THE BLOG

The Anatomy of a Cover Letter

02/10/2014 12:15 pm ET | Updated Apr 12, 2014
  • Christine Deakers Writer, committed to nuanced cultural issues, fresh bread, and things written by old Irish men

To Whom It May Concern:

Opening sentence that introduces yourself but also states your esteemed degree from four-year university where you received high honors in both your Double Major Degree and Minor concentration. Thoughtful reason why in particular you are attracted to this entry-level position you found on a job search engine with this (insert industry) company you've never heard of until 14 minutes ago. Words that sound good like the following: "methodology," "thought leadership," or "synergy" to connect job to this "next chapter of life." Your "passion" for the job though you also have the "technical skills" and "experiential backbone" to add to "The Team."

Most relevant and recent unpaid internship or student group position that you've slightly renamed to sound more important. Situation at hand. Final resolve where you accomplished a set goal (then synthesized into an impressive statistic).

High standards not just met but also exceeded; how you achieved something against the odds. Overcame additional challenging circumstance that provided tangible evidence that you are a person of "work ethic," "strident diligence and persistence" and managed others with "emotional intelligence."

Amongst all this, you are always a leader (or team player, depending on what the employer would like to hear), or you are both a leader and a team player at the same time. Example that highlights the one award you received at university; seemingly pertinent though it isn't, but it shows you won something once.

Soft communications skills. Detail orientation. ENTHUSIASM! SENSE OF HUMOR!

How unique you are from other candidates. General statement about your deep connection to the company you just Googled for the first time 14 (now maybe 17) minutes ago. Where they can find you (Name, Address, E-Mail, Twitter handle, Netflix account at the top of the page).

Thank them so much for their time and consideration and express how excited you are for the opportunity, or potential opportunity or future potential to apply and be considered for an opportunity of any sort. Here you would bow or present a gift of frankincense and myrrh if you could, so instead you mention something about your gratitude. Again.

Sincerely,

On-To-The-Next