First, below is the actual job ad for one of the jobs I applied for (and got!). I highlighted the keywords in the ad (shown below in red text) before I wrote my cover letter, so I could make sure I covered each one.
Under the job ad example is shown the cover letter I wrote in response to it.
Business Systems Manager
Reports to the Chief Financial Officer. Responsible for maintaining all business systems,applications and fiscal operations interfaces; plan, develop and implement functional and process improvements to business operating systems, related sub systems and interfaces; and to provide direct support to Financial Services, Logistics and other business operations and functions within the organization.
BA degree in business, public administration or related field OR a BA degree in computer science or related technical field, with significant course work in business management, finance, accounting, purchasing or materials management AND seven (7) years of related management experience involving responsibility for business or financial systems .
The cover letter sample below is the one I wrote in response to this job ad. Note the text in red – this is the text that matches the requirements in the job ad.
ABC Company Job #1234-5678123 Main StreetAnytown, CA 98109
January XX, 20XX
Dear Ms. Smith,
I’m responding to your opening for a Business Systems Manager.
I believe my experience and skill set is an excellent fit for your requirements as stated. I have over 20 years of business management experience, most notably in the areas of:
- Developing and maintaining business processing systems
- Process analysis and improvement
- Budget and expense analysis and improvement
- Providing support and managing the teams that provide supportto a broad range of other business operations throughout the corporation.
I have a B.S. degree in Business. I also have extensive experience in developing and managing financial and transaction processing systems, with measurable cost savings as a result, as detailed in my attached resume.
I would welcome the opportunity to interview and convince you I can add value to the operations and systems of the ABC Company.
With my best regards,
Home phone: 123-456-7890 Cell phone: 123-456-7890 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notice in this cover letter sample how I addressed the major requirements in the job ad in the body of my cover letter. I also direct the reader to my resume for specific information about my accomplishments, to demonstrate that I’m not just making unsupportable statements about my qualifications.
Also notice that in the closing paragraph of this cover letter sample, I don’t just ask for an interview – I make the point that I want to convince the Hiring Manager that I will add value to the organization. I also included my contact information (to make it easy and convenient to contact me!).
The combination of this cover letter sample and my resume, modified for each job I applied for, was what I used to find a new job in four weeks, after I lost my job of over 20 years. I used it again to find a new job in five weeks when my new employer (a dot com) went under unexpectedly.
My cover letter and resume were effective in getting me interviews with a variety of organizations: a dot com, the world’s largest software company (you know the one I’m talking about), a large public sector organization, a major metropolitan newspaper, and a major cellular phone company. I simply made sure to highlight my qualifications that were best suited for each job.
Of course, this presumes that you apply to jobs for which you are genuinely qualified! If you aren’t qualified and are simply fishing, it will be extremely difficult to show how your qualifications fit the job opening. My advice as a Hiring Manager is to apply only to those job openings for which your experience and qualifications are a good match.