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Make a Big Impression: What to Include in a Cover Letter

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Given that every job is likely to have more than 100 applicants, it's hard to ensure that your application makes an impact. The way to ensure that happens is by knowing what to include in a cover letter. Your potential employer doesn't have all the time in the world to get to know you but with a well-crafted cover letter, you ensure you can get a leg up in the hiring.

Here are four things you need to have in your cover letter.

1. Greeting

When you're writing a cover letter, it's vital that you start with the right greeting. Starting a cover letter is always a little awkward but you can't go wrong with something along the lines of "Dear Hiring Committee". Or else, you could go "Dear Company X".

If you're working on a greeting, make sure your opening lines continue this congenial spirit. It's vital for you to tell the people reading that you know what company you're applying to, what job you're applying for, and what they're looking for.

2. Relevant History

While your resume or CV comes with a list of accomplishments and work history that fills it out, some people want to know how you fit the bill. A little overview of some relevant history helps to describe why you're applying for the job you're applying for. 

Without some relevant history, they might wonder why you're looking at their company. If you're pivoting from one career track to another, include some breadcrumbs so they get to see your evolution. Sending a teaching resume for a management position requires a little finessing to explain what you're doing.

3. Reasons for Applying

Related to your history, show a real reason for applying. People know B.S. when they read it, so don't just pay lip service to their company, telling them how great they are. They know they're great.

Tell them what it is about the position that makes sense for your life and your career. You have reasons for applying beyond just making money. The types of jobs that require cover letters are careers, not just temporary jobs. 

4. Future Goals

You need to outline your future goals to show your potential employer why they need to invest in you. Given that it could cost a company $5,000 to recruit, hire, and train you, that cost requires some justification. Help lead the horse to water by describing what this job means in your future career trajectory.

While this may not be your dream job, if it fits in with your five-year plan, tell the employer why that's the case. Everyone has dreams and goals and if you see this job in line with them, don't hide that fact.

After You Decide What To Include in a Cover Letter

Now that you know what to include in a cover letter, be sure you keep it short and sweet. Dragging out a cover letter over more than one page, or even three-quarters of a page is a waste of time and energy. Your potential employer wants to get a feel for what you're about, not your life story or your full history.

To ensure that this job keeps your career going as planned, check out our latest guide.


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