How to Write a Cover Letter that Stands Out in 2023 (Proven Methods + Examples)
Writing a cover letter is hard. But writing a cover letter in 2023 is harder, when the global economy is slower and hiring freezes are in place. There are fewer open roles and hundreds of job seekers for every position. On average, each job posting attracts 250 resumes, and this number is likely higher in the current economic climate.
You want a cover letter that stands out. This means you need to impress recruiters enough that they advance you into the interview process. And, it's not enough to just list your qualifications. You need to show deep interest in the role, explain why you're the best person for the job, and demonstrate how you can help the company succeed.
All this in 250-400 words.
The good news is that it’s not as hard as it sounds, especially if you keep these pointers in mind as you write the perfect cover letter.
Include the right information
It’s easy to get carried away by the creative side of writing a cover letter but don’t forget the basics. Include your full name, contact information — phone number, location and email, and link to social media profiles like LinkedIn. Use a salutation to address the hiring manager like “Dear Hiring Manager” or start with a plain and simple “Hello.” On many cover letter templates, you might find “To Whom It May Concern” but it’s an outdated and impersonal way to begin a cover letter and let’s face it — makes me want to yawn.
If you have previously connected with the hiring manager over LinkedIn or through a recruiter, and you know who to address in your application, use the correct name and spelling. And if you’re unsure of the hiring manager’s name or spelling, look them up on social media or use a general greeting like "Dear Hiring Manager."
In your first couple sentences, you need to let the employer know which role you’re applying for and why. A company may be hiring for more than one role and you want the hiring manager to have all the relevant information upfront when they’re reading your cover letter.
Follow a logical structure
Your cover letter is a chance for you to show off not just your writing skills but also your ability to follow logic and structure. Potential employers will be grateful for an easy-to-follow cover letter format and you’ll increase your chance of landing an interview.
A well-written cover letter has three parts:
- Introduction: Introduce yourself and explain why you’re interested in the job listing.
- Body: Mention your qualifications and highlight relevant experiences. Specifically point to any achievements or awards that showcase your skills and explain why you’re passionate about the opportunity.
- Conclusion: Add a closing paragraph to sum up why you would be a great fit for the specific job and sign off on a positive and enthusiastic note.
Make your introduction count
Your opening paragraph should be concise but powerful. In a few sentences, include a brief introduction of yourself, a description of the role you are applying for, and a captivating statement that will give the reader a reason to continue reading. This opening paragraph will essentially set the tone for the rest of your cover letter and should be crafted carefully.
Think deeply about the role and the company and use it as a guide to come up with an opening statement that’s witty, engaging, and authentic. But first, decide the tone of your cover letter. Here are some opening line examples to choose from:
Get comfortable with self promotion
Writing about yourself is hard, especially when you're trying to self-promote (which is the idea when looking for a job). A good way to deal with this is to use an AI writing assistant that you can hand the writing off to.
Here, we used Wordtune's "Continue Writing" feature, that you can use to beef up your cover letters without feeling to self conscious about your self promotion.
Show your enthusiasm
A great cover letter conveys your passion for the job and shows what makes you a unique candidate. Explain why you’re interested in that particular role and how it aligns with your career goals.
But companies don’t just want to know why you want the job. They’re interested in why they should hire you and how you can make a difference at that organization. So tie your enthusiasm back to the business needs of the company and impress them with your strategic mindset. For instance, if you’re applying for a marketing position, discuss how your past work experience and skills have enabled you to create successful campaigns that have increased sales and boosted customer loyalty.
Provide proof of your claims
It’s okay to talk about how great you are and why you’re the perfect person for the job, but don't forget to back up your claims with concrete evidence. Provide examples of projects you have worked on in previous positions or training certificates that relate to the role.
This will make your qualifications more tangible and will help the interviewer understand why you are the perfect person for the job. Additionally, it will help to demonstrate your knowledge and skills and show that you are prepared for the role. Say you are applying for a job as a software engineer. You could include your experience building a website or a mobile app, as well as any coding certifications that you have obtained.
Give your cover letter a personal touch
Hiring managers receive dozens of applications for each position and you want to make sure yours stands out. Don’t just copy the job description — show that you read through it and understand what the company is looking for by using similar language in your cover letter.
For example, if the job application mentions that the company values collaboration, you could mention how you thrive in a team setting and share an example of how you worked with a team to achieve a goal. This shows prospective employers how you will contribute to the company culture in addition to being a productive employee.
Don’t forget to proofread
Regardless of the industry, every employer is looking for committed and detail-oriented candidates. Written communication is a useful and valued skill, and your cover letter is evidence of how well-trained you are in this area. Focus on the content of your cover letter, but remember that grammatical errors and spelling mistakes leave a bad impression. Plus, it makes you look unprofessional.
This article was co-written with Wordtune. Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.