How to Master Writing a Cover Letter

Last week, AFA launched our new Jobs Board geared to help you find your perfect job and discussed a few key points to keep in mind while crafting your resume. You can view last week’s post here.

No matter what stage you find yourself in your job search, you’ve probably had to write a cover letter to submit along with your resume. Danielle Hawkins, AFA’s Human Resources Coordinator, is back this week to walk through the best way to structure your cover letter to help you get your foot in the door the next time you submit a job application.

Cover letters are extremely important in the interview process, they help hiring managers learn more about you by going into detail about your experience and explaining why you would not only be a great fit for the position, but for the company as well.

First, Danielle says it is important to tailor your cover letter specifically to the job you are applying for. Submitting a standard cover letter for multiple jobs may be easier, but won’t get you very far in the job process in the long run. Tailoring your cover letter shows hiring managers that you put time and effort into your work and it helps them see how your experience directly relates to the job description.

When it comes to structuring your cover letter, remember to use the “sandwich rule.” The first paragraph should be used to introduce yourself and address the organization directly, specifying the job you’re applying for. The second paragraph should detail your experience and how it applies to this position. Finally, your last paragraph should summarize your highlights, and show the hiring team why you are the perfect fit for the position over other potential candidates.

Danielle’s last tip also plays into last week’s discussion, make sure your contact information is correct and consistent across all documents. This way hiring managers will know how to reach you when they inevitably want to invite you for an interview.

So make sure you spend time tailoring your cover letter to the specific job you’re applying for. If you keep these guidelines in mind, it will greatly improve the application process and help the hiring managers see all of your qualifications for the role.

Head to www.afa.org/jobs to browse and apply to thousands of available jobs, curated specifically for veterans and civilians. Stay tuned for our next video, where we'll discuss important tips to keep in mind to prepare for your next interview.