The recipe for a perfect cover letter
Hungry for a new job? Follow this step-by-step video for a cover letter employers won't be able to resist.
Great food is all about great recipes and great ingredients. Whether you're preparing an apple pie or beef Wellington, you can't just toss in a bunch of processed junk in any old order and expect it to taste good.
That's equally true of cover letters: The best ones are carefully crafted with just the right mix of information, following just the right formula.
So instead of making it up as you go and hoping for the best (remember that impromptu meatloaf you made?), watch the easy-to-follow recipe video below to help you cook up the most delicious cover letter ever. You'll leave recruiters drooling to hear more.
- 1 proper salutation, addressed to a specific person
- 1 extra spicy opening sentence
- 2-3 references to job and company, thinly sliced
- Ample proof you're the perfect fit
- 2-3 bursts of enthusiasm
- Tone reflecting the company's culture
- Grab your food...er, word processor and start with a targeted salutation—yes, you should try to find out the hiring manager's name. Remember to use a colon for business letters. Example: "Dear Mr. Smith:"
- Next, craft an opening sentence that compels the reader to lean in close and get a good whiff. That opener should hint at why you want this job and why you're the perfect candidate. Example: "In my previous position, I sold dirt...for millions of dollars."
- To prove you've done your homework (and didn't just send over a generic form letter), throw in a few well-selected references to the job or company to which you're applying. Example: "I saw the latest feature on your company in Cool Jobs magazine, and think you're doing some fascinating work."
- Top it off with proof, drawn from your experiences, that you're the perfect candidate for the job. Example: "In my current role, I've increased revenue by over 19%—and I don't even have your company's robust access to time travel technology."
- Hit the "purée" button and watch it all come together.
- You're not done yet. Review what you've written and look for places to express actual enthusiasm for the job at hand (imagine that!), and edit as needed to make sure your tone reflects the company's culture. Meaning: If you're applying for a position with the IRS, don't write it the same way you would for a job at Forever 21.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until contents are golden brown and compulsively readable.