How to Create a Compelling Cover Letter in Microsoft Word

976606 How to Create a Compelling Cover Letter in Microsoft Word

A cover letter is often the first impression a hiring manager will have of you as a candidate. While your resume showcases your skills and experience, the cover letter is your chance to explain why you are truly the best fit for the role.

Crafting a compelling cover letter may seem daunting, but it’s simpler than you think – especially with Microsoft Word’s helpful features. Follow these 10 steps to create a cover letter in Word that will capture the hiring manager’s attention.

1. Choose an Appropriate Template

Microsoft Word has several built-in cover letter templates you can choose from to save time. Simply go to File > New and search for “cover letter” to browse the options.

Select a template that fits the industry and level of formality for the role you’re applying to. For example, choose a conservative template for a finance position or a more creative one for a marketing opening.

2. Customize the Template

Once you’ve selected a template, it’s time to make it your own. Replace the generic text, fonts, colors and other design elements with details relevant to you and the company you’re applying to.

Make sure your font choices are professional, easy to read, and consistent. Use your resume’s header with your name and contact info so all application documents have a cohesive look.

3. Research the Company and Role

To write the most compelling cover letter possible, you need to understand the company, its culture and values, as well as the role’s responsibilities.

Spend time researching the organization’s website, social media, press releases, and review sites like Glassdoor. Note details like the company’s mission, latest projects, tech stack, values and challenges.

For the role itself, carefully read the job description and highlight the main responsibilities, must-have qualifications, and preferred skills. Identify how your background lines up with these needs.

4. Grab Their Attention

Your introduction paragraph needs to capture the hiring manager’s interest right away. Otherwise, they may not read any further.

You can grab their attention by:

  • Name-dropping the person who referred you to the role
  • Mentioning your connection to the company (as a customer, vendor, etc)
  • Highlighting a big achievement that proves you can add value
  • Showing genuine passion for the company’s mission

Follow by stating the role you’re applying for and key skills or experience you possess for it.

5. Explain Why You’re an Excellent Fit

The body of your cover letter must make a compelling case for why you’re the ideal candidate. Don’t just repeat the items from your resume – go into more depth.

Explain how your past experience, both professional and academic, has prepared you for excelling in this role. Use real examples of major accomplishments that demonstrate relevant hard and soft skills.

Align these examples with the must-have qualifications from the job description. This shows the hiring manager you possess the competencies to succeed should they hire you.

6. Close With a Call to Action

Wrap up your cover letter by reiterating your fit for the role and enthusiasm to join the company. This final paragraph should inspire the reader to want to learn more about you.

Close by thanking the hiring manager for their consideration and letting them know you look forward to discussing the position further. Provide your contact details and invite them to reach out with any questions they may have.

7. Format Appropriately

Once you’ve written your content, verify the formatting is polished and professional. Use an easy-to-read font like Arial or Times New Roman, size 11 or 12.

Include even one-inch margins on all sides and single line spacing. Align the text left and avoid any fancy justification or indentation.

The letter should fill one page max. Review the job description to confirm whether they want the cover letter as part of the body of an email or as an attached file.

8. Proofread Thoroughly

Before submitting your letter, carefully proofread it multiple times. Check for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors that could negatively impact your candidacy.

Read the letter aloud and backwards to catch tricky mistakes. Have a friend or family member also review it to provide a fresh perspective.

9. Use Keywords

Incorporate relevant keywords from the job description throughout your cover letter. Many companies use applicant tracking systems to scan documents for key terms.

Work keywords naturally into your explanations of how you meet must-have qualifications. Just be sure not to force too many or overload sentences.

10. Print and Review as Needed

Once your cover letter is complete, print a copy to review. Seeing it printed out can help you catch formatting issues and other errors.

Refer back to the printed version as you prepare for interviews. Review the specifics you highlighted about the company and role so you’re ready to discuss them further.

Following these steps will help you create a polished, professional cover letter document using Word’s robust features. Showcase why you deserve the role better than other applicants with a compelling letter.

Focus on grabbing their attention right away, aligning your background with their needs, showing genuine passion, and closing with a call to action. With an excellent cover letter to complement your resume, you’ll be ready to land more interviews!