How to write a great cover letter? The Love Letter You Need to Get a Job 💌

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Let’s demystify the cover letter by realizing that at the end of the day, it’s simply a letter 📄, and a great letter has three core components:

  1. An intro that grabs your attention

  2. A body paragraph where you make your case

  3. A closing paragraph that makes you want to learn more

Simon Sinek’s famous Ted Talk “How great leaders inspire action” gives us a framework on how to write a great cover letter. Let’s jump in.

Introduction: Start With Why - Why this job matters to you?

Apart from introducing yourself, your name, and school, the introduction is a space to state your purpose and why the job you’re applying to you matters.

The introduction is critical as it sets the tone for the letter. This is where you want to share why this opportunity matters to you. Why is it personal and why you are the best person for the job. Your purpose is specific to you. What you share here should feel as no one else in the world wrote it, but yourself. This is the time to be creative. If the letter is addressed to Microsoft, perhaps this is the time to tell a short story about your first PC.

In this section make sure you state the following:

  1. Your name and school (if applicable)

  2. Why this opportunity matters to you

  3. Why the company culture is a fit

An example of this: Ever since I laid hands on my first PC at age 8, I marveled at the power of machines. Since that day, my purpose has been about the power of technology to connect us, just like it connected me at my tender age with my family abroad.

Body Paragraphs: Share Your How - How are you the best fit?

In the body paragraph, share how you have performed in the past, and state the evidence that shows how you are a great fit for the job. This is the time for numbers and metrics. This is not the time to keep things high level, as you might have in your introduction. In this section make sure you state the following:

In this section make sure you state the following:

  1. Past experience

  2. Awards and accomplishments

  3. How you have made an impact on previous projects

Example: In the past 6 months, I helped my product team at InfoLab to launch three new features which increased our revenues by 10% last month. In particular, my role was in ensuring that bugs were fixed efficiently. This allowed me to collaborate across our engineering and sales departments, providing me with a cross-functional team experience. In my downtime, I fixed three computers in my backward, all while being a software engineer at InfoLab.

Closing: Share Your What - The actual job and what you will be doing

The reader by now should clearly know why this job matters to you, and why you are qualified based on concrete actions you have taken to date. The last piece is to tie it all together, say thank you, and leave the recruiter eager to call you. The way to do this is to refer back to your “why” this time doing so while connecting it to the actual job you are applying to.

In this section make sure you state the following:

  1. How your purpose and accomplishments make you a fit for the job

  2. The impact you expect to make at the company

  3. How the recruiter may contact you

An example of this: I know from my experience at Infotech as an engineer, I can support Microsoft’s mission to use technology for good while delivering value to my team. I know today there is an 8-year-old kid just like me that I can serve as an example for.

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