Our Simple Cover Letter Template Will Get You Noticed
If you’re hunting for a job, then you’re probably in a constant struggle to craft the perfect cover letter. These letters serve as an introduction as well as a way to put your skills on full display, but many of us agonize over finding the perfect formula. And you know why? Because there is no perfect formula! Every job applicant is different, so you’ll naturally have a cover letter that looks completely different than any one else’s.
But once you get over the idea of how to create the “right” cover letter, you can start crafting one perfect for you by tapping into your brain magic! I’ve applied to nearly a hundred jobs over the past few years – full-time jobs and freelance opportunities – and I can say that using this formula has gotten me more responses than any of my other cover letter attempts.
The problem with most cover letters is that you cover up your brain magic, rather than celebrating it. But with a little work to stir your brain magic to infuse it into your job application, and we’re here to help you with that. Read on for our top cover letter writing tips, and even our template for bringing your brain magic out in your ideal cover letter.
Share your story in your cover letter.
Employers aren’t just hiring workers, they’re hiring people, and they want to know you’ll fit in. Share a little bit of yourself in your cover letter that explains how you personally connect with the job and/or the company. This isn’t about selling your skills or your experience, this is about showing the employer in 1-2 sentences why you’ll be passionate about your work.
For example, if I was applying to write for a sports magazine, I might mention that I played tennis throughout high school and that the teamwork of playing doubles with a partner taught me to love being a part of a collaborative team. There was no way for me to win without supporting my partner to play the best we could together.
And if this sounds daunting, don’t worry! Our cover letter worksheet below will help to stir up your brain magic, so you find a way to personally connect with your future job.
Keep it brief.
As Shakespeare said, “brevity is the soul of wit.”
And it turns out, it’s also the soul of cover letters. You don’t want to intimidate a hiring manager by giving them a novel to read. Even though we know that you want to make as much of a case as possible, less is often more when it comes to getting someone to actually read your cover letter. The key is to say as much as possible in only a few words.
Format your letter with lots of line breaks, so paragraphs look brief. And try to focus your comments on 2-3 of your most relevant skills, rather than address all of the details of the job description. Our handy template below will show you how long a great cover letter should be, and our worksheet will help you focus your letter.
Start by explaining your strongest skill or experience that makes you perfect for the job.
It should be obvious that you should put your best foot forward, but some people don’t think about this. Sometimes your whole cover letter won’t even get read, so put your best stuff in top position to get their eyes on it as best you can.
For example, if I were applying for the same sports magazine above, I would mention my writing work for HelloGiggles first, and I would specifically mention (and probably link to) the many articles I did covering the Olympics in 2016. That’s about as relevant a sample as I have for sports writing, which makes it a strong position to start from.
Check out our cover letter worksheet below to help you find your biggest strength and how to highlight it.
Turn any weaknesses or weirdnesses on your resume into a positive.
If you have something on your resume that makes you worry that seeing it will make them question your fit for the job, get out if front of it. You can apply almost any skill into almost any job. This is especially crucial for those who are trying to pivot or change careers. If your resume looks different from others that might be applying, so it’s your job to explain why that uniqueness is actually a strength.
For me, the glaring weirdness on my resume is my work in kids television. If I’m seeking more online writing jobs, my stint in TV may look unusual. However, my deep knowledge of video content and scriptwriting actually makes me an ideal candidate, because almost everyone wants to make a push into video, so I use my experience to explain that I have a brain both for writing and for the more visual world of video. Weirdness turned on its head, and believe me, I include that in most of my cover letters.
Use our worksheet below to get help turning your weirdness into a strength.
Your cover letter should expand on your resume, rather than repeating it.
Because you want to be brief in your cover letter, you want to make sure that it and your resume compliment each other, rather than repeating each other. When talking about your strengths and experience, try not to simply repeat what it says on your resume. Instead, find the impact those strengths will have on your future work.
For my fictitious sports writing application, I wouldn’t just say that I had written articles for HelloGiggles about the Olympics, I would also include, “so I know how to blend coverage and commentary to make the reader feel like they were watching the event themselves.” With that second half of a sentence, I’ve made an even bolder statement about how valuable my experience is.
Don’t worry, our worksheet will help you find the iwe’ll help you figure out how to word things correctly using our cover letter worksheet.
Spend your time wisely.
There’s no denying that cover letters take time, but job hunts are often a numbers game. So our best advice is to spend your time wisely. When you land on a job opportunity that fits you perfectly and gets you excited, spend the time to tailor your cover letter perfectly. For some of the other jobs that might be great, but you can’t tell from the job description or you’re not sure if you’re a perfect fit, keep things a little more vague.
We recommend having your cover letter template written, so all you have to do is tweak it for each application. And the amount you tweak the letter should correspond to how much you want the job. We always encourage ladies to apply for any job that sounds interesting, so don’t let the time commitment of writing a perfectly tailored cover letter get in the way. Although I have gotten great responses from jobs when I carefully shaped a cover letter for a particular job, I have also gotten exciting opportunities from an application I just flung out there. You never know what will work, so why not just try?