1. Don’t start off your cover letter with something like “I am writing regarding X position at X company” The interviewer already knows what you’re applying for and it’s also a cookie cutter opening. Instead try something that breaks free from the mold and demonstrates your enthusiasm for the company and connection to their values. For example you could try this opening: “I heard about [this position] at [company] from my [connection]. As a [position] I have developed a passion and aptitude at [field] I know [company] is a leader in this [field]. I know that [company] gives to [these causes] as well of which I also support. I believe my passion for [field], commitment to [cause or field] make me the perfect candidate for the [position] at [company] “This will hook the reader since you start off saying you know someone that works there, why your skills are relevant and shows that you care about more than just the job since you also share values with the company.
2. Another way to open with a cover letter is with a story showing the passion you have for the company such as how you developed your interest in the field. Writing a story allows the hiring manager reading your cover letter a more personal view of you and a better idea of how your personality would fit into the company. For example “I’ve loved video games as a kid. My father got me a [console] as a child. I fell in love with it and I knew I wanted to work in the video game industry since then. When I was [age] I started learning how to code so that I could make my own video games and in college I took advantage of every opportunity to create video games. [company]s games master gameplay and storytelling and the games I’ve made incorporate my love for [company’s games] in it. I’d love the opportunity to bring my passion in creating video games to [company] as a [position].” Companies love people that have true passion for their field, it shows the only motivation you need to give it your all is to wake up and come to work the next day.
3. Don’t add too much fluff, hiring managers read through hundreds of applications, it will be a breath of fresh air for them to come across a cover letter that gets straight to the point by listing applicable skills and how they can help the company. You can make a short list noting what skills you have and how that makes you an ideal fit. Something like this “My career as a [career title] has made me an effective communicator: At my previous job I had to sell [items/service etc..] to people and that [displayed skill] because [reason]. I was also able to demonstrate my [ability] when I was offered the chance to lead in a [project/activity etc..]” Again, this gets to the point and shows the hiring manager why you are a perfect fit for the position and in few words too. Repeat this several times for the skills you have that you feel best fit the position.
4. There are several common pieces of advice you’ve probably heard when it comes to ending cover letters.
1. “I will call your office in a week to schedule an interview”
My marketing professor in college frequently said that this was a must do in addition to directly contacting the hiring manager by whatever means necessary, and it does work in some cases. However, this can also make you appear to be pushy or delusional. Imagine getting a call from someone you may not have ever heard of and they say they want to schedule an interview next week.
Instead try this
“I’d love the opportunity to speak with you about how I can contribute to your company”
This ending comes off polite with the confidence in your ability to contribute to the company.
2. “Through this position I hope to learn more about…”
I thought that this was a good ending when I first heard it, but as I got to know more about the hiring process I realized this wasn’t as good at it seemed. If you were hiring someone wouldn’t you want to focus on what they can do for you not the other way around?
Instead try this
“I’m excited at the chance to offer my expertise and passion in [field]…”
This ending reminds the hiring manager why you are a good hire and how you can contribute when hired leaving them with a good last impression.