How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

You probably read the title of this blog and asked yourself
“Do I really NEED to have a Cover Letter?“ 

Well, I’ll be completely honest, usually not, but sometimes you will!
And that’s why, it is good to have a cover letter template ready to go.  

pssst…I’ll tell you a secret. 
I have been in recruitment for more than 15 years and I’ve read zero cover letters —Literally zero. 

I mean, I have read my client’s cover letters of course, as a Career Coach when I am working to improve them but as a recruiter, nope.  

Why am I suggesting you have a cover letter handy?

Because in some instances cover letters are used to thin out candidates, so submitting one is a requirement to be shortlisted. Simply put, they can help differentiate who is REALLY interested in the role.  

Also, by the time candidates are shortlisted, to the top 5, the profiles may be passed on to the hiring manager who may actually read the cover letter in its entirety since there is less to go through. 

Why it’s worth having a strong template handy. 

So, if I’ve convinced you that it’s worth having a cover letter handy, keep on the ready —Read on!

The most common improvement I suggest to my clients is to open their cover letter with a statement as to why they are interested in a role versus why they want the job. 

They already know you want the job, you’re applying for it. ? Make it feel more like storytelling and mention a personal connection to the brand.

Never use: To Whom It May Concern or Dear Sir/Madam

This phrasing is old-fashioned and dare I say…boring! If you can’t figure out who the hiring manager or recruiter is, then use something like: To the Talent Acquisition Team OR Marketing Department (whichever department you are reaching out to).

Get your Creative Juices Flowing 

  1. Start with your passion and how it relates to the role.
    For Example: I have been helping people write their resume and land their dream job for over 15 years! So when I saw this opportunity, I got very excited as I would love to be paid for something I am already passionate about!
  2. Start with why you love this company combined with a personal experience. 
    For Example: Although I’m happily employed as a Communications Manager at COMPANY, when I came across this job description for POSITION at COMPANY it stopped me in my tracks! I have been a customer for over 5 years and would love to be part of your creative team!
  3. Start with a unique skill or accomplishment that directly relates to the role.
    For Example: Among my executive team, I’m the go-to person to resolve any operational issues no matter how intimidating it may seem. This is why I know I would be a perfect fit for your Senior Manager, Operations role at COMPANY. Plus I have already worked in this industry for over 10 years!

Keep Their Attention

  • Keep it short and sweet — ¾ page is the perfect length.
  • Add some bullet points — when mentioning how you are relevant to the role so that it is easier to digest (just like I’m doing right now!)
  • Maintain your own brand. Make sure your cover letter looks like your resume, same font, same header, etc.
  • Keyword optimization — highlight keywords from the job description and make sure they are infused in your cover letter (and resume too!)
  • For the meat of your cover letter — answer some of the following:
    • How am I relevant for this role?
    • Why am I passionate/interested in this industry?
    • What makes me the best at what I do?
    • What are my relevant experiences/accomplishments/education?
    • How is this role aligned to my career goals?
  • Close with a bang. Reiterate your passion for the company and/or position and relevant skills

And that’s it!
Now you can start building a cover letter template that is ready to go when you need it!

With gratitude ?

Jen Rose Narayan, Career + Purpose Coach


[email protected]