How to Create an Outstanding Cover Letter

Apr 13, 2023

Are cover letters still relevant in 2023? The answer is a resounding “yes”! While writing tailored cover letters can be time-consuming and even irritating, they can make all the difference. Even now, more companies are requiring cover letters to learn why candidates are applying to their jobs – and how much research those candidates have done on the company.

Not only can you highlight your knowledge of the company, you can also showcase key information about yourself, your skills, and other details that won’t fit into your resume. Follow our “HIRED” formula to create an outstanding cover letter.

H is for Hiring Manager

It’s important to address the correct person at the beginning of your cover letter. This is typically the hiring manager for the position, but is sometimes a recruiter. To determine the correct person, there are several clues you can use.

If the job is posted on LinkedIn, check to see who the poster is. This is highlighted in every job listing. If it is a post on another job board, you can look for an email address to which you should send your information. This is often the hiring manager’s email address.
But what if the email address is a generic one for the company? You can take things a step further by searching for the company’s page on LinkedIn and reviewing the list of people who work there. If you are applying for a job in the IT department, look to see who the director of the department is. That’s the person you can include on your cover letter.

If all this fails, it is appropriate to address the cover letter “Dear hiring manager.”

I is for Information

We all want to share the most information we can to entice the hiring manager to invite us for an interview. But in the case of a cover letter, less is more. The key is to be strategic about the information you share and put it to work for you.

Make sure your contact information is correct and includes your name, email address, and website. (Your website can be your LinkedIn profile, an online portfolio, or another appropriate work-related website that you own.) You can also include your phone number and location if you prefer.

Next, you want to share why you are applying to this specific role. This is a chance to show that you’ve done your research on the company and explain a short backstory of why you are a good fit for the position. Emphasis on short!

R is for Reference

Any reference points you can include will strengthen your cover letter. These would be statistics that illustrate your impact in previous positions and organizations. By showing concrete numbers, you’re providing a stronger foundation for your case to be hired.

E is for Examples

Along with the concrete evidence, you can highlight any skills or experience that directly relate to the role through specific examples. Provide a brief recount of all that has led you to the point of being ready to accept the responsibilities and challenges of the position.

Within your examples, use descriptive statements and avoid cliches. For example, “I led a coding project for the company’s finance department that culminated in a cohesive Java program to solve an issue with billing.” Don’t label yourself as a “team player” or any other overused terms that underplay your value. Instead, focus on specific feedback from your supervisor and peers.

D is for Determination

Finish your cover letter with an emphasis on your enthusiasm and commitment to the role and company. Share your excitement to proceed to the next step – the interview!

A strong finish is going to round out your first impression and will leave no doubt that you have chosen to pursue this role (as opposed to sending out blanket applications). An impressive way to end your cover letter is to quote the company’s mission, vision, or values. You can then quickly relate this information to your interest in joining the company. The key is to show your determination in going after your ideal role!

Written by: Alessandra Cespedes & Sarah Perlman

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