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A cover letter is one of the more overlooked aspects of the job searching process. We’ve seen so many people spend so much time on their resume, but rush the cover letter.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to not overlook this part of your career hunt. The cover letter is usually the first thing that the employer reads, so it’s your opportunity to make a great first impression. We’re going to break down the process into 5 easy steps.

The anatomy of a cover letter

Before we even get into the aspects of writing the letter itself, it’s critical that you know how to format it. Employers want to waste as little time as possible, so if you keep everything in orderly fashion, it makes it that much easier to read.


Your Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Phone number

Mr. or Ms. Employer
Street Address
City, State, Zip

Dear Mr. or Ms. Employer,

FIRST PARAGRAPH: In 1-2 sentences, talk about why you are writing the company. Be sure to name the business, the position you’re applying for, and how you heard of the opening. Make sure this first paragraph is not longer than two sentences.

SECOND PARAGRAPH: In 4-6 sentences, talk about at least two qualifications that you think would be of value to the company. Be sure to craft it to fit the employer’s point of view, and not your own. If you have type of specialized training at the position, address it. Lastly, give a detailed response a piece of information stated in your resume. This gives the company an idea of what they’re about to see.

THIRD PARAGRAPH: In 1-2 sentences, thank the employer for taking the time to read your cover letter and resume. Close it out by either making an actual request for an interview, or let them know that you look forward to hearing back about the status of your application.


Your signature

Your name (typed)

How do I write the perfect cover letter?

Here are 5 tips that will help you make an eyebrow-raising first impression on the employer.

1. Make it more about the company, and less about you

It’s understandable, but companies are in a bit of selfish mindset when it comes to searching for new employees. They are interested in what assets you have that can be of use to the company, so your cover letter needs to immediately address their needs. After all, the company is hiring you to see what you can do for them, not the other way around.

Yes, it’s still important to mention your passion for the industry you’re applying for, your willingness to learn, and so on, but you need to pay more attention to how your experience would benefit the position and the business as a whole. The more you talk about this application from their perspective, the better chance you have at getting an interview.

2. Be skill-focused, not job-focused

We’ve noticed that many people have a tendency to talk more about the jobs that they have worked, as opposed to what skills they have that are relevant to the employer that they’re applying for. The company is much more concerned about what abilities you have that would make you a good fit for the position. Talk about approximately 2-4 special skillsets you have that you think would best suit the job.

3. Be specific

If you’re going to mention any sort of accomplishments in the cover letter, give out numbers, facts and figures. For example, talk about how much money was generated on a specific event or charity that you may have been apart of. However, if you don’t have any numbers or stats to boast about, don’t bring it up.

4. Be yourself

Let’s be real, reading cover letters and resumes for an employer isn’t particularly fun work. After awhile, it can certainly feel tedious. But if you inject some of your own personality into the cover letter right off the bat, the employer reading it is going to sit up in their chair and read more intently. Now, make sure you don’t overstep the bounds of professionalism. But don’t be afraid to show them you’d be fun to work with. Are you funny, outgoing, or great at office small talk? Whatever it may be, incorporate it into your cover letter, because this part will make you even more memorable.

5. Talk about your motivation for the job

Incorporating this part into the cover letter is a little trickier than any of the other tips. Many times when people mention this, they talk about “me, me, me” which does make sense, considering it involves YOU. But there is a way to craft this to where you can make it more about the employer.

Do some research on the needs or tasks of the company, and mention them along with your motivation and passion to want to help the need.

For example, you could structure it like this:

I noticed in the that (insert person or position) is in need of (insert need.) This is an awesome opportunity to improve your (insert what could be improved on), which I am passionate about and have experience in.

If you follow these guidelines and tips, you will have yourself an excellent cover letter that will surely catch the attention of employers. When you land the interview, check out these Zoom interview tips to help you crush your first interview and increase your chances of getting hired.

Carter Recruiting and Associates is one of the largest independent recruiting and outplacement companies in Arkansas. Our headquarters, located in Little Rock and our satellite office in Conway, both service accounts nationwide. We have satisfied clients and references from some of the largest companies in the state. With over 50 collective years of experience in the recruiting business, we have a vast amount of resources and knowledge to ensure a job well done.

Cherie Richardson

Cherie Richardson

Cherie is the owner and president of Carter Recruiting and Associates. She holds a BA in psychology from the University of Mississippi and has over 30 years of experience in the recruitment of executive and manufacturing professionals. Cherie’s work has been instrumental for new plant start-ups, as well as building and maintaining relationships throughout the region and state of Arkansas. She is a member of the National Association of Female Executives and the National Association of Women Business Owners.