They say that nothing’s perfect. Challenge that by writing the perfect cover letter to get the perfect job.
You’re sitting down and you want your cover letter to be perfect.
But what does that mean? Is it about layout? Margins? Wording? There’s so much to think about that it can make your head spin.
But rest easy, we have a few expert pointers to give you to make sure your cover letter is so great that hiring managers will be framing it and hanging it up in their office.
Let’s get started on writing a perfect cover letter.
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So here’s how to write the perfect cover letter:
1. Choose the Perfect Cover Letter Format and Layout
No one is going to pay much attention to the content of your cover letter if it looks like it got placed in a pigsty. You need to make your perfect cover letter presentable if you want it to catch the attention that it deserves.
How do you do that?
- Choose a cover letter template that looks professional and modern and suits the industry that you’re applying to.
- Use a crisp and modern cover letter font that’s easy to read. Use 12 pt for the majority of your text.
- Save some white space on the page. If recruiters see a huge wall of text to read, they’ll just skip it.
- Use 1” cover letter margins on all sides of the page.
- Use 1 or 1.15 line spacing so that your sentences aren’t too crammed together.
- Double space between your cover letter paragraphs. It makes the whole of your letter easier to read and also makes a nice transition between paragraphs.
- Left align the entirety of your perfect cover letter.
Now let’s move on to the content.
2. Start Off With the Perfect Header
Think of your cover letter header as your business card— it should be clean, professional, and have all the information needed to get in touch with you in a flash.
So how do you make sure that your cover letter header is sharp, clean, and no nonsense?
- Make sure your contact information is clearly labelled.
- Never forget to add your full name, phone number, and email address— they’re an absolute must. Make sure recruiters can reach you via your number throughout the day. Include a professional looking email address (not email@example.com).
- Include additional information that could prove useful, such as your LinkedIn profile, website address, or online portfolio.
- Only add relevant information. Municipal transport recruiters aren’t all that interested in your digital art portfolio.
3. Address Your Perfect Cover Letter Professionally
Right now, about 80% of you will just toss in “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager” and happily move on. Let’s not even get started on “Dear Sir or Madam.”
But that’s all a no-no. Address your cover letter generically and your reply will be just as generic. Instead, put a little effort into it to show that you care when you’re thinking about your cover letter salutation.
Search the job ad, Google, the company website, or simply call the company in order to get the hiring manager’s name. If you still turn up empty-handed, use “Dear Hiring Manager” or something similar.
When formatting your cover letter address, use these tips:
- Keep your name and contact information at the top of your cover letter.
- Add the current date after that.
- Enter the company details: name of the hiring manager, name of the company, address of the company
- Double-space and include your professional cover letter salutation.
The perfect cover letter always starts off with this format and makes it look smart and professional, much like this:
Perfect Cover Letter Salutation
1225 Columbine Drive
Sacramento, CA 92505
May 12, 2019
Mr. Andrew Towers
Head of HR
19 Price Avenue
Sacramento, CA 94591
Dear Mr. Towers,
4. Tailor Your Cover Letter Like You Would Your Resume
So far, it’s been pretty easy to find out what you should include in a good cover letter. Now we’re going to level up into writing content about you. But before we jump into that, know that it doesn’t matter what you write if your cover letter isn’t tailored to the job and your resume.
Use the job ad as a guide as to what they’re looking for in a perfect candidate. This will give your bonus points with the ATS system which will most probably be looking for those exact words to tell the hiring manager that there’s a match.
Also use action verbs to add some energy to your cover letter and demonstrate that you’re proactive and involved.
Read more: What to Include in a Cover Letter
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your resume here.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
5. Introduce Yourself in Your First Cover Letter Paragraph
At this point another 80% of you will be thinking “oh, that’s easy, I’ll just start off with ‘I’m writing in regards to…’.”
That is definitely not the way to start off the perfect cover letter. Hiring managers already know that you’re writing to them about a job. They even know that when you’re writing a cold cover letter and there is no job opening. Again, generic openings generate generic replies.
Instead, start off with a “hook.”
Drop an accomplishment or personal, engaging story at the beginning to entice the hiring manager to read on. If applicable, you can also mention your warm and fuzzy feelings for the company as the reason for applying. If you know someone at the company who has recommended working there, mention their name at the beginning of your cover letter.
Those are only a few suggestions of writing a creative, engaging beginning. One thing is for sure though, a perfect cover letter starts off with a bang and is always tailored to the job description.
Here’s an example:
Perfect Cover Letter Introduction
Thomson & Thomson’s constant commitment to making digital education more accessible to low income families is why I’m so excited to apply for this position. My six years of experience in e-learning connected with my passion for teaching children have always driven me forward in my dream to make digital education a norm. I’d love to help that dream become a reality at Thomson & Thomson.
6. Explain Why You’re the Candidate They Need
Rehashing your resume isn’t enough. In fact, it’s the absolute worst way to go if you want to write the perfect cover letter.
Think of the body for your cover letter as an opportunity to really deep dive into what you’ve already mentioned in your resume through specific examples and stories. Show the recruiter that you’re what the company needs.
It all ties back into tailoring to the job ad.
Let’s say that the job ad is looking for a senior marketing coordinator who knows how to navigate digital sales and can work with other teams to drive common strategy.
Here’s what the second paragraph of the best cover letter would look like:
Perfect Cover Letter Middle
In my current role as marketing coordinator for YX Inc., I’ve been responsible for both implementing and managing over 11 marketing campaigns across all digital platforms and social media. This year, my key goal was to implement a long-term digital sales strategy that would work within the intricacies of all major social media platforms without the necessity of editing for each platform individually. I’m happy to say that it exceeded our wildest expectations—not only did sales and CTR increase by 23%, both the sales and marketing teams saved a lot of time on editing and were able to focus on other priorities.
Digital sales? Check. Working with other teams? Check. Is this candidate going to be asked in for an interview? Triple check.
Read more: The Best Cover Letter Tips
7. Explain Why You’re Interested in Their Company and Make an Offer
This is something that you probably heard from your parents at least once in your life— it’s not all about you. Companies want to hear why you would be a good fit to their team and why you want to work for them. After “why do you want to work here” is one of the most common interview questions.
So how do you do that and still sound genuine and not desperate?
The best way to do that is to drop a company fact. Mention company values or elements of culture that you share. Also include why you would enjoy working with them. You’re trying to show that this job isn’t just a random one for you.
Here’s an example of how to do that:
Perfect Cover Letter Body
Acme Inc. has always been committed to the constant development and implementation of green energy solutions. With both a professional background in biology and eco-friendly waste management, as well as my personal passion for saving the planet, the opportunity to work for Acme would be more than exciting.
That sounds like a perfect fit between the candidate and Acme!
But you can’t just end there. Add a compelling call to action or an offer. Suggest a call at their convenience to discuss your skills and experience further. It’s a relatively small detail, but it can go a long way.
Here’s what that would look like when you’re writing the perfect cover letter:
Perfect Cover Letter Call to Action
I would love to jump on a call next week with you to discuss how my office management skills could help QQ move forward with their three new locations.
8. Choose the Right Cover Letter Closing
Choosing your cover letter closing is just as important as picking the right cover letter salutation. After all, why write the perfect cover letter if you’re just going to end it with “bye”?
Choose a professional closing to close your cover letter, such as “kind regards” or “sincerely”. Write your full name beneath that. For a personal touch, add a digital signature if you have one.
If the job ad is asking for extra documents, make sure to include a professional cover letter enclosure.
9. Proofread Your Cover Letter
One of the worst things that can happen is that you put a ton of effort and care into your perfect cover letter, but leave it full of typos. For hiring managers, spelling mistakes and typos on cover letters and resumes are one of the most annoying things they face from candidates.
Use your built-in word processing spell checker to check for obvious typos. You can also use a tool like Grammarly to double check whether you have your words and grammar right.
Though these tools are helpful, they’re not foolproof. Give your cover letter a read out loud or give it to someone else to read in order to catch errors that you or your tools might have missed before.
10. Write a Killer Companion Resume
A perfect resume and a perfect cover letter combine to form the perfect duo to help you get your dream job.
Your resume will be able to go into more detail about your skills and job experience than your cover letter can.
Read more: The Perfect Resume in 8 Easy Steps
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here’s what it may look like:
If you want to write the perfect cover letter, you need to remember these tips:
- Choose the perfect cover letter layout and formatting.
- Start off with a good cover letter header.
- Address your perfect cover letter in a professional manner.
- Tailor your cover letter to the position you’re applying for.
- Introduce yourself in the first paragraph.
- Explain why you’re the best one to hire in your second paragraph.
- Explain why the company and you and the perfect match.
- Choose the right cover letter closing.
- Proofread to make sure your cover letter looks great.
- Write a killer resume to match your perfect cover letter.
Now that you know how to write a perfect cover letter, go get that dream job with it!