Updated: May 1, 2020
Cover letters are so incredibly important. They are the first things potential employers will see, or not see. It is a short letter-like document to include with your resume when you're applying to jobs or internships. It is an extension to your resume, summarizing who you are and how you can benefit the company. It is you're first selling point. If you don't have one or poorly execute it, your resume is likely being tossed in the trash pile with everyone else's.
A lot of the information you may need for both the cover letter and resume will be found on the job posting, the company's LinkedIn page, and their website. Here you can find what traits their looking for (so include some of those words!), the company's information, and possible connections you have that can help you get in touch with the company. Remember that each cover letter will be unique to each job application. Sure, you can have a basic format, however each experience or traits mentioned will vary. I have included the link to a sample cover letter you can use and customize for your own use. Now how do you actually make this cover letter?
First off, ensure it is in a professional letter format. By this, I mean include your own address and information, along with the company you're applying for. If you do not know the company's address, try to look at their website or LinkedIn. Also, introduce your hiring manager by Mr/Ms, and if you don't know who you're in contact with, address the letter to "hiring manager". It should look like... "Dear Mr.LastName:". Be sure to use a colon rather than a comma.
Now the letter itself should be kept short and divided in about three sections
The first paragraph should be about who you are, how you found out about this job position, and how you would benefit the company. Do not just make a general statement about what you're good at. No, construct a strong point as to why the company needs you. The second paragraph should be along the lines of what past jobs, internships, or even volunteering and school projects prove that you have experience dealing with some of the responsibilities you will hold in the position you are applying for. You can also demonstrate what you bring to the team, perhaps a great team leader, a hard worker, or any other traits. Again, feel free to use some of the terms listed in the job posting. The last paragraph should be your final statement and selling points. What is one last reason you or your experiences are needed in the company? Remember to thank the reader for taking time out of their busy day to look over your resume. Insert your contact information one last time as well at the end.
At the very end, include a final closing phrase such as... best regards or sincerely. Add a few spaces and type your name. Whether your sign it digitally or by pen, ensure you always have this cover letter signed as well.
I know that writing a cover letter may be intimidating. It might take you a couple hours to get a solid first draft. However once you do this, your chances of being hired exponentially grow. If you'd prefer to look at a sample while writing your own, feel free to download mine and change it up to fit your job position.