8 Steps to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Langley Writing Services 8 Steps to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Do you want to write a cover letter than is better than nine out of 10 others? Do you want a cover letter that will generate more interviews? Are you ready to land your dream job once and for all? Guess what… You can make it happen!

All great cover letters have something in common – they’re based on a proven, effective template that can be implemented in eight easy steps.

Step #1: Use a Professional Cover Letter Header

A cover letter is a formal business letter, complete with:

  • Your name
  • The current date.
  • Your phone number
  • The name of the hiring manager and their professional title. If the hiring manager’s name isn’t available, include the name of the department instead.
  • Your personal (not work) email address from a respected provider (Gmail or your domain) that includes only your first and last name
  • The name of the company to which you’re applying.

Optionally, you can also include:

  • Your education degree and/or professional title.
  • Your full home address including postal code.
  • Any links to professional websites and LinkedIn.
  • Your city of residence, especially if the letter is highly official.

Carefully review that all your contact information is consistent across your resume, cover letter, and social media profiles. Don’t forget to left justify all the details in the cover letter header.

Step #2: Open Your Cover Letter with a Proper Greeting

Now that you’re header is set up and ready to go, it’s time to add the salutation. Using the hiring manager’s first and last name, when available, will always impress. When we hear or see our name, we have a positive internal reaction, so seeing his/her name will make the reader feel like the letter is tailored specifically for them. If you’re applying for a corporate position, it might be best to err on the side of caution and use the reader’s last name (i.e. Dear Mrs. Ford). If you can’t find the name of the hiring manager, use “To Whom It May Concern,” “Dear Sir/Madam, Dear Sales Team Hiring Manager,” “Dear Hiring Manager, or “Dear [XYZ Company] Team.”

Next up the meat and potatoes of the letter – a three-paragraph cover letter format works best, with a maximum word count of 300. The first paragraph should grab the hiring manager’s attention, the second what you’ve got to offer, and the third proves that you’ll fit in.

Step #3: Write a Catchy Opening Paragraph

Your opening paragraph will determine whether the hiring manager keeps reading your letter. It needs to provide value and details, not merely “I’ve already done this job, so think I’d fit in.”. The hiring manager won’t care. You want to highlight your achievements instead. Show how well you know your prospective employer’s needs, or base the introduction on your enthusiasm.


As a lifelong enthusiast of XYZ’s marketing initiatives, I was thrilled to see your posting for the position of Digital Marketing Manager. I am positive I can help with XYZ’s upcoming challenges. I have experience with leading successful national online campaigns with budgets of $300,000, and I succeeded in expanding ABC’s client base by 19% since 2011.

Source: https://zety.com/blog/how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Step #4: Explain Why You Are the Ideal Candidate

The second paragraph is your opportunity to show that you’re going to satisfy the company’s specific needs and that you are 100% whom the hiring manager is looking for.

Say you are applying for a job in digital marketing that requires not only a 1) savvy digital marketing manager but also 2) someone who will supervise the development of their new online portal.

Here is what this could look like:

In my current position at ABC, I supervise all phases of our online marketing initiatives, both technical and creative (1). Last year, my crucial challenge was to design and optimize nine product websites for ABC’s most strategic products, improve our SEO results, and enhance the UX (2).

One year later:

Eight of the nine websites I optimized have achieved and secured their spot in the top 3 results on Google (2). These are organic, non-paid results for 10+ key search terms;

The incoming search engine traffic to all nine websites comprises 47% of the total organic traffic (2) for key terms and phrases.

Source:  https://zety.com/blog/how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Your first sentence should prove that you are an expert in your field with the remaining sentences sharing how your previous experiences will help your future potential employer press ahead with their plans. Don’t forget to mention your transferable skills related to the new position. Be sure and use some of the keywords and phrases using your achievements to showcase how you meet the candidate requirements.

Step #5: Tell Them Why You Are Eager to Join

Your potential employer wants to hire you not only because you will satisfy their needs. They also hope you’ll enjoy working with them and feel rewarded in your position. Therefore, your third paragraph should show the hiring manager why you want this job, not just any job.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Start with a company —for instance, an upcoming project.
  2. Say why you find it interesting.
  3. Reiterate that your experience and knowledge will help the project succeed.

Here’s an example:

I know that XYZ’s current plans involve developing a comprehensive online portal focused on healthcare-related issues (1). This project is a perfect match for my personal and professional and an exciting opportunity to create a unique online base of knowledge for patients and healthcare professionals (2). I would love to leverage my knowledge of SEO marketing and online growth marketing to achieve groundbreaking results with this initiative (3).

Source: https://zety.com/blog/how-to-write-a-cover-letter

Including a quote between the second and third paragraphs that proves your skillset can be beneficial as well. Be sure to quote the person’s full name, date, and position. You can also include LinkedIn reviews, letters of reference, or testimonials.

Step #6: Make Your Closing Offer

The third paragraph is where things can get tricky. You have to amplify the general impression you’ve made with the previous sections. This is the perfect opportunity to let the HR manager know that you’re excited to discuss how your experience and knowledge will assist the company in achieving its goals.

Step #7: Use the Right Formal Closing

Don’t forget to sign off at the end with a formal closing salutation – Sincerely, Thank You, Best Regards, and Kind Regards – along with your full name. If you’re writing a formal cover letter, adding your handwritten signature is also recommended.

To keep your basic contact information top of mind (name, email address, phone number), repeat it here.

Step #8: Add the Postscript

A postscript is a great cover letter hack that nobody uses. The P.S. is like a magnet for the hiring manager’s eyes, screaming, “You can’t miss this information!” So, tell the reader 1) something impressive about your career, even if it’s not related to the job opening, and 2) that you’re happy to provide them with more details if they find it interesting.

And, there’s an unofficial Step #9… once you’ve finished your cover letter, run it through a spellchecker, use a tool like Grammarly, or have a friend review it for spelling mistakes. In fact, you’ve likely made a good impression at this point – you don’t want to blow it with typos or other errors.

Finally, you can also always give us a call at Langley Writing Services. We research and create custom resumes and cover letters for all industries that will help you land interviews.

Follow Langley Writing Services on social. Like and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and learn more about getting your cover letter and resume in front of the person who is hiring for the job you want. We offer other professional writing services too! Stay up to date by bookmarking the blog too! Your message, done write!

you might like these...