How to write a cover letter that stands out⏱️ 6 min read

How to write a cover letter that stands out

With the cutthroat competition in the job market, it’s crucial to write a cover letter that stands out and grabs hiring managers’ attention, and distinguishes you from the competition, as several candidates are vying for the same position.

You can develop an engaging narrative highlighting your potential and making a solid first impression by incorporating your unique abilities, experiences, and sincere passion for the position. In this article, I’ll review the key tactics and tips you need to know to write a cover letter that stands out from others.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a brief document that goes with your resume when applying for a job. The primary aim of the cover letter is to introduce you to the hiring manager, express your enthusiasm for the position to them, and emphasize your qualifications and background that make you suitable for the job. A well-crafted cover letter can make you more noticeable among other applicants and improve your likelihood of securing an interview.

The importance of a cover letter in a job application

  • Introduces you and expresses your interest in the position: It gives you a chance to convey who you are and why you are excited about this opportunity to the hiring manager. Additionally, you can use this letter to highlight your relevant skills and experience.
  • Demonstrate alignment with the company: This is the perfect space to showcase your enthusiasm and illustrate how you can be a valuable asset to their team. You can also share how you resonate with their values and express your passion for their products or services.
  • Address gaps or weaknesses in your resume: If there are any concerns about certain aspects of your resume, your cover letter allows you to address them. For instance, you can explain any employment gaps and explain their reasons, ensuring the hiring manager understands the context.
  • Showcase your writing skills: Hiring managers appreciate candidates who can write clearly and concisely, so use this to demonstrate your proficiency in written communication.

Key components of a cover letter

Key components of a cover letter
  • Header: Include your contact information, the date, and the name and position of the person you are addressing in this section.
  • Salutation: It’s a formal greeting like Dear Mr. X or Dear Hiring Manager to address the person.
  • Introduction: In this paragraph, briefly introduce yourself and state your motivation for writing. Mentioning your source for learning about the position’s opening and indicating your interest in it are both smart moves.
  • Body: In this section, you can discuss your qualifications and work history. Ensure to draw attention to your particular abilities and experience for the position you are applying for. It’s also an excellent place to discuss why you are interested in the organization and what you hope to accomplish in the work.
  • Signature: It should include your name, signature, and the last designation you were at (if applicable).

How to write a killer cover letter

Tailoring your cover letter to the specific job and company shows the hiring manager that you are genuinely interested in the position and have taken the time to learn about their company. Here are some other tips for writing a killer cover letter.

Researching the company and position

You can make your cover letter more relevant to the organization’s needs and show your sincere interest by fully comprehending its goals, values, and culture. To gather insightful information, review the company’s website, social media profiles, recent news, and any other resources available.

Understanding the job requirements and expectations

It’s essential to match your qualifications, experiences, and achievements with what the job description and requirements are asking for. Take the time to read and understand them carefully. When you show familiarity with the company and the specific job, it demonstrates your dedication, ability to adapt, and preparedness.

Tailoring your cover letter to the job

Customizing your cover letter demonstrates your genuine interest in the position and showcases how your skills and experiences align with what the company seeks. It allows you to highlight specific achievements and qualifications directly related to the job, making your application more compelling and relevant.

However, you should only proceed after doing extensive research on the organization and clearly understanding its expectations for the position. Follow the steps outlined below to tailor your cover letter for the job.

Writing a compelling opening paragraph

The introduction gives you the first chance to capture the reader’s interest and leave a lasting impression. Start by emphasizing your enthusiasm for the position and demonstrating your familiarity with the company’s mission, core principles, and most recent accomplishments.

Consider adding a brief statement or personal anecdote highlighting your pertinent knowledge or experiences. You can immediately capture the reader’s attention and lay the groundwork for a compelling and persuasive cover letter by demonstrating your sincere interest in the position and connecting your goals with the company’s.

Showcasing your skills and experiences

Carefully studying the job description and researching the company allows you to identify the key skills and experiences they value most. This information then becomes the foundation for customizing your cover letter. Moreover, personalizing your cover letter demonstrates your genuine interest in the job and the company.

Highlighting relevant accomplishments, projects, or responsibilities that directly relate to the job will grab the hiring manager’s attention and demonstrate your suitability for the role. It shows that you’ve tried to understand their needs and how you can contribute.

Demonstrating cultural fit

How well you fit into the company’s values, work culture, and overall organizational culture is referred to as your cultural fit. You can effectively communicate your suitability for the position and raise your chances of standing out as a candidate by demonstrating your understanding and appreciation of the company’s culture.

You can conduct in-depth research on the business, taking note of its mission, values, and any recent initiatives or projects to demonstrate cultural fit. Utilize this information in your cover letter by emphasizing particular experiences, abilities, or character traits that fit their culture.

Closing strongly

The concluding paragraph of your cover letter is your final opportunity to impress the hiring manager and discuss your qualifications for the job. In your last section, focus on your noteworthy accomplishments and life experiences demonstrating your capabilities.

Express your excitement for the chance and your desire to help the team succeed. Show how your knowledge and experience fit with the company’s principles, objectives, and mission. Finally, thank the reader for their time and consideration while assuring that the position perfectly fits your qualifications and experience.

Formatting and proofreading

The last step in writing a cover letter to help you stand out is Formatting and proofreading. Formatting plays a vital role in enhancing the visual appeal of your cover letter, making it appear polished and professional. This includes important decisions regarding font selection, font size, spacing, and alignment.

On the other hand, proofreading is a careful review of your cover letter to detect and correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation, or syntax errors. Through proofreading, you ensure that your cover letter is correct, ensuring its quality and accuracy.

Tips to write a cover letter that stands out

Remember to showcase your unique qualifications, demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role and company, and be tailored to the specific job requirements to make a cover letter that stands out. By incorporating the tips described below, you’ll increase your chances of grabbing the attention of hiring managers and landing an interview.

1. Start with a confident and positive tone

Begin your cover letter with a solid opening sentence that grabs the reader’s attention and sets a positive tone. Show enthusiasm for the position and the company, highlighting your key qualifications and achievements.

Example: “I am excited to apply for the [Position] at [Company], as my skills in [relevant skill] and passion for [industry] make me a strong fit for this opportunity.”

2. Avoid generic statements and clichés

Avoid using generic statements that could apply to any candidate. Instead, focus on showcasing your unique qualifications and experiences. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and achievements. This will make your cover letter more engaging and memorable.

Example: Instead of saying, “I am a highly motivated and detail-oriented professional,” provide a specific example highlighting your motivation and attention to detail. For instance, “During my previous role at [Company], I successfully managed a project with tight deadlines and multiple stakeholders, demonstrating my exceptional motivation and meticulous attention to detail.”

3. Use keywords throughout your cover letter

Review the job description and company website to identify essential keywords related to the position. Incorporate these keywords strategically throughout your cover letter to demonstrate that you understand the requirements and align your skills with the role. This will also help your cover letter pass through automated applicant tracking systems.

Example: If the job description mentions “strong communication skills” as a requirement, incorporate phrases like “effectively communicate,” “clear and concise communication,” or “collaborate with cross-functional teams” to highlight your proficiency in this area.

4. Seek feedback from others and make changes as needed

After drafting your cover letter:

  1. Seek feedback from trusted friends, family, or mentors.
  2. Ask them to review your letter for clarity, coherence, and overall impact.
  3. Incorporate their suggestions and make any necessary revisions to improve your cover letter.

Example: Ask for specific feedback on areas such as the overall tone, the clarity of your qualifications, and whether your cover letter effectively captures the reader’s attention.

Sample for how to write a cover letter that stands out

Below are some of the examples that can help you write a cover letter that stands out.

Sample cover letter for a software engineering job

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Software Engineering position at [Company Name], as advertised on [Source of Job Listing]. As a recent graduate in Computer Science specializing in Frontend and Backend Web Development, I am eager to contribute my technical skills and knowledge to [Company Name]'s success.

I have a solid foundation in software development, with proficiency in frontend technologies like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and frameworks such as React and Angular. Additionally, I have experience with server-side technologies like Node.js, Express.js, and PHP for backend development, enabling me to create dynamic and interactive web applications.

Furthermore, I possess a strong understanding of database management systems, specifically SQL and MySQL. Through projects and coursework, I have designed and optimized databases, written complex queries, and ensured data integrity, making me confident in handling data-driven projects.

In addition to technical skills, I prioritize effective collaboration and problem-solving. I have gained experience working in team environments and collaborating with cross-functional teams through academic and personal projects. I am an excellent communicator, delivering high-quality results within tight deadlines.

[Company Name] stands out to me due to its commitment to innovation and impact in the software industry. I am excited about joining a team of talented engineers and contributing to developing cutting-edge software solutions.

Thank you for considering my application. I have attached my resume for your review, providing further details about my skills, academic projects, and work experience. During an interview, I would like to discuss how my qualifications align with [Company Name]'s needs in more detail.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to the possibility of working with [Company Name] to create innovative software solutions. Please feel free to contact me via email or phone at your convenience.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Sample cover letter for a content writer job

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I am thrilled to express my interest in the [Content Writer] position. Having served as a content writer at [Company Name], where I have authored over [X] articles, I have developed a deep passion and aptitude for writing about the world of technology, particularly within the Apple ecosystem.

My expertise encompasses various content formats, including informative how-to guides, evergreen articles with timeless appeal, engaging listicles, comprehensive product reviews, insightful feature analyses, and app reviews. I am eager to contribute my knowledge and enthusiasm to your team.

Working at [Company Name] has been an incredible journey, enabling me to acquire invaluable skills in crafting captivating and enlightening articles that genuinely resonate with readers. I have refined my ability to simplify and present complex topics clearly and compellingly, ensuring that individuals of all knowledge levels can easily comprehend and appreciate the content.

As a passionate writer, I intimately understand the platform and its intricacies. I can leverage this knowledge to offer valuable insights and guidance to readers. Whether it involves uncovering hidden features, identifying file paths, or recommending top-notch apps for Apple devices, I am confident in my capacity to deliver high-quality content that educates and empowers readers.

I have enclosed three articles that exemplify my writing prowess and expertise:

[Links to your three most successful articles]

Please take a moment to review my author profile on [Company Name], where you can explore more of my published work.

I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute to your mission of simplifying complex subjects for a diverse audience. Additionally, I am eager to join a vibrant community of like-minded enthusiasts and participate in your supportive and comprehensive training program.

Please find attached my resume for your reference.

Thank you for considering my application. I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to discuss my qualifications and experiences in more detail.

Best regards, 

[Your Name]

Get your dream job! 💼

Writing a cover letter that stands out can be challenging! But if you want to increase your chances of getting an interview, it is essential. Following the tips in this article, you can write a cover letter tailored to the specific job requirements, showcasing your unique qualifications and demonstrating your enthusiasm for the role and company.

FAQs

Q. What makes a good cover letter?

A good cover letter should be well-written, clear, concise, and tailored to the specific job you are applying for. It should highlight your skills and experience and explain your interest in the position. It would be best if you also took the time to research the company and address how your skills and experience would be a good fit for its culture and values.

Q. What mistakes should I avoid when writing a cover letter?

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a cover letter:
1. Writing a generic letter that could apply to any job.
2. Not personalizing your letter. 
3. Making baseless claims.
4. Using too much jargon or technical language.
5. Making grammatical or spelling errors.

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Bhaskar, a tech guru turned wordsmith, has taken an unconventional route in his career. Concealing his B.Tech degree in a dusty closet, he veered away from the corporate path to make technology accessible to all. Over the past 5 years, he has been delivering a plethora of how-to guides, insightful reviews, and sharp perspectives.

But there's more to Bhaskar's multifaceted talents. He's not just a tech enthusiast; he's also a witty and adept interview maestro, generously sharing his knowledge for the past 3 years. In addition to these roles, he has dedicated 1 year to sharpening his skills as an editor, ensuring that every piece he touches reaches the highest quality standards.

You can witness Bhaskar's work across various reputable platforms, including Guiding Tech, iGeeksBlog, iTechQueue, MakeUseOf (MUO), and more. Beyond his expertise in technology and writing, he's currently delving into marketing to assist newcomers in navigating the digital landscape.

When Bhaskar isn't passionately typing away on his trusty mechanical keyboard you might catch him strumming on strings or engaging in sports. Watch your Instagram feeds by evening as you'll likely find his inspiring quotes gracing your screen by then.

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