How to Write a Killer Cover Letter

If you’ve applied for a job, you’ve written a cover letter and know how daunting it can be. But it’s a significant first hurdle to overcome, and it sets the tone for your job hunt. Here are a few steps you can follow to craft a cover letter that will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.

Step 1: Personalize 

Each application needs to be specific to the company/position you are applying for. Employers will discount any obvious copy-and-paste cover letters from the application pile, and there’s nothing worse than pasting the wrong employer’s name at the beginning of your letter. Instead of writing “To whom it may concern,” find out exactly who you are writing to and use their name. The letter needs to feel personal and sincere.

Step 2: Introduce yourself

This seems obvious, but some people miss it! State your name and profession, and include relevant information about who you are and what makes you you. Again, make it personal. 

Step 3: State why you are writing and where you found the application details

This step may seem redundant, but I promise it is important. Simply stating which position you are applying for can make the application process easier for employers. Stating where you found the application informs employers that you may have ties with certain organizations, are resourceful and determined, or have a special interest in their organization.  

Step 4: State your special interests and how they are relevant to the position

Tell the reader about your special interests and skills. Help them understand what you offer their organization and why they should hire you. Tell them what you bring to the table; are you a team player? An excellent communicator? Do any of your passions align with the job description?

Step 5: Talk about the company you are applying to 

Do your research and show what you know. Explain what about the company and position interests you. Show the employer you are excited about this company and this position, not just any job. Then, relate your research back to you–your interests, passions, practices, etc.– to illustrate why you are the correct fit for the position. For example: “This company is dedicated to sustainability practices, which I have been passionate about since the beginning of my career.”

Step 6: Talk about your education and experience

This is perhaps the most important step. Talk about past work experiences, skills, and knowledge relevant to the position you are applying for. Discuss your education and specific courses that may interest the potential employer. Stick to 1-2 elements of your resume and discuss them in-depth without exceeding one page for your cover letter.

Step 7: Thank the reader for their time and restate your interest in the position

Not only good manners but also shows your determination to get the position. Work to instill a sense of eagerness and seriousness without appearing pushy or desperate. In a new paragraph, try something similar: “I look forward to speaking to you further about the position” or “I would love the opportunity to answer any questions you may have regarding my application.”

Step 8: Sign off

You’ve reached the end! Leave them with the name they need to call for the interview. The most common sign-off is: 


Your Name. 

Congratulations! You have completed a cover letter that will make you stand out in the pile. At this stage, you should have a clear and concise cover letter that is one page and demonstrates your strong written communication skills.