Two months before my sister finished her last year of nursing school, she came to me to ask me how to write a cover letter. As a business student, I was shocked. I had to write at least three cover letters within my first month of college alone. Asking a business major how to write a cover letter is like asking a chef how to use salt - no one actually knows the specifics, we've just had to do it so much we kind of figured it out.
To be transparent with you, I hate cover letters. I hate them. I have actually not applied to multiple jobs solely because I didn't want to write the cover letter. However, if I had decided to write it, I know I would've had the resources to complete it. Talking to my sister really brought to my attention the advantage business students have over other students when it comes to applying for things. Half of our college education is on how to write applications, resumes, cover letters and anything else of the sort. But for people in other majors, there are no advisors to give them direction and there aren't templates that are actually useful for making a cover letter in real life.
I don't think that's fair. Given my major, I've had to write so many cover letters that I have kind of defined a system (full disclosure, I still have no idea if I'm doing this right but I have a decent success rate). So here, in terms that real people can actually understand, is how to write a cover letter.
ADDRESS, CITY, ZIP
TITLE / COMPANY
Dear Recipient Name,
Ok, so you get 3 paragraphs and the first one sucks. Literally, all we need in this one is the most basic details about yourself: name, major, hometown, and school you're attending. If you can, spice it up with a little bit about your end goal in life, but don't go into too much detail.
This is your second paragraph and it is way better than the first. This one is fun because you get to talk about yourself and let's face it, everyone loves to talk about themselves. This is where you get to brag about what separates you from the crowd. What YOU can offer that Chad from Sigma Alpha Pi Chi can't buy with daddy's money. Are you driven? Brave? Creative? Passionate? Hell, yeah you are. Now, support your statement and tell the company why they should care. Don't get me wrong, I hate the corporate world as much as the next jaded millennial, but money does matter and that's what the company will be thinking of 90% of the time they are reading this. Try telling them about how you can make a team work smoothly together, how your optimism is contagious or even how you are just genuinely invested in helping grow yourself and the people you are involved with. You don't have to tell them directly about the sales you will make them, but they need to see that they are adding someone to their team that is going to be more than just a fun coworker.
This is your last and most vital paragraph. This paragraph is where you talk about why you are applying to the position you are applying for. What is it that drew you to this company? Your reasoning should be on both a personal and professional level. Make it sincere. Make it genuine. However, if you're having issues making a single authentic paragraph on why you want to work somewhere you're applying to… maybe it's time to apply somewhere else. Finally, close it out with a "thank you for your consideration... blah blah blah" line, and that's it!
My biggest tip to leave you with is be genuine. I don't care how badly you think you want to work somewhere if you lie throughout your entire interview process to get chosen, you're going to hate it. I would never wish that anyone would ever have to write a cover letter, even my worst enemy; but if you do, I hope this helps!