A cover letter accompanies a resume or CV to demonstrate interest in a specific position and give detailed information about the candidate’s ability to meet the job description. Cover letters should always be written for a specific job rather than creating a general cover letter that is reusable.

Cover Letter Components:

Letter Heading:

Your letter should start with a matching contact information header that matches your resume or CV. This creates consistency of application material as well as a marketing brand for your materials. As with most formal letters, the date and address block of the cover letter recipient should follow.

The Salutation (The Hello):

It’s important to find out the hiring manager or person reviewing your information. If you can’t, then try “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear hiring manager.”

The Opening (The Grab):

Your opening paragraph is your introduction and presents the reader with some immediate and focused information regarding the position you are pursuing and a few core competencies that demonstrate your strength:

“Having contributed as an operations and general business leader, I am writing to express my interest in [Name of Position] with [Name of Company]. You will see on the enclosed resume I turned around an under-performing business, substantially improved productivity and employee morale, and possess critical and creative thinking skills that will facilitate my swift contribution to your sustained growth.”

The Second Paragraph (The Hook):

This paragraph should define some examples of the work performed and results achieved. This paragraph should be connected to your resume. This does not mean you should copy verbatim what is in the resume. Rather, cover some key competencies that you feel define your success. In the event you are highlighting some information not contained in the resume (if you are switching careers, or have a unique value proposition), this is the perfect place to cover that information. Use bullets to define key areas of achievement and highlight what you bring:

“My professional experiences include my recent position with XYZ Corporation as Operations Manager, and previous positions with ABC Corporation, and DEF Corporation. In all of my roles I guided the professional development of staff and gained consensus for the adoption of new ideas due to my demonstrated ability to clearly present value added recommendations. The following is a brief sample of the expertise I offer:

  • Conceptualized and implemented an innovative business strategy whereby inventory was maintained at vendor locations, resulting in the effective use of a JIT system and annual savings of $250,000 for XYZ Corporation.
  • Established internal operating procedures that reduced employee downtime by 15%. In addition to conducting cross-training initiatives, I fostered an environment predicated on accountability for results, which improved the team’s commitment to the attainment of short- and long-term goals.
  • Conducted industry and competitive analysis while at ABC Corporation, which enabled senior leadership to analyze potential acquisition opportunities. After contributing to the due diligence process, three targets were pursued, and resulted in one successful deal. From working with attorneys, investment bankers, and CPA’s, too serving as a key liaison to senior leadership, my recommendations were successfully implemented.”

The Third Paragraph (Paragraph of Knowledge)

In this paragraph, demonstrate something you know about the company that prompted you to write. This shows the reader that you did some preliminary homework and understand the company’s mission and goals:

“After researching 123 Company, I understand your immediate goal is to improve business performance and establish key benchmarks within [Name of Industry]. Your recent acquisition of [Company Name], puts you in a position to gain market share and establish a unique brand presence with potential and existing customers. Given my professional achievements, I am in a position to help you quickly achieve your goals.”

The Fourth Paragraph (The Close)

In the closing paragraph quickly summarize what you offer and close by either suggesting a meeting or indicating that you will call in a certain number of days. If you choose the latter approach, make sure you follow-up within the time frame you reference.

“I bring a tool kit comprised of leadership, strategic planning, and analytical skills; and I would be pleased to review my credentials with you to personally explore how I can contribute as a member of your senior leadership team. Please feel free to contact me at the number above to arrange a time to speak. You may reach me at 704-406-2077 or [email protected]

Signature

You should end your cover letter with a salutation and your name as it is indicated on your resume and application. You may also provide a prompt of the resume enclose, if needed.

“Sincerely

Mark T. Bulldog
Enclosure: Resume”