Tips for Job Seekers on Writing a Good Cover Letter

Make your case for why you’re a good fit for the job!

If you’re like many people, you don’t like writing cover letters. It can be difficult to figure out what to write in the first place, and then frustrating to rewrite your cover letter for every job application.

But, like it or not, cover letters are still an important part of the job application process. So take a few minutes to read these tips. Before long you’ll be well on your way to using this format to “sell yourself” for the job.

Keep it to 4 paragraphs

It’s easier to tackle this task if you follow this simple 4-paragraph formula:

  • Introduce yourself and mention the name of the job you’re applying for.
  • Talk about what skills and traits make you a strong candidate for the position.
  • Focus on the experience or education that qualifies you.
  • Thank the hiring manager for considering you, and mention that you’ll be following up in the next week.

Make some notes for yourself

Before you start writing, write down some notes about what makes you stand out, so you remember everything you want to include in the letter. Having that list can make the writing process easier.

Don’t just repeat your resume

You don’t need to list all of your previous jobs—your resume already does that! Instead, just summarize one or two of the key reasons the employer should hire you. Which experiences or educational achievements best highlight why you’re a good candidate? That’s what’s most important.

Focus on the employer

Your resume is a story about you, but a cover letter takes into account the employer and what you know about them. So do a little research and find out what you can about the company. Ask around and see if anyone you know has worked there or knows someone there. This information can help you write a cover letter that shows off that you’re a thoughtful and serious candidate who took the time to customize your application (rather than sending the same letter to everyone). Talk about how you can bring value to the organization, given its mission. Focus on how your skills can benefit the employer. Respond directly to what the posting says, and explain how you can fulfill the specific responsibilities of the position.

Ask for help

Get someone else to take a look at the letter before you send it. Whomever you ask—a friend, mentor, colleague—have them read over it and make suggestions. Ask: How do the paragraphs sound? Does the letter respond to what the job posting is looking for? Are there any problems with the spelling and grammar? If you’re are a student or recent graduate of a school that has a Career Development office, then take advantage of this resource. That’s what they’re there for!

Don’t forget your resume
The cover letter sets up the employer to read your resume, so make sure you’re aware of tricks to good resume writing. After all that work, you want to be sure to attach your resume! Attach it as either a Word file (.doc or .docx) or PDF format (.pdf).

Keep applying for other jobs
In the current economy there tend to be a lot of people applying for similar jobs, so you might need to apply to several different positions before someone contacts you for an interview. Don’t lose hope! Looking for a job is a process, and everyone has ups and downs. The more you keep your eyes open for new opportunities, the better your chances of finding something that could be a good fit.

We wish you the best of luck in your job search process!

This article was written by the American College for Medical Careers in Orlando, FL. We provide career training in the field of healthcare and allied health. For more information, fill out our simple online form.