Write A Cover Letter That Stand Out

  • Resume & Cover Letter Tips
  • Published on May 28

*Updated May 28, 2024. Originally posted April 18, 2024.

In today's competitive job market, crafting a compelling cover letter can set you apart from a sea of candidates. Especially for students and new graduates, a well-written cover letter is your ticket to catching a potential employer's attention. Here's how you can make yours pop, ensuring it resonates with the people who matter.

Introduction: Why Cover Letters Matter

While your resume offers a snapshot of your skills and experiences, a cover letter provides a narrative. It’s your chance to explain how your unique experiences are relevant to the job and how you can contribute to the company. A standout cover letter can be the difference between getting an interview and being overlooked.

Understand the Job Description

Before you start writing, take a deep dive into the job description. Understand what the company is looking for and tailor your cover letter to meet those needs. Highlight specific skills or experiences that align with the job requirements. This shows employers that you're not just sending a generic cover letter, but that you’re genuinely interested in the role.

Example: If the job description emphasizes project management skills, mention a specific project you managed, the challenges you faced, and the successful outcome. For instance, "During my internship at XYZ Company, I managed a team of five to complete a market analysis project three weeks ahead of schedule, resulting in a 15% increase in customer engagement."

Start With a Strong Opening

Your opening paragraph is crucial—it’s your first impression. Begin with a dynamic and specific statement about why you are excited about the role. Mention how you discovered the opportunity and why it resonates with you. This personalized approach will grab the reader's attention right from the start.

Example: "I was thrilled to come across the Marketing Coordinator position at ABC Corp on your careers page. Your company's innovative approach to digital marketing and commitment to sustainability deeply resonate with my professional aspirations and personal values."

Showcase Your Skills With Stories

Instead of merely listing your skills, tell short stories or give examples that demonstrate how you've applied these skills in real situations. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to outline a scenario where you used a particular skill and made an impact. This method paints a vivid picture and makes your application memorable.

Example: "At my previous job, I was tasked with increasing social media engagement. I initiated a campaign (Situation) that involved creating weekly themed posts (Task). By analyzing audience interaction data, I tailored content to what our followers were most interested in (Action), resulting in a 25% increase in social media engagement over three months (Result)."

Make It About the Company

Shift the focus from what you want to what you can offer to the company. Research the company’s culture, mission, and recent projects. Use this information to detail how your background makes you an excellent fit for their team. Express enthusiasm about contributing to their projects and how you align with their values.

Example: "Your recent initiative to expand your environmental sustainability efforts caught my eye. With my background in environmental science and project management, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to your ongoing projects and help achieve your sustainability goals."

Closing With a Call to Action

End your cover letter on a proactive note. Express your enthusiasm for discussing your application in further detail and mention that you’d love the opportunity to further discuss how you can contribute to their team. Provide your contact information and say that you look forward to their response.

Example: "I am eager to bring my expertise in digital marketing and passion for sustainable practices to ABC Corp. I would love the opportunity to discuss how my background, skills, and enthusiasm can contribute to your team. Please feel free to contact me at [your phone number] or [your email address] to schedule an interview. I look forward to your response."

Proofread, Then Proofread Again

Never underestimate the power of proofreading. Typos and grammatical errors can undermine the professionalism of your cover letter. Read your letter multiple times and consider having a friend or a mentor review it as well. This can help catch errors that you might have missed and also provide feedback on the overall flow of your content.

Example: Consider using tools like Grammarly or Hemingway to catch errors. Also, read your cover letter out loud to catch any awkward phrasing or missed words. Ask a mentor or trusted friend to review it and provide feedback.

Conclusion: The Final Polish

Your cover letter is a key part of your job application. By following these tips, you can ensure that your cover letter will not only be noticed but also remembered. It’s your opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the role and to demonstrate how your unique background makes you the perfect candidate.

Remember, a cover letter is your chance to tell your story, so make it count. Let your personality shine through, keep it professional, and tailor it to not just the job but also the company. With these tips in mind, you’re ready to write a cover letter that stands out from the crowd and brings you one step closer to landing that dream job.

Example: A student applying for a graphic design position might conclude, "Thank you for considering my application. I am excited about the prospect of contributing to your creative team and using my design skills to help your brand stand out. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my application further."

By adding these examples and elaborations, your blog post now provides a more detailed, engaging, and practical guide to writing an outstanding cover letter.