Resume Tips

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How to Do a Cover Letter for a Resume

Get one step closer to landing the job with a killer cover letter
Resume Tips

PeopleImages via Getty Images

Cover letters can be one of the most crucial elements in a job application. While they can have more or less importance in the hiring process across different fields and industries, many applications still require them. Even if they don't, including a cover letter can be a way for candidates to further promote themselves and their skills.

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Let's start with the basics. A cover letter is a one-page document that you send along with your resume when you apply for a job. The purpose of a cover letter is to build a bridge between yourself and the hiring manager by explaining in a personable but professional way why your skills and experience make you a strong candidate for the position. 

There are four main components of a cover letter. First is a greeting. If possible, address your letter to a specific person if they're mentioned in the job listing or you're able to find the name of the company's hiring manager.

Next comes the opening paragraph. Whoever is reading your cover letter might not make it all the way through, so don't save the best for last. Load up the opening paragraph with highlights of the skills and experience you bring to the table, and then expand on those elements in subsequent paragraphs.

The body of your cover letter is where you go into detail about your skills as well as your career goals, working style and more that make you a good fit for the position and the company. Then comes the closing. This should be a summary reiterating all the elements in your cover letter. End your cover letter by including your contact information.

A good cover letter should say things beyond what's already listed on your resume. For example, this is your chance to explain how your own goals and values align with the company's or to demonstrate your soft skills that are harder to quantify, such as time management.

A cover letter should also focus less on how much you want the job and more on the ways you could benefit the team or the contributions you can make to the company. You should also try to repeat certain keywords or skills from the job listing and directly address how you meet those qualifications. 


While each cover letter should be specifically catered to the job and company you are applying to, crafting a cover letter template that you can use is just one of the steps you should take before applying for a new job.