A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Cover Letter

  • Sarah Wilson |
  • | Mission

Job seekers are evenly split on whether or not they take the time to submit a cover letter in their job applications. In fact, 47% of applicants do not have a cover letter. While not all companies require one in the application process, submitting one can certainly help you stand out. 

While you may spend hours perfecting your resume, your cover letter should be more than just a reiteration of the same information. Your cover letter deserves the same amount of effort and attention. In fact, your cover letter should not be a list of information at all, it should be an argument for why you are the best person for the specific job for which you are applying. The effort that you put into your application does not go unnoticed, the more you tailor your resume and cover letter to the company you want to work for, the more they notice how much you want the job. Let’s dive into just what that looks like. 

#1 Greeting

For your initial opening, assume that they know nothing about you or what you want from them. Detail who you are, the job you want, where you saw the job posting, and if someone recommended it to you.

#2 Why You Want the Job

This is your time to show the time taken to research the company’s history, future plans, mission, and values. Use these pieces of information to relay why you really want the job. If you don’t sound enthused, chances are they’ll know it.

#3 Why You’re the Best Candidate for THIS Job

Your resume already goes into the details about where you worked and the tasks you completed. Use this space to call out your most vital qualifications, such as the specific projects you’re proud of that are most relevant to the position for which you are applying. 

#4 Your Soft Skills & Strengths

In this paragraph, you should discuss why your strengths, passions, how your values match the company’s mission, and why you stand out from other candidates with similar experience. This is your last chance to convince them that you are the right pick for the job.

#5 Closing

In your closing paragraph, be sure to thank them for taking time to review your resume and cover letter. Additionally, reiterate your contact information and let them know you look forward to hearing from them.

If you are seeking a job that you would move for, whether across the same state or across the country, be sure to acknowledge that. Let them know why you want to move to that area, what your timeline is for moving, and how serious you are about it. Plenty of people can say they want to move to California, but few people follow through. They don’t want to get burned by hiring someone that doesn’t show up for the first day. 

Once you’ve finished your cover letter, take time to review all of your application materials. You’ll want to check for spelling and grammar errors and ensure you have consistent and correct information throughout them. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to send to a friend for review!

If you’re searching for a fulfilling position in the retail industry, see what job openings are available at Goodwill of Central Iowa today. 

Plus, check out these resources for free cover letter templates!

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