How to Write Your Cover Letters | Rich Blazevich | Skillshare

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How to Write Your Cover Letters

teacher avatar Rich Blazevich, Job Search Author & Instructor

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Course Introduction

      2:57
    • 2. Contact Info and Opening Sentence

      4:09
    • 3. Attention Grabber Paragraph

      2:14
    • 4. Experience Highlights

      2:18
    • 5. Call to Action

      2:07
    • 6. Cover Letter Dos and Don'ts

      3:31
    • 7. Assignment

      5:40
    • 8. Conclusion

      0:54
    • 9. Bonus Lecture - Additional Resources

      0:39
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About This Class

In less than an hour, you'll learn how to write a highly-effective cover letter. You see step-by-step instructions for building a cover letter that can get you into interviews for the jobs you want.

An amazing cover letter is often an important step in getting your dream job. Many employers require that you submit a cover letter with your initial application, and they use it to help decide if you'll make it through to the next step in the hiring process. That’s why getting your cover letter right is so important.

In this course, you'll see how to write each section of your cover letter from your contact information and your opening sentence to your call-to-action and your sign-off.

You'll also see how to use key words and formatting techniques that employers will love.

TOPICS INCLUDED:
✔️ How to get your cover letter through the screening process that most employers use
✔️ How to write a cover letters that will appeal to both computers and humans
✔️ How to include the most relevant key words on your cover letters
✔️ How to format your cover letters so your most relevant information is easy to find
✔️ How to customize your cover letters to match each job opportunity

LEVEL OF MATERIAL:
✔️ Beginner to intermediate level
✔️ For people who have limited experience writing cover letters

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
✔️ Write cover letters that will get you selected for job interviews
✔️ Use key word stuffing techniques to give your cover letters a competitive advantage
✔️ Identify and leverage relevant skills and experiences to feature on your cover letters
✔️ Avoid making mistakes that lead to your job applications being rejected

Meet Your Teacher

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Rich Blazevich

Job Search Author & Instructor

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Transcripts

1. Course Introduction: welcome to this cover letter writing course. During this course, you're gonna learn step by step, how to write cover letters that employers will love. I'm going to show you from the very top of the cover letter where you include your contact information to the very bottom where you ask for the interview and you sign off what you should include in what you shouldn't include. Now there are three things that employers look for in cover letters. The first thing is they want to see if you're a good fit for their company. So I'll show you how to put language in your cover letter to show them that you know their company and you're going to enjoy working there. The second thing they look for is they want to make sure you're a good fit for the job. So I'll show you how to include information that will show that you can do the job and you have the experience and you have the skills necessary to be successful in it. And then the third thing they look for is they're looking for employees who have attention to detail. So I'll show you how to write your cover letter to ensure that it has the details that they're looking for, and it doesn't have any mistakes in it. So they see you as an employee who will be very effective at your job and has the attention to detail they want. First of all, let's start with the objective of a cover letter. The objective is to get you an interview. So you want to write a letter that somebody will look at and say All this person is great. I want to bring him in. I want to interview him and maybe I want to give him a job offer. So in order to help you get an interview, the cover letter needs to get their attention. If there's nothing interesting in it, if there's nothing that grabs their attention, then they'll just throw your resume away and move on to the next candidate. You also want to communicate that you are a great choice for the role they're hiring for. So that's the message you want to get across in your cover letter. It is not a place to communicate a bunch of details. If they want details, they'll go to your resume. The cover letter is highlights, so it's grab their attention, give him a few highlights and then go on from there. Here's an example of a really good cover letter. As you can see, it's fairly simple. It has a few paragraphs. It's not overwhelming. You want to give him enough information to engage them, but don't give them so much information that they feel like they're reading a book. Start the cover letter with the heading, and I'll show you how to build that heading. Then you want to tell them the purpose of the letter. Then you want to grab their attention with something that connects you specifically to their company. Also, you want to show them that you're passionate about the type of work they have to offer, and you want to give him a few highlights of the experience you have. And then finally, you want to request an interview. This is the call to action. This is telling them that you want a job interview with them. Use this cover letter to get an interview, grabbed their attention, communicate your great fit and don't include a lot of details. In the next few lectures, I'm going to go through each section of this cover letter and explain what the employers looking for and specifically what you should put on your cover letter so that they will want to bring you in for that interview. 2. Contact Info and Opening Sentence: when you're sending a cover letter, it's important to know that some people only read the first sentence in a letter, and then they decide if they're going to read on. So what I recommend is in the first sentence, tell the person why you're sending them the letter. That means tell them that you're applying for a job that they want to fill. I'm going to show you the opening section of your cover letter that includes both the heading and that first sentence I mentioned, which is the sentence that's going to tell them why you're applying for the job. The objective of this section is get the reader to read the rest of the letter. You are solving a problem for them. They're trying to fill a position. You're the solution to that, so you want to tell them that right up front you do want to include your contact information. That way, if they want to invite you and they'll have all the information in one place, it will be easy for them to see how they contact you. And then you want to explain that supercritical sentence that says why you are contacting them? What you don't want to do is you don't want to bury your lead. What that means is don't make him look for the reason you're writing to them. State it right up front. That way, they're not wondering. Oh, I've got this cover letter here. I don't know what this person wants. You want to tell him right up front that you're applying for a specific job that they're trying to fell at the top of the page? Here's what the heading should look like. You should have your name, your address, your email address your phone number. That's the information that they're going to need if they want to contact you. And then if you're doing a written letter, use the traditional format where you include the date you're writing and then the contact information for the person that you're sending the letter to. If you don't have their name, try and get their name trying. Call the company, try and look around on any of the application material and figure out who you're sending the letter to. If you can't find their name, it's okay to, say the hiring manager. So you could say hiring manager name of company address, and then you could say, Dear hiring manager. That's the fallback plan. If you can't find the name of the person, if you can find the name of the person and you can't tell what gender they are. So if their name is something that you can't say, Oh, that's Mr or that's miss, then go ahead and say, In this case it could be Dear Robert Martin. Or if this was a Robin or a different name that could be used for either gender, then you could say Dear Kim Martin or Dear Stacy Martin or dear some name. You don't have to put the Mr or Them is in there. If you are not sure what gender of the person is next, the opening paragraph. I recommend you just do one sentence, and that sentence is I am interested in applying for the blank position that was posted in blank location, and that's if you don't know anybody in the company. I'll show you a different trick if you know somebody in the company. But if you're just applying cold, you're doing it based on something you find online. Just use this sentence. Simplest can be What's the name of the position? Where did you find the position? If you have a job code, then go ahead and include that as well. So you could say I am interested in applying for your job title position and then in parentheses, Say Job I D. Number blank, blank blank and then close parentheses that was posted on whatever site. If you know somebody in the company, lead with that person's name, here's an example of somebody who's applying for a job. They know someone in the company. Hopefully, that person in the company is somebody you're comfortable reaching out to and saying, Hey, I've heard there's this job opening. Do you think I should apply? And then you can open your cover letter with Barbara Gaines suggested that I contact you about the blank position on your team. What that does is that shows the recruiter that you know somebody in that you already have an in with the company. So if it all possible mentioned the name of a person in the company who can vouch for you, and who can tell the recruiter that you're a good choice for the job again in this section make sure you get the reader to read. You should do that by providing your contact information, explaining why you're contacting them and then don't bury that information about what you're applying for. Put it right up front in the first sentence. 3. Attention Grabber Paragraph: now that the person reading the cover letter knows why he sent them the cover letter. It's time to grab their attention. The second section of the cover letter should be something that you say that's really going to intrigued them, and it's gonna want them to read the rest of the letter piers. With the attention grabber goes, it goes right after that sentence that shows what position you're applying for. And the purpose of this paragraph is to demonstrate that you have a connection with the employer. The way you do that is you include something specific about that employer. You want to mention one of their products, one of their services or something that relates to them that also relates to you. What you don't want to do is don't try and be funny in a letter. Don't try and be too clever. Cover letters should be professional, so you should say something that has a meaningful connection. It's OK to say something personal. It's OK to talk about how one of their products played a role in your life. It's OK to talk about how somebody in that company had an impact on you. It's okay to say something that related to you personally, Just don't do it in a way that seems unprofessional. Let's look at an example of a good attention grabber. So if you're applying for a marketing assistant position in a sporting goods company, you might say something like this. Since I was a kid, I've been a fan of premier sports equipment. As an avid golfer, I've had the pleasure of using your golf clubs for yours, and I associate your brand with hard work and good times. When I discovered your job posting for marketing assistant, I became excited about the possibility of joining your team. This is a really good attention grabber because the person is showing how that company is relevant for them, and it also shows why they would be an enthusiastic employee, because employers want to hire people who are enthusiastic about their company. So when you write your attention grabber paragraph, make sure you include something that builds the connection between you and the employer. You want them to see you as somebody who understands their company and preferably had some personal experience with the company, or at least has enough knowledge about their company to write something in the cover letter about them 4. Experience Highlights: Now that you've gotten the attention of the person who's reading the cover letter, it's time to show them that you're the most qualified candidate for the job they're trying to fill. And that means included paragraph that very briefly summarises. The best experiences you have that relate directly to the job that you're applying for that third paragraph should be fairly short. It should be maybe three or four sentences, and it should state your passion for the type of work that you're applying for as well as your most relevant experience. The objective of this paragraph is show the employer that you're qualified to do that role , and the way you do that is you include passion, which a lot of employers hire based on passion. They want somebody who really, really wants the job, and you include that relevant experience. What you don't want to do is don't include a lot of details from your resume, your including your resume with the cover letter. If they want details, they'll go and they'll read the details. You just want the highlights. Here's an example of a really good passion in experience. Paragraph. I'm passionate about marketing in a team oriented environment like yours. As my resume shows, I have experience building creative selling materials and delivering advertising content that has delivered sales growth of over $50,000. I also have expertise with S, E O Google AdWords and Facebook. Marketing tools with this person has done is they've picked the highlights from their experience, and they've included them right here in the cover letter. They've also taken some keywords from the job description, and they've included them. That's outstanding, because what some employers do is they will have their 80 s applicant tracking systems, scan the cover letters and look for keywords. So this person's done a really good job of including keywords from the job description, like creative selling materials advertising content. So go through your job description, pull out a few key words and use those in your highlights paragraph here in your cover letter. Remember, the objective of this cover letter is to show that you're qualified for the job by including your passion related to that job. Your most relevant career highlights and don't include all the details from your resume 5. Call to Action: the person reading the cover letter now knows why you wrote him the cover letter. You grab their attention and you've shown them that you're a great candidate for the job. It's time to close the deal. It's time for what we call the call to action. You want them to take in action, and that action is you want them to reach out to you and schedule an interview. So let's right. The last section of the cover letter, which is that called action You called action goes right here. The bottom of the cover letter. It's the last thing before your sign off, and the objective of that called Action paragraph is to get an interview. You wanna ask them for what you want, which is you want them to bring you in an interview for the job. You want to request it as a very specific action, and you also want to thank them. They've taken the time to read this cover letter. You want to show them that you appreciate them taking that time. What you don't want to do is don't be vague. I've read so many cover letters with a person, never says what they want, and that makes me feel like they may not be effective in a job. If they're not willing to tell people what they want to accomplish, then I'm not sure I want to hire them for a job. But if they come right out and say, I'd like you to invite me in for an interview great. I want somebody who's willing to ask for what they want. Here's an example of a really good call the action. You can use something very similar on your cover letter. Please contact me at email address or phone number to arrange a time for me to interview for this position. I'm available at your convenience. Thank you for your time in consideration. What I like about this style of writing your closing paragraph is it very clearly says that you want to arrange an interview with them and you're willing to do it at their convenience . So you're being very respectful of their time, and you're also thanking them, telling them that you appreciate them taking the time to consider your application. So remember, closed the cover letter with that request for the interview. Be specific. Thank the reader. And don't be vague. Don't leave it up to them to figure out what you want them to dio 6. Cover Letter Dos and Don'ts: Let's summarize the cover letter section with a few do's and don't. These are things that you should remember as you build your cover letters and things that you should do and things that you should not do. First of all, if at all possible, address your cover letter to a specific person. If you can figure out who the hiring manager is or who the HR person is, use their name. If you can't figure it out, go ahead and put in dear hiring manager next to tell them specifically which job you want. Ah, lot of times people are getting resumes for multiple jobs. You don't want them to have to try and figure out what job you're applying for. You want them to look at it and say, Oh, this is clear. This person's applying for this job. They found the job on this site. Make sure you personalize your attention grabber. Your attention grabbers should connect you with the company that you're applying for, and ideally, for the job that you're applying for next. Briefly summarize your most relevant experience. This is where you're trying to show them that you are a perfect fit because you have experience that is right in line with what they need for that job and then close it with telling them that you want the interview. That way you end the letter asking for the interview there. Next action should be to give you a phone call or send you an email telling you to come in for an interview. What you don't want to be is don't try and be funny. Don't try and be clever. Don't try and dazzle them with your wit. I've seen cover letters that just go completely wrong. When somebody tries to be too clever work, they try and write too long of a paragraph where they try and go into a story that's too complicated or too unrelated. Just be upfront. Be very specific. Followed this template and you'll be in good shape. Also, don't repeat most of the content from your resume. Your cover letter should just include the highlights. It shouldn't include. The details. Don't include anything negative. Don't say anything about you being unhappy in your job. Don't say anything negative about that company or any of your previous experiences. The mood of the cover letter should be bright. It should be cheerful. It should be professional. It should be upbeat and then don't include any errors. Make sure you proof. Read this. It is important that your cover letter B perfect as it is that your resume be perfect. So proof. Read it. If you have friends or family members or somebody who can help you out, have them proof. Read it us well and then don't forget to update the recipients name or their contact information. I've gotten cover letters that were not intended for my company. They were intended for a different company that an applicant had been applying for. And as soon as I see somebody say, Hey, I'm really interested in working for Blank other company. I immediately throw the resume out because I only want to hire people who have enough attention to detail that they're making sure they're sending the right cover letter to the right company. So that's it at your list of Do's and don't. As I said, writing a cover letter should be very simple. If you follow this template, you can very quickly right your cover letter, make it personalized for the company that you're applying for and let them know that you want an interview. If they ask you to send him an email, you don't have to include all of the information at the top of this cover letter. You can start with the deer hiring manager or dear name of the person. You don't have to include their contact information, your contact information, the date that's all included with the email. So just jump in with the salutation in which job you're applying for. Next, we're going to move on to the assignment for writing your cover letter. 7. Assignment: Now it's time for an assignment in which you can practice your cover letter writing skills . What I want you to do is write a cover letter and we'll walk through it together, and I want you to use the job description, the resume and a little bit of creativity to write a really good cover letter that you can send out to an employer. I want you to start by putting the job description cheat sheet on the left side of your screen if you're working on a computer and then putting the blank cover letter template on the right side and I'm gonna show you how to take information from the job description and use it to inspire you on what you're going to write on your cover letter. So I pulled up a job description for a security guard. This is the cheat sheet that I built based on a listing that I found online, and it's got summary section filled out, job duties, skills required and then other requirements. So we're going to use that to build our cover letter. The top part should be easy. This is your contact information. You can copy and paste this straight off your resume for this person, let's say their name is Sandra Security. Here's their contact information, their applying for a job as this security guard. And here's the contact information of the person who posted the job. Start with the I am interested in applying for your insert job description, security guard position and let's assume we have a job code. So when it was posted online, they included a job code, and it was job code 54545 that was posted on Let's assume we found this on lengthen. What I want you to do is get a job description from an online posting site. Enter in this information for your cover letter. Next, I want you to do your attention grabber paragraph. So this is something that connects you directly with the company that you're applying for. If you don't have anything than do a little bit of research, go out and buy one of their products. Talk to somebody who's used one of their services. I'm gonna say this person has already had an experience. They're applying for a security guard position at a medical center, So let's say that they've been at that medical jobcentre before. Maybe somebody in their family was treated there and they were impressed with the medical center, and that's why they want to work there. I'm gonna type in a little story about the connection that I have with this medical center . Here's the story. I've admired the people at Mountain Medical Center since my grandmother was hospitalized there five years ago. Your staff treated her and our family with kindness and respect. Throughout her treatment. I would like to be part of an organization with such high standards for care and compassion . Not only does this show a personal connection with the company that this person is applying for, it also complements that company, and that's a really good approach to take. Let the company know that you admire them and why you admire them in a nice way of doing that is complement their services, complement their people, compliment their product. Now let's go to the passion and experience paragraph. Here's where you want to tell them what you're passionate about that relates directly to the job you're applying for. For security guard, protecting people might be a really good passion, so let's try this paragraph. Protecting people has always been a passion of mine. As you can see from my resume. I have been a security guard since I graduated from high school four years ago. During that time, I monitored alarms and closed circuit TV cameras as well as conducted security checks. I also earned the employee of the Month award three times in a security company with over 100 employees. What I like about this paragraph is it clearly calls out a passion that's related to being a security guard. It also includes some keywords from the job description in the cover letter things like monitored alarms, closed circuit TV cameras conducted security checks. They've built that right into the cover letter. So monitored alarms close. Circuit TV is conducted security checks so this employer can see from the cover letter that this candidate has experience doing the duties on the job description. I also really like a paragraph that shows an award or promotion or an accomplishment. So this person shows that they earned the Employee of the Month award, which is a very nice accomplishment to highlight in a cover letter. Next, the final paragraph is going to be the call to action. This is where you want the employer to email you or call you to arrange an interview. So you used the standard paragraph here and go ahead and just put in your email address and your phone number. Good news is we already have that up above. So I'm just gonna copy this and I'm gonna paste it here and now. I'm gonna take phone number copy yet and paste it here. Now, the format usually is parentheses around the area code and then go ahead and include the phone number like that. So go ahead and correct that format. So that's it. That's how quick it is to do a cover letter. You've already got your contact information in your resume in copy and paste it. The job posting should include the contact information for the person you should send. The resume to. The first paragraph is simply letting them know which job you're applying for. Then your attention grabber paragraph that has some connection between you and that company . Your passion and experience paragraph should tell him what you're passionate about that relates to that job and what experience you have that relates to the job description. And then finally, you're called Action paragraph that says that you want an interview. That's how easy it is to write a cover letter. Now what I want you to do is write a cover letter for a job that you're posting for using that same approach. 8. Conclusion: So that's it. That's how you write your cover letter now. Any time and employer asked for a cover letter in their job application process, follow these steps and you will be able to write a cover letter that they will absolutely love. And remember, they're looking for three things. They want to make sure that you're a good fit for their company. They want to make sure that you're a good fit for the job, and they want to make sure that you have the attention to detail needed to be successful at your job. So make sure that you show you're a good fit for the company. By talking about the personal connection and the knowledge you have of the company, make sure that you show you're a good fit for the job by showing the experiences you have that will make you effective at doing that job. And make sure you show that you have the attention to detail needed by doing a great job of proof, reading your cover letter and making sure there are no mistakes in it. Congratulations on completing the class and now start writing the cover letters and submitting them for the job application so you can get the job you want 9. Bonus Lecture - Additional Resources: now that you've completed this course, uncover letter writing I wanted to tell you about a place you can go to get. Additional resource is to help you with your job search. I want to invite you to visit my website, which is amazing job skills dot com and check out all the resource is that are there to help you with your job hunt. You'll find additional online courses, and those courses include things like how to write your resume, how to update Your Linked in profile, how to answer interview questions. You'll also find books and articles and videos to help you with your job search. So please check out amazing job skills dot com, and I wish you the very best of luck in your job search.