When applying for jobs on Jacksonville Works you may have noticed an option to include a cover letter with your resume. You have even been told to email your resume and cover letter to a business to apply for a job. Cover letters are sometimes treated as optional, because employers don’t often require a cover letter to be submitted with your resume. But this document is an important part of your job search. That’s because even though employers may not always require a cover letter, they still use a cover letter to evaluate your skills, experience and fit for the job. Including a cover letter with your resume gives you an opportunity to further explain your qualifications, which can help set you apart from other candidates who did not provide a cover letter. Most often job seekers don’t choose to use a cover letter, or hate when a cover letter is required because they don’t know what to write. So in this article we are going to retire that excuse.
After reading this article you’ll know what a cover letter is, why you should have one on hand and exactly what to include in your cover letter. Plus, we have even written a cover letter template for you. So you won’t have to spend hours worrying about what to write. More on that later though. Let’s dive into what exactly a cover letter is and how to write one.
What is a Cover Letter?
As a job seeker, you’ve seen the term cover letter a lot. You’ve probably been asked to submit one. That’s also probably why you’re here. But to get things started, let’s define exactly what we mean by cover letter.
A cover letter is a one page document that you submit along with your resume. The purpose of your cover letter is to further highlight your skills and experience. It also explains how you are an ideal candidate for the job. It gives the employer an idea of how you can solve their problem and have a positive impact on the business.
Why Include a Cover Letter with Your Resume?
If you’re wondering what’s the point of taking the extra time to write a cover letter, you may want to listen up. A cover letter is an opportunity for you to make a more personal first impression with a hiring manager. A resume is essentially a summary of your work experience and education, which is great but impersonal. In your cover letter you can speak directly to the hiring manager. You can highlight your accomplishments and explain the content of your resume in more detail. Also, employers may use cover letters to narrow down the number of candidates they choose to interview or move forward in the hiring process. In short, a cover letter can improve your chances of catching the attention of hiring managers and obtaining more interviews.
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
Now that we know what a cover letter is, why we should add this document to our job search toolbox, let’s talk about what to include when writing a cover letter.
A cover letter should highlight your strongest work experience that relates to the job you’re applying for. Here are the two main points to cover:
1- Explain how your skills, education and experience meet the requirements for the job and have prepared you to excel in the role.
Your mission is to connect the dots for the hiring manager. Show them specifically how you are prepared to do the job and solve their problem. After reading your cover letter, they should be eager to read your resume to know more about you. They should also have a clear understanding of how you meet the requirements for the job. Some good things to include are:
The number of years experience you have doing that job, similar work or working in a related industry.
Specific things you have accomplished that are related to a need listed in the job posting.
Training or education that was listed in the job posting.
For example, let’s say you are applying for a sales job and one of the requirements is to meet a monthly sales quota. You might share how you exceed sales quotas in your current sales role and how you have helped to mentor new sales representatives to improve their close rate.
2- Share Why You Want to Job and Work for the Company
Employers always want to know why you want to do the job and why you want to work for the company. That’s because when employees leave, it takes a lot of time, money and effort to hire again. Businesses would much rather spend that time on other things. So hiring managers are very interested in an applicant’s motivation for wanting the job and to join the company.
Your cover letter is a great place to let a hiring manager know that you’re a good fit for the job and company. Honestly share why you are interested in doing the job and how working for the company would be meaningful to you. Explain how the job and employment with the company works with your long term goals, fulfills a passion or interest that you have.
If you can include these two elements into your cover letter, you’ll have a strong document that will serve your job search well. Before we get to the template, let’s review a few quick tips to consider when writing your cover letter.
Cover Letter Tips
Customize the cover letter for each job: A cover letter is a personal document. Think of writing directly to each hiring manager. It may take some extra time, but the additional effort o personalize each letter will be worth it. It’s perfectly ok to have a master cover letter so you don’t have to start over every time, but make sure to update it for every job.
Read the job posting: The job posting will give you valuable clues as to what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Refer back to the job posting to find specific requirements, needs and responsibilities that you have experience and accomplishments. Then include those examples in your cover letter.
Shorter is better: Keep your cover to one page at most. About four paragraphs or so is plenty of space to do the job.
Watch your formatting: Use professional formatting that is consistent with your resume. And as always, proofread the cover letter carefully before submitting. Grammar and spelling matter.
Address the manager: You won’t always have the hiring manager’s name. In fact, most of the time you won’t. Instead of a name, use “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Hiring Manager”. Avoid using “To Whom It May Concern”.
Be yourself but read the business culture: Of course always be yourself, but match the tone of the business you are applying to. If you are applying for a job at a business with a formal culture, then the tone of your cover letter should match that. A quick way to get a clue of the business is to check out their social media, website and even the job posting. You should match the tone of the writing you find to make sure your cover letter is understood appropriately.
Cover Letter Template
The cover letter template below is ready to use and easy to edit. Simply fill in the highlighted areas with your information and you’re ready to apply for your next job. You can also get the template in a Google Doc format by requesting the document link here.
[Hiring Manager’s Name]
123 Company Address
Company’ City, State Zip Code
Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],
I am very excited to apply for the [ job title] job with [name of company] that was advertised on Jacksonville Works. I have worked as a [job title] for the past [number of years] years for [Company Name]. In my current job, I have gained experience in [area of experience] and [area of experience]. I have [certification/training/experience] in [type of certification/ training/experience] and have completed several advanced employee training courses.
In addition to the [number of years] years of experience working in the [industry name] industry. I am a reliable worker with a great attendance record. I learn new things quickly and work well on a team or independently. My ability to [unique/valuable ability] has helped me to achieve [impressive goal/accomplishment related to job] in my current role.
I would welcome the opportunity for an interview to share more about how my skills, experience and strong work ethic can be of benefit to your company. I can be reached at [your email address] or [ your phone number]. I look forward to hearing from you.
[Your First and Last Name]
Here’s an Example of What This May Look Like Filled In.
Monday June 13th, 2022
Ms. Yolanda Jones
123 Happy Street
Jacksonville Florida Zip 32204
Dear Ms. Jones,
I am very excited to apply for the part-time evening janitor job with Quality Maintenance & Repair Service Inc that was advertised on Jacksonville Works. I have worked as a housekeeper for the past two years for Jax Best Maids. In my current job, I have gained experience in disinfection and customer service. I have experience following detailed cleaning procedures and chemical safety and have completed several advanced employee training courses.
In addition to the two years of experience working in the housekeeping industry. I am a reliable worker with a great attendance record. I learn new things quickly and work well on a team or independently. My ability to work with detail, precision and speed has helped me to achieve a record of zero quality defect in my current role.
I would welcome the opportunity for an interview to share more about how my skills, experience and strong work ethic can be of benefit to your company. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 904-444-4444. I look forward to hearing from you.
You’re now ready to write your cover letter. We suggest saving your cover letter in Google Doc or a place where you can quickly access and update when applying for jobs on Jacksonville Works. Don’t forget, you can request access to the cover letter template in Google Doc format here. You’ll also get access to additional training videos that walk you step-by-step through editing in Google Docs and how to attach a Cover Letter on Jacksonville Works.
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