recruiters report that they reject applications that have typos or grammar mistakes.
Don't lose your shot at the job you want because of a typo. Proofread your letter several times before sending it out. Or, use a cover letter builder with built-in tools for checking spelling and grammar to ensure you send out a clean document every time.
Still, need a hand? LiveCareer's Cover Letter Builder can walk you through how to build a cover letter, even beyond the body section. For additional assistance with the rest of your application materials, check out LiveCareer's Resume Builder tools, too.