7 Expert Things to Say in Your Cover Letter

what should your cover letter say

What should your cover letter say? The answer is simple but is going to take some time for you to think through. Effective cover letters often discuss a few points that propose why you are an effective candidate for the position.

Carefully implementing these communication strategies into your cover letter can change your cover letter from a generic one to a highly targeted, opportunistic business letter.

7 Things to Say In Your Cover Letter

An effective cover letter proposes these seven discussion points

Your understanding of their business culture

Propose the fact that you understand what their business values. Show the reader that you know their work ethic, their office culture values, and how they value their own work. Speak to that in the opening paragraph if you can. This will target your cover letter to the business and show you’re passionate about their business.

Your willingness to relocate or travel

If the job description mentioned travel, reinforce that you’re okay with travel. The frequent ask will be roughly 20% to 30% of your annual working hours that are committed toward travel. Speak to the fact that you’re okay with that.

Reinforcing your ability to relocate can be an effective way to show passion for the business and supporting that your interest is in working with them, regardless of the geography.

Your soft skills that are required for the job

In the job description, employers often list not only requirements or duties of the job but desired skill sets. These skills are considered either hard skills (like knowing computer programming languages) or soft skills (like knowing how to motivate others). Speak to the soft skills that the job requires.

Your previous work achievements

What have you accomplished? What’s significant? What can you share that will make you stand out as a candidate as well as show that you know how to perform the job to the nth degree? Share bullet points of your achievements as a way to support this idea to the reader.

Use anywhere from three to four impactful bullet points from any previous job experience that speaks to your ability to perform both the job and within the company.

Personalize your letter

Don’t say “To Whom It May Concern” when you address the cover letter. Instead, speak to the manager of the department you’re applying for or speak to the hiring manager if you can find their name through the job posting online or through LinkedIn.

If you don’t know the managers name or the hiring managers name, personalize the letter by speaking to the CEO: “Dear Mr. Smith”.

If you don’t feel comfortable with that approach then use a backup like “Dear Hiring Team” or something more unique than “To Whom It May Concern.”

Speak to the job requirements

Reiterate the fact that you comprehend the job requirements and the type of work environment that is conducive to the success that you can create. For example, a teacher. Their cover letter should speak to what makes their in-class experience unique.

If you didn’t find the job through the job posting, perform a Google search using the company name and the job title to find the online listing. This can be a great way to target talking points for your resume, cover letter, and future interview.

Mention why you’re unique

If you followed all of the rules above, you’ll stand out. But how can you stand out even more? Share something insightful about yourself. Is it an educational achievement? A club that you’re part of? A unique fact? Personalize your letter by sharing something that’s going to be attractive to the employer as well as make them smile.

Bonus: Speak to company goals

A Google search for the company might show recent news, press releases, earnings reports, or other facts that can help you learn about what the company is valuing this year or this quarter. You can use that information to better target your cover letter in a way that proposes what you might be able to bring to the job function as well as to the company. Learn which products, services, or goals the company has. Then try to support your ability to perform against those goals.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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