What is the Anatomy of a Great Cover Letter?

John Krautzel
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A great cover letter is an essential part of your job search. It introduces you to hiring managers and frequently remains on file, serving as a reminder of who you are and what skills you bring to an organization. A poorly crafted cover letter might eliminate you from the candidate pool if other similarly qualified candidates have strong, perfectly tailored letters, so make sure your letter has a great structure from start to finish.

Professional Format

Even if you are emailing your cover letter, it is a good idea to format it professionally, as many job recruiters print the cover letters of top candidates. Start your letter with your name and address, followed by the date and then the address of the recipient, double spacing between sections. Use the same font on your resume for consistency.

Personalized Greeting

Take the time to find out the name of the person responsible for hiring decisions, and address that person directly in your greeting. This is often the same person who made the job posting, but you can also review the company's website or LinkedIn to find this information.

Opening Connection

The first paragraph of a great cover letter should clearly state the position you are applying for and explain what makes you a uniquely qualified candidate. Get right to the point, and avoid vague statements and cliches. Make a specific connection between your passions and the position, and express your excitement about the possibility of working for the organization.

Relevant Examples

In the second paragraph, describe how your previous experiences prepared you for the position, and be specific. For example, explain how your creative campaign won over an important client instead of simply stating that you developed creative campaigns. You don't want the recruiter to stop reading due to boredom, so keep your examples interesting. Also, include examples not mentioned in your resume. Add a second paragraph if you have more than one example you'd like to highlight, but make sure your cover letter is not longer than one page.

Plans for Follow Up

In the last paragraph, thank the reader, and insert details on how you intend to follow up. For example, state that you plan to call back in a week in case they need more information. Add your preferred contact details in this section, and include any links to online portfolios or professional social media profiles in case the hiring manager wants to learn more about you.


Finish your great cover letter with a simple closing, such as "sincerely" and your signature. Have someone proofread the document to check for grammar or spelling areas. A great cover letter should not have simple flaws that are easy to fix.

A great cover letter follows a formal structure while creatively highlighting your experience and aptitude for the position. Crafting great cover letters is an essential part of the job search process, so take the time to do it right to increase your chance of landing an interview.

Photo courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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