If you search the internet, you’ll find a number of formulas for writing a great cover letter. Some recommend you tell a story, some recommend side-by-side columns. I’m going to send you in a different direction: Tell employers what you’ve been working on lately.

You’re probably thinking that the résumé covers that, and you’re partially correct. The details are there, but condensed into a bullet, or maybe mentioned in your summary. You need to hook employers early with the impression that your current experience is the perfect fit for their workplace.

The Template

Paragraph 1: Open with why you noticed them. Maybe you saw they were expanding their data center in your area. Maybe you met someone at a conference who impressed you. The more personal the better here. Worst case scenario: you Google them and use the latest news as an opener. At least it shows you’re interested enough to research them.

Paragraph 2: Describe a project you’re currently working on, without sharing proprietary info, of course. Tell them the situation, the challenges, and the results you’re seeing. Ideally, this recent project matches nicely with many of the skills and qualities they want.

Paragraph 3: Tell them why you’re ready to add value the minute you walk in the door. You just studied up on an obscure technology they want? Great! Leave them thinking about that.

Sign off, and proofread, then proofread again.

Bonus points if you use some subheadings and even a statement at the top to draw the reader in.

Cover Letter Example

June 1, 2019

Re: Restaurant Manager Position

Dear Ms. Smith:

To answer your question posed in the job advertisement: Yes, I’m obsessed with great customer service, chicken, and hometown values, in that order! 

Why Chicken Extravaganza

Simply put, in the five years CE has served our community, you have developed a reputation for quality service, decent pricing, and community support. I have attended two engagement parties at your restaurant in the last year, and both times we raved about the cooking and the welcoming service. I would be proud to join your team as restaurant manager.

My Career Lately

I’ve been working at a competitor and eating your food. Sneaking chicken sandwiches home on the sly is no way to live. My covert dining needs to end! Joking aside, I manage a restaurant with X shifts, X servers, and when I took over two years ago we had a problem with attrition. I’ve built my team from the ground up, and this month we implemented a scholarship incentive program that has allowed us to keep top servers coming back summer after summer while they work their way through college. I’ve also been reaching out to local organizations to bring in more catering business, and this year we will cater our first wedding and first company picnic.

Ready to Get to Work

I would be happy to meet to discuss how I can help your team, preferably over chicken sandwiches. I’ve just completed my Food Safety Manager Certification and would be excited to use this new knowledge set to help manage your team. I can be reached at 222-333-4444.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Remember, it is possible to add humor, personality, and especially your “Why.” Why do you want to work for them?Why are you a good fit? What’s your style? Write a cover letter covering these details and you’ll start to get calls for interviews. Be brief, be grammatically correct, and be you.

Need help with a cover letter or resume? I’d be happy to provide you with a free quote! Email me at meredith@mltcareers.com