Six Steps to Writing Your Winning Cover Letter

To land the job of your dreams, you want to stand out as a qualified candidate both technically and personally. You want your cover letter to highlight you as the person your potential client is looking for. In this post, I’ll walk you through six simple steps to constructing your cover letter in a way that reflects the most important personal traits every hiring manager is looking for. Towards the end, you’ll see a real-life example on the brief-yet-sufficient cover letter that will help you stand out as a winning job candidate.

What are the personal traits every hiring manager wants in their to-be employees?

As the hiring manager sifts through job applications, they’re looking for job candidates that are

  • Thorough so that they’ll be able to comprehensively fulfill the requirements of their job.
  • Specific and know exactly what their goal is and how to pursue it.
  • Enthusiastic about the job and keen on accomplishing complete success.

And you want to build your cover letter in a way that highlights these personal traits in you. Here is how.

Step #1: Read the Job description CAREFULLY

From the hiring manager’s viewpoint, considering all submitted cover letters is a rather tedious and time consuming activity. So, they tend to narrow down the scope so that they only have to consider qualified-looking applicants and filter out the rest. And the filter they use is how careful the applicant is when they read the job description.

Sometimes, the hiring manager includes a word or phrase in the job description and requires the applicant to type this word/phrase on top of their cover letter. So, make sure you read the job description carefully so that you don’t miss that word/phrase, if any.

Step #2: Use a suitable greeting

Neither too formal nor too casual. Preferably “Dear (employer’s name)”. If you don’t know their name, you can say “Dear Hiring Manager”.

Step #3: Introduce yourself

You want to initiate rapport with your client and get them ready to go on with reading your proposal. Simply mention your name and what you do.

Step #4: Briefly express your interest in the job

Avoid writing something like “I would like to express my interest in applying for …” It’s kind of cliché that the great majority of job seekers include in their cover letter. So, instead, use a concise expression as you’ll see shortly in the example.

Step #5: Promote yourself

Talk specifically about your relevant experience. Preferably, present them in bullet points. This approach gives the impression that you paid good attention to reading the job description and what skills the position requires.

Step #6: Use a good closing

Thank the reader for their time, express your interest in working them, include an appropriate greeting, sign your name, and you’re done.

Now, the real-life example

As I want to give you a real-life example, I’m going to introduce a sample job description similar to what I see in my Upwork job feed, along with the cover letter that I would use to apply.

The job description

The cover letter

Now, let’s recap

To write your winning cover letter, make sure to do the following

  • Carefully read the job description
  • Use a suitable greeting
  • Introduce yourself and initiate rapport
  • Show your interest in the position
  • Promote yourself and showcase your relevant experience
  • Keep it straight to the point and well sectioned with bullet points when needed.

In this way, you highlight yourself as an attention-worthy candidate that is qualified in terms of both skills and personality.

Now, let me know what you think. If you have a question about how to write your cover letter, please share your question in the comments section. And if you have a previous experience with writing a cover letter that landed you the job of your dreams, share your experience here to inspire people who want to launch their dream career and grow a successful business.




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