Let me cover the first question I often hear about cover letters before we go into tips for writing one: do you need to write a cover letter to apply for a job? Yes. Yes. Yes. Even if the job description doesn’t specifically ask for one, you need to write a cover letter to accompany your job application.
How to write a cover letter is the next question that almost always comes up during a job search, no matter how many cover letters you have written in the past. It seems that figuring out how to write a cover letter is a tough task—perhaps even more difficult than writing a resume for some people.
So is there a cover letter secret that can guarantee you will get an interview whenever you are applying with a prospective employer? I know of one magical key to include when you write a cover letter that can increase your chances of getting interviews by 50%.
What is it? Take a look at the cover letter guide below that you can use to write a great cover letter for hiring managers. By following this guide to writing a cover letter, you’ll attract the attention of the employer and have an effective cover letter that will increase your chance of getting an interview.
Writing Your Cover Letter: Asking for the Interview
It seems like asking the hiring manager for the interview would be common sense, but how many job seekers actually ask for the interview when writing a great cover letter? I’m not suggesting that you ask for the interview in the opening paragraph, but including an interview ask is important for having a good cover letter that also stands out. Including the ask isn’t considered rude, forward, or overly direct either! It’s simply asking for what you want—which in this case happens to be an interview. Why else would you be submitting a resume and cover letter?
There are several ways that you can appropriately include the ask, and below I’ll include some specific cover letter examples that you can revise to include when writing cover letters yourself. The important key to remember is to ask for the interview—and the best place to do so is in the closing paragraph at the bottom of your cover letter. This way, the reader will see it and notice it even if they are just skimming the letter.
Close your cover letter by sharing your interest and excitement about the position; use the position title exactly as listed in the job description, and then ask to meet the employer, hiring manager, or person in charge of hiring—in person. Go a step further by providing a phone number where they can reach you directly, and even your email address. You may have included this at the top of your resume already, but it doesn’t hurt to make your contact information as easily accessible as possible to a prospective employer.
By simply ASKING for the interview, you’ve already doubled the chances that you’ll get a call for one. You’re not only showing your direct interest in the position, you’re also showing that you have the communication skills to directly address the issue. If you follow up with the employer within a week to two weeks after submitting your resume and cover letter, you’ll increase your likelihood of an interview with the hiring manager by another substantial percentage.
Cover Letter Writing Examples
Here are a few examples of the various ways you can ask for the job interview:
I’m excited about the Marketing Director position with ABC Inc. and would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you in person regarding my experience, skills, accomplishments, and the specific value I can add to your team. Please call me at 555.555.5555 to schedule a personal interview at your convenience.
The Marketing Director position is a perfect fit for my background. I would love the opportunity to meet in person to discuss how my experience and qualifications can add value to ABC’s team. Please call me at 555.555.5555 to schedule an interview at your earliest convenience.
I’m very interested in the Marketing Director role with ABC, Inc. I believe my 10+ years of marketing experience with XYZ makes me the perfect candidate for this position. I would appreciate the opportunity to meet in person to discuss how I can make a positive impact on your bottom line. Please call me at 555.555.5555 or email me at MarketingDirectorStar@email.com to schedule an interview. I will follow up in one week to confirm your receipt of my cover letter and resume and to discuss a time and date for the interview.
My ability to rapidly deliver bottom-line results of 25%+ only adds to the value I can offer ABC, Inc. I would like to discuss these specific results and the many others I can offer you in a personal interview. I will follow up with a call on Tuesday to discuss a time and date we can meet to further explain the value I can bring to ABC, Inc.
Double your chances for the job interview by ASKING for it and then be sure to follow up with the employer if you’ve stated you will do so in your cover letter. It couldn’t hurt to follow up anyway one or two weeks after submitting it to ensure receipt of your resume and cover letter.
Cover Letter Writing Tips
Here are a few additional relevant tips for preparing your cover letter and resume:
– There are different types of cover letters—there are networking letters, academic cover letters, application cover letters, value proposition letters, recruiter cover letters, and a type of teaching statement or statement of interest in a potential employer.
– Cover letters need to be free of grammar errors and spelling errors. I would also advise you to avoid using Times New Roman font. It’s very overused. You can choose a different type of font when writing your cover letter.
– Cover letters are great places to address transferable skills if you’re wanting to make a career transition. You can discuss the position description and how your relevant skills and work experience are a great fit for the opening and position requirements.
– When writing about your skills and experience, use action verbs for an effective cover letter. Action verbs always work better for getting attention than dull clichés and lists of common job responsibilities or duties.
– Avoid using a cover letter template. (Ditto for a resume template.) If you go online to look for how to write a cover letter and you copy and paste the content from an online cover letter template, the human resources person scanning your cover letter will know it’s a template. Employers see them all the time and they all start the same: “To Whom It May Concern… I’m applying to your opening for a career counselor.” Or, “Dear Hiring Manager: I saw on Monster.com you’re hiring a career counselor with 10 years’ experience… Please accept this application…” Use a sample cover letter to guide your writing, but don’t just “Mad Lib” a cover letter by filling in the blanks with your information.
– Instead of starting your cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern,” an effective cover letter will start with the hiring manager or prospective employer’s name. Do your research on social media, LinkedIn, or the company website. Research is a very important part of having an effective cover letter.
– A great candidate with solid skills can write a strong cover letter by starting off with an intriguing rhetorical question. An example might be: “Do you need a digital marketer who can double or triple your website conversion rate?”
I can guarantee you that an opening paragraph with a question like that will definitely pique interest with an employer—especially when you end your cover letter with an appropriately strong ask for an interview.
Need a quick-start guide for adding high-impact words and action verbs to your cover letter and resume? Download your FREE PDF guide here it includes 178 action verbs and high-impact words you can use to improve your resume right now.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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