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Writing the perfect cover letter harvard business

Save time using these free cover letter templates. Get the Templates Marketing 9 min read No one seems to agree on cover letters.

How much time do you need to spend perfecting them? Do hiring managers even read them?

Is it better to just send in your resume and call it a day? I'm not in HR, but I've been approached by applicants who wondered whether their cover letter would actually be read.

My answer is one not many of them wanted to hear: Other times, you can get away with just sending in your resume -- like when you network your way into applying for a position. The truth is, you can't really predict on a case-by-case basis -- and you're better safe than sorry. For the most part, having a cover letter will give you an upper hand in ways your resume doesn't.

It allows you to show off your writing skills, provide details that you couldn't fit on your resume, demonstrate your passion, and show your willingness to put in as much time and effort as possible. But if your cover letter is sloppy, you might as well have not applied at all.

Grammatical errors could mean your application is thrown in the trash. Using a generic "one-size-fits-all" cover letter -- especially if you forgot to change the name of the company -- will definitely hurt your chances. So if you take the time to write a cover letter, take special care that it reflects you in the best possible light. Let's take a look at an example cover letter template, what makes it effective, along with eight more cover letters you can download or draw inspiration from.

Basic The example above is a basic but great cover letter. The numbered sections are explained in more detail below.

Why This Cover Letter Works 1. Header The level of formality your header has will depend on the company to which you apply. If you're applying to a formal business, it's important to use a formal header to open your cover letter, like in the sample above. Put your address, the date, and the company's address. But if you're applying to a company that isn't as formal, you don't need to include yours and the company's addresses.

You can still include the date, though. Greeting Using "To Whom It May Concern" is okay, but you may want to take the time to research the name of the recruiter or hiring manager online. If you do your research and aren't confident you found the right name, then you should definitely use the generic greeting -- but if you are sure, then it shows you put in the effort to find their name and it will catch the recruiter's eye.

If you have the recruiter's name, do you greet them by their full name, or by their courtesy title i. Similar to the header, it depends on the company's level of formality. If you're applying to a corporate business, you may want to consider using "Mr.

  • Which projects have you worked on that would benefit the new company?
  • Lucky for you, we searched the web far and wide to bring you the best examples of totally awesome, out of this world cover letters that people have actually written;
  • It might be easy for a recruiter to sift through a short and sweet cover letter like the one above, but it's just as easy for it to get lost in the shuffle of their application list without a unique design or format;
  • Using a generic "one-size-fits-all" cover letter -- especially if you forgot to change the name of the company -- will definitely hurt your chances;
  • Why the Company Is a Great Fit for You While it's certainly important you're a good fit for the job, it's also important that the company is a good fit for you;
  • When you know the name of the hiring manager.

Snaper" instead of "Jon Snaper. Introduction Your opening paragraph should, in 1-3 sentences, state why you're excited to apply and what makes you the perfect candidate.

Get right to the point, and don't worry about explaining where you found the posting or who you know at the company. This isn't a place to go into detail about why you're a great candidate -- that's for the second paragraph. Here, simply list a few key reasons in one sentence to set up the rest of your letter. Keep in mind that the recruiter may cross-reference your cover letter with your resume, so make sure the two sync up.

Why You're a Great Fit for the Job Next, sell yourself and your experience by choosing one or two concrete examples that show why you're a great fit for the position. What did you do at a previous company that gave you relevant experience?

Which projects have you worked on that would benefit the new company? How will your prior experience help this company grow? Stay humble in your explanation of credentials while still showing that you would be an asset to the team. Use this paragraph to writing the perfect cover letter harvard business you're genuinely excited and interested in the position. Why the Company Is a Great Fit for You While it's certainly important you're a good fit for the job, it's also important that the company is a good fit for you.

What impresses and excites you about the company?

  • You know someone who works there -- no harm in that;
  • For the most part, having a cover letter will give you an upper hand in ways your resume doesn't.

Is there something that you feel strongly about that aligns with the company's goals? For example, the candidate in the sample letter used this space to show his personal commitment to environmental causes aligns with the company's green initiatives. Strong Closer and Signature Don't get lazy in the final few sentences of your cover letter -- it's important to finish strong.

  • What did you do at a previous company that gave you relevant experience?
  • Grammatical errors could mean your application is thrown in the trash;
  • Grammatical errors could mean your application is thrown in the trash;
  • Using a generic "one-size-fits-all" cover letter -- especially if you forgot to change the name of the company -- will definitely hurt your chances;
  • Why the Company Is a Great Fit for You While it's certainly important you're a good fit for the job, it's also important that the company is a good fit for you;
  • If you're applying to a corporate business, you may want to consider using "Mr.

Be straightforward about your interest and enthusiasm about the new position, and tell them you're available to talk about the opportunity at any time. Be sure to include your phone number and email address. At this point, the ball is rightly in the recruiter's court to decide how to follow up. Last but certainly not least, thank them for their time and consideration. Use a formal sign-off like "Best," "All the best," or "Sincerely," and finish by typing out your full name.

You don't need to sign it with a pen.

When you know the name of the hiring manager. When you know something about what the job requires. When you've been referred to the job personally.

Under those three circumstances, a straight-to-the-point cover letter like the one above could be your best bet. Because it's so concise, however, make a point to add your own letterhead above the message itself. It might be easy for a recruiter to sift through a short and sweet cover letter like the one above, but it's just as easy for it to get lost in the shuffle of their application list without a unique design or format. Referral Cover Letter Get it here.

Just because a friend or colleague recommended you for a job doesn't mean the company is all set to hire you. Therefore, the cover letter template above is written specifically for referrals.

9 Free Cover Letter Templates for Your Next Job Application

We made this one here at HubSpot. Download it here it comes with four other cover letter templates, too. As you can see in the picture above, the first paragraph of the cover letter is dedicated entirely to acknowledging the circumstances of your applying: You know someone who works there -- no harm in that.

But there might be harm in not mentioning it to the hiring manager. Telling the reader about your connection at the company shows you're aware and confident of the actions you take to get the opportunities you're interested it.

The 8 Cover Letters You Need to Read Now

Ultimately, it's better than the recruiter hearing about your employee connection from somebody else. As for the rest of the cover letter, treat your message the same way you would if you had applied with no connection from within. Your skills and successes are no less important because of your internal referral. Photo Letterhead Cover Letter.