Resume, Email and CV Cover Letter Examples 2018 Edition - AdelaminInfo

Resume, Email and CV Cover Letter Examples 2018 Edition

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Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Write a Cover Letter: 31 Tips You Need to Know

by

The Muse Editor

Write a Cover Letter

Ah, the dreaded cover letter. Every time you sit down to write one, you probably browse cover letter examples online, get overwhelmed, and think something to the effect of: Does anyone really read these? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if I could just let my resume speak for itself?

First off: Yes, we can assure you that cover letters do, in fact, get read. In fact, to some hiring managers, they’re the most important part of your application. And yes, while it would be easier to let your resume speak for itself, if that was the case you’d completely miss the opportunity to tell prospective employers who you are, showcase why they should hire you, and stand out above all the other candidates.

Ready to get started? To make sure your cover letter is in amazing shape (and is as painless as possible to write), we’ve compiled our 31 best cover letter tips of all time into one place.

Read on—then get cover letter writing.

1. Don’t Regurgitate Your Resume

Instead of just repeating yourself (“I was in charge of reviewing invoice disputes”), use your cover letter to describe additional details that you weren’t able to squeeze onto the single page of your resume: “By resolving invoice disputes, I gained a deep analytical knowledge—but more importantly, I learned how to interact calmly and diplomatically with angry customers.” A cover letter gives you the freedom to use full sentences—instead of bullet points—so use them to expand upon your resume points and tell the story of why you’re the perfect fit for the company.

2. Think Not What the Company Can Do for You

A common cover letter mistake? Talking about how great the position would be for you and your resume. Frankly, hiring managers are aware of that—what they really want to know is what you’re going to bring to the position and company. On that note:

3. Clearly Show What You’re Capable Of

Beyond explaining what you’ve done in the past, show hiring managers what you can do in the future. “Determine the key requirements and priorities for this job, and make it instantly clear to the reviewer that you can deliver the goods on these key things,” says Jenny Foss , job search expert and founder of JobJenny.com . “Consider crafting a section within the letter that begins with, ‘Here’s what, specifically, I can deliver in this role.’ And then expound upon your strengths in a few of the priority requirements for that role.”

4. Showcase Your Skills

When you know you have the potential to do the job—but your past experience doesn’t totally sell you as the perfect one for the position—try focusing on your skills, instead. Here’s a template that helps you do just that.

5. …Not Necessarily Your Education

Many new grads make the mistake of over-focusing on their educational backgrounds. At the end of the day, what hiring managers care about most is your work experience (and yes, that can be volunteer or internship experience, too)—and what you can walk through the door and deliver on Day 1.

6. Don’t Apologize for Skills You Don’t Have

When you don’t meet all of the job requirements, it’s common for job seekers to use lines like, “Despite my limited experience with marketing…” or “While I only have work experience doing administrative tasks…” But why apologize? Instead of drawing attention to your weaknesses, try to focus on the skills you do have, says career expert Lily Zhang . “Stay positive, focus on your strengths, and immediately launch into your transferable skills and infectious enthusiasm for the position.”

7. Highlight the Right Experiences

Not sure what skills and experiences you should be featuring? Drop the text of the job description into a word cloud tool like Wordle , and see what stands out. That’s what the hiring manager is looking for most.

8. Tell a Story

What brings you to this company? Did you used to sing along to all of its commercials as a kid? Did the product make some incredible difference in your life? Do you sometimes pull into the parking lot and daydream about what it would feel like to work there? Stories bring your background and experiences to life, so feel free to tell them. (Just, you know, keep them short and to the point.)

9. Use a Few Numbers

When it comes to the job search, numbers often speak louder than words. “Offer stats to illustrate your impact on companies or associations you’ve worked for in the past,” suggests career expert and founder of ProfessionGal Megan Broussard . “Employers love to see numbers—it shows them that you speak their language and that you understand what they’re looking for in an employee: results.”

10. Consider Testimonials

If you have great feedback from old co-workers, bosses, or clients, don’t be afraid to use it! A seamless way to integrate a positive quote from a previous manager or client is to use it as evidence of your passion for your area of expertise. For example, “I have developed a keen interest in data science during my years working various political campaigns (as my past supervisor once said, I love Excel more than anyone she knows).”

11. Cut the Formality

“Don’t be overly formal (‘I wish to convey my interest in filling the open position at your fine establishment’),” writes career expert Mark Slack . “It makes you seem insincere and even robotic, not anything like the friendly, approachable, and awesome-to-work-with person you are.

12. Think Custom, Not Canned

Most companies want to see that you’re truly excited about the position and company, which means creating a custom letter for each position you apply for. “When a recruiter reads, ‘Dear Hiring Manager, I am so excited to apply for the open position at your company, where I hope to utilize my skills to progress in my career,’ he or she immediately recognizes it for what it is—a stock cover letter that you’ve mass-distributed to every place in town,” says Muse career expert Katie Douthwaite . And then probably throws it in the trash.

13. Start With a Template

That said, there’s nothing that says you can’t get a little help. Our easy, downloadable cover letter guide will walk you through, step-by-step, how to create a cover letter that rocks.

14. …Or Some Inspiration

Having trouble getting started? Check out 31 examples of how to start your cover letter in an engaging, attention-grabbing way or these eight examples of awesome cover letters that actually worked.

15. Be Open to Other Formats

If you’re applying to a more traditional company, then the tried-and-true three-to-five-paragraph format probably makes sense. However, if you’re gunning for a more creative or startup job—or need to explain to the hiring manager, say, how your career has taken you from teaching to business development, a different approach could be appropriate. Here at The Muse, we’ve seen cover letters use bullet points, tell stories, or showcase videos to (successfully) get their point across. This professional even turned hers into a BuzzFeed-style list!

16. But Don’t Go Too Far

Just—don’t. Keep it professional.

17. Consider Adding a Headline

One formatting idea from The Undercover Recruiter ? Add an eye-catching headline to your letter, like “3 Reasons I’m an Excellent Fit for the Marketing Manager Position.” Again, no one says you have to follow the tried-and-true format, and this can be an easy way to catch the hiring manager’s eye quickly.

18. Be Real

“Honest, genuine writing always goes much, much further than sticking to every dumb rule you’ve ever read in stale, outdated career guides and college textbooks,” explains Foss .

19. …And Normal

We can’t tell you how many cover letters we’ve seen from people who are “absolutely thrilled for the opportunity” or “very excitedly applying!” Downplay the adverbs a bit, and just write like a normal person.

20. Cut the Fluff

Avoid, at all costs, describing yourself as a “team player” or a “people person,” says Broussard . “Instead, show off your skills with descriptive statements like ‘I’m an expert communicator with experience bringing together diverse departments to develop a cohesive program.’ It’s longer—but it’s also stronger.”

21. Write in the Company’s “Voice”

Cover letters are a great way to show that you understand the environment and culture of the company and industry and prove that you’ve got what they are looking for. So, always keep in mind who will be reading your cover letter, and tailor it to what you know will get them excited. Spending five or 10 minutes reading over the company website before you get started can be a great way to get in the right mindset—you’ll get a sense for the company’s tone, language, and culture, which are all things you’ll want to mirror as you’re writing.

22. Boost Your Confidence Before Writing

Writing guru Alexandra Franzen offers a simple mind trick that will dramatically change the way you write cover letters: Pretend. “Pretend that the person you’re writing to already loves and respects you. Pretend that the person you’re writing to already believes that you’re worthy and valuable. Pretend that the person you’re writing to doesn’t need a big sales pitch,” she explains. Then, write. Your words will come out so much easier. (Here’s more on how to do it .)

23. Have Some Fun With It

News flash: Cover letter writing doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, there are plenty of ways to spice it up! Hoping for a job at a startup? Making your cover letter more creative—whether you use a spunkier tone, play with the format, or make it more visual—will likely improve your chances of getting a call back. Applying for a corporate position? Stick with the traditional format, but make it more conversational, or include a story about how you first came in contact with the company or how much you love it. Much more fun, right? (Here are a few other ways to make cover letter writing suck less .)

24. Don’t Let Your Fear of Bragging Get in the Way

If you tend to have a hard time writing about yourself, here’s a quick trick: Imagine you’re someone else writing a letter about yourself. Think from the perspective of a friend, mentor, or previous employer—someone who would only sing your praises—and then write the letter from her point of view. If it helps, you can even write the letter in third person (i.e. “Erin would be a great fit for this position because…”). Just make sure you’re very careful about going back through and changing it to first person when you’re done!

25. Have Someone Gut Check It

Have a friend take a look at your cover letter, and ask him or her two questions: Does this sell me as the best person for the job? and Does it get you excited? If the answer to either is “no,” or even slight hesitation, go back for another pass.

26. Keep it Short and Sweet

There are always exceptions to the rule, but in general, for resumes and cover letters alike, don’t go over a page. “According to the Orange County Resume Survey, almost 70% of employers either want a half page cover letter (250 words) or ‘the shorter the better,’ approach,” writes Slack .

27. Don’t Start With Your Name

Because, well, the hiring manager can see it already on your resume. Get right to the point with what you can bring to the job.

28. But Do Include the Hiring Manager’s Name

Use the person’s first and last name, including a “Mr.” or “Ms.” (e.g., Mr. Jack Smith). Never use “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear or Sir or Madam”—nothing could be more generic (not to mention archaic). For more on addressing it correctly, read these cover letter rules .

29. Unless You Don’t Know It

OK, sometimes, even after hours of online searching ( try these tips ), you still might not be able to definitively figure out who exactly the hiring manager for the position you’re applying for is. If you can only find a list of executives and you’re not completely confident who the hiring manager is, use the head of the department for the position you’re applying for. If you really don’t have a name to use, try to still be as specific as possible in your greeting. Consider using “Senior Analyst Hiring Manager” or “Research Manager Search Committee”—something that shows that you’ve written this letter with a particular audience in mind.

30. Edit

We shouldn’t have to tell you to run your cover letter through spell-check, but here’s an even better step: Check out how the wording sounds to others using Hemingway . Drop your text onto the page, and the color-coded app will give your writing a once-over. Is a sentence too wordy, overly complex, or totally unreadable? It’ll be highlighted in red until you revise it. Tend to overuse the passive voice? Every instance of it will show up in green. The site will even recommend when you can use shorter or simpler words (Why take up precious resume space with “utilize” when you can say “use?”).

31. But Care Most About Standing Out

Perhaps the best piece of cover letter wisdom we can offer you comes from Foss : The most memorable cover letters are written by people who care less about the rules and more about standing out to the hiring manager. “Next time you sit down to write a cover letter, vow to not get uptight about all the tiny little ‘rules’ you’ve picked up along the way,” she writes. “Instead, buck convention. Be memorable. Nail the stuff that will make you a true standout.”

Topics

Candidate Experience: Application Under Review
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Job Search
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Resumes & Cover Letters
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Cover Letters
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received

Photo of
man checking his phone courtesy xavierarnau/Getty Images.


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Customer Service Cover Letter in 8 Simple Steps (12+ Examples)

Cover Letter 08/09/2018
Tom Gerencer
Career Writer
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You’re looking to make a great customer service cover letter. But first:

 

You’re so ready to be employed.

 

You’ve spent hours polishing your resume.

 

Now, you need a customer service cover letter.

 

But not just any letter.

 

You need a cover letter for customer service that’ll wake and shake the hiring manager.

 

One that’ll connect you to the interview like a direct line to the president.

 

In a few minutes, you’ll know how to write a customer service rep cover letter like that.

 

This guide will show you:

 

  • How to write a customer service cover letter better than 9 out of 10 others.
  • Customer service representative cover letter samples that get more interviews.
  • Why our customer service cover letter examples will help you land the job.
  • How to start and end a cover letter for customer service so it stands out.

 

Here’s a customer service cover letter sample and a matching resume.

 

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get tips and right vs. wrong examples while writing your resume.  See +20 resume templates and create your resume here .

 

customer service cover letter and resume samples

Customer Service Cover Letter for a Resume— See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here .

 

One of our users, Nikos, had this to say:

 

[I used] a nice template I found on Zety. My resume is now one page long, not three. With the same stuff.

 

Create your resume now

 

Now let me show you how to do that right in 8 easy steps.

 

The Secret to Every Great Customer Service Cover Letter?

 

A great cover letter for customer service starts with one thing:

 

A proven, effective template.

 

Without further ado, here’s one you can copy, paste, and adapt to your own needs:

 

Customer Service Cover Letter Template

 

Tim Alvino

Customer Service Specialist

831 Rasle Road

Alameda, CA 94501

630-756-8994

[email protected]

 

2/20/18

Luca Lindal

Kajo Global

3341 Star Route

Alameda, CA 94601

 

Dear Luca,

 

I’ve wanted to work for Kajo Global for years, so I was very excited to see your customer service job opening. I’m sure I can help with Kajo’s quest to increase customer retention. In my previous role at On Point Electronics, I maintained customer retention rates 38% above the company average with 150 reps.

 

My 99% positive customer survey results is another reason I think I’d make a great fit at Kajo. As an added bonus, my conversion rate for cross-sells and upsells was 10% better than the average.

 

I’m well aware of Kajo’s ongoing journey into customer service excellence. This position is a perfect match for my love of helping people and solving problems.

 

I would welcome the chance to discuss your customer service goals. I’d love to show you how my success at On Point Electronics can translate to real customer service excellence at Kajo.

 

Best regards,

 

Tim Alvino

 

PS—I’d also love to show you how my constant quest for personal growth won me On Point Electronics’ coveted Customer Hero Award and how that can help Kajo’s customers too!

 

There’s your job-winning customer service representative cover letter sample.

 

Now let me show you why that sample cover letter for job applications in customer service works so well. You’ll also learn to adapt it to any opening.

 

Plus, I’ll share 10+ customer service cover letter examples to customize your version.

 

In case you’re not applying for an open position, you might want to read this guide and follow up with this one: How to Write a Letter of Interest

 

1

The Perfect Customer Service Cover Letter Header

 

Here’s the easy part.

 

Even entry-level customer service cover letters need the right heading info.

 

Start with:

 

  • Your name
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Date
  • Hiring manager’s name (and title)
  • Company name and address

 

You can also add:

 

  • Your job title
  • Your address
  • Links to your online presence (portfolio websites, LinkedIn, and Twitter)

 

Keep it professional with the following tips:

 

Use a professional email address. That means either Gmail or an address from your own website. Also, no [email protected] Just use your first and last name.

 

Don’t use your work email. That’s bad manners to your current employer, and it’s a red flag to the new one.

 

Pro Tip: In an entry-level customer service cover letter, cite transferable achievements. For example, if you were a bartender, you performed multiple customer service duties. Those will transfer to your new job.

 

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get tips and right vs. wrong examples while writing your resume.  See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here .

 

best example of customer service resume sample

Customer Service Resume Example –  See +20 resume templates and create your resume here .

 

2

Open Your Cover Letter with a Proper Greeting

 

Who should you address your cover letter for customer service to?

 

Answer: To the hiring manager.

 

Why? Using her name will get her attention like a Salesforce notification.

 

In fact, 84% of hiring managers reject applications that don’t use their names.

 

Do a little research to find the name. Learn how in our guide: How to Address a Cover Letter: Sample & Guide [20+ Examples]

 

Absolutely can’t find a name? Don’t write a To Whom it May Concern customer support cover letter.

 

Instead, use “Customer Service Hiring Team.” That’s as personal as possible when you don’t know a name.

 

Here are some good customer service cover letter example greetings:

 

  • Dear Alice,
  • Dear Ms. Smith,
  • Dear Mrs. Ford,
  • Dear Customer Service Hiring Team,

 

Pro Tip: Don’t use “Miss” or “Mrs.” unless you’re sure the hiring manager likes that. “Ms.” works well regardless of marital status. That keeps your cover letter for customer service jobs faux-pas free.

 

What’s the best cover letter format for customer service? The three-paragraph format. Learn to nail it here: Cover Letter Formats: A Complete How-To Guide [10+ Examples]

 

3

Write a Catchy Opening Paragraph

 

I’ll be blunt.

 

The first sentence of your customer service representative cover letter is crucial.

 

That first sentence will get your letter read or trashed.

 

Do it right, or you’ll be shunned as surely as a robocall.

 

Look how that’s done (and not done). Check out these two sample cover letters for job applications in customer service:

 

wrong

I am writing to apply to your customer service job posting. I’ve enclosed my call center resume. As a customer service professional with 4+ years of experience, I think I’d make a great fit for this position.

 

That’s not as bad as a telemarketing call, but it’s not great either. It basically says, “I’ve done this job and here’s my resume.” It’ll put the hiring manager to sleep.

 

Compare it to the next of our customer service cover letter samples:

 

right

I’ve wanted to work for Kajo Global for years, so I was very excited to see your customer service job opening. I’m sure I can help with your quest to increase customer retention. Why? Because in my previous role at On Point Electronics, I maintained customer retention rates 38% above the company average for 150 reps.

 

That customer service cover letter example is better than a Jabra headset. If you don’t get the job, the hiring manager has troubles.

 

Pro Tip: Not sure how to start your entry-level customer service cover letter? Cite a great achievement. Haven’t got one? Talk about the employer’s needs, or mention something you love about the company.

 

Even with great customer service cover letter examples, starting yours can be a teeth-gnasher. See our guide for help: How to Start a Cover Letter: Sample & Complete Guide [20+ Examples]

 

4

Explain Why You’re The Perfect Customer Service Candidate

 

Picture it:

 

You’ve got a new job and a whole new group of friends.

 

Best of all, you’ve got a fat paycheck.

 

How did you do it?

 

By listing all your best qualifications in a cover letter for customer service?

 

No.

 

The last thing you want is to make a cover letter that’s a mirror image of your resume.

 

Hiring managers don’t like that.

 

Instead, show how you can help the manager.

 

Check out the customer service cover letter examples below. They both target a job that needs good customer survey results, cross-selling, and upselling.

 

right

My 99% positive customer survey results are another reason I think I’d make a great fit at Kajo. As an added bonus, my conversion rate for cross-sells and upsells was 10% better than the average.

 

Wow. The hiring manager can feel her job getting easier already.

 

Of course she’ll read your resume with interest now.

 

But don’t follow the next of our customer service cover letter examples:

 

wrong

I’ve done a lot of customer service work. At On Point Electronics, I was responsible for outbound calls and handling inbound calls. I was in charge of a Zendesk terminal, and had to handle complaint resolution. I was also tasked with building customer loyalty.

 

That’s like a busy signal. It’s got no measurements of how you performed at any of those tasks. Worse, it doesn’t fit the job offer.

 

Pro Tip: You don’t have to be a customer service ninja to impress the hiring manager. Just spend a little time brainstorming your flashiest achievement.

 

Are you writing an entry-level customer service cover letter, or a cover letter for a customer service internship? You may feel like you don’t have enough experience. Don’t sweat it. Our guide shows how to write a great internship or entry-level cover letter and get the interview: How to Write a Cover Letter For an Internship [+20 Examples]

 

5

Explain Why You Really Want This Customer Service Job

 

What’s the #1 thing the hiring manager cares about?

 

Whether you can help her meet her needs, right?

 

Not exactly.

 

The hiring manager doesn’t just want a skilled customer service rep.

 

She wants an engaged one. One who’s driven to work hard. One who’ll stay at the company a long time.

 

So, prove that in your cover letter for customer service representatives.

 

To do it right:

 

  • Mention a goal shown in the job ad
  • Say why that goal excites you
  • Remind the manager how your experience can help.

 

The two customer service cover letter samples below show how.

 

right

I’m well aware of Kajo’s ongoing journey into customer service excellence. This position is a perfect match for my love of helping people and solving problems.

 

That’s better than a coupon for free merchandise. It shows you “get” the hiring manager. It also shows how you can be her hero.

 

She’d have to be a little nutty not to hire you. That’s not so with the next of our customer service cover letter examples.

 

wrong

I’d really love to get this job. I think I’d be great at it, and I’ll work very hard for you.

 

Do you believe that applicant? The hiring manager won’t. Without some kind of measurement, it’s like saying you’re a fast runner. Really?

 

What races have you won? What’s your time in the 100 meter dash? Your cover letter for customer service needs details.

 

Pro Tip: How long should a cover letter be? Short cover letters are usually best. That means less than 300 words, and just three paragraphs.

 

Wondering how to explain employment gaps in your customer rep covering letter? Want more great cover letter tips? See our guide: 35+ Successful Cover Letter Tips, Advice & Guidelines (With Examples)

 

6

Make Your Offer in the Closing Paragraph

 

You’ve got a great customer service cover letter so far.

 

It shows you understand the employer’s needs.

 

It proves how you can fill them.

 

Now it has to make an offer, just like in a customer service cross-sell.

 

These two entry-level customer service cover letter examples with no experience show how:

 

right

I’d welcome the chance to discuss your customer service goals. I’d love to show you how my 99% customer satisfaction score from waiting tables at Cheesecake Factory can translate to customer service excellence at Kajo Global.

 

That’s not “Please give me a job.” It’s “Let me help.” It shows innate customer service qualities.

 

The next of our entry-level customer service cover letter examples is like a hang-up:

 

wrong

Let me know if you’d like to interview me. My contact information is at the top of this letter. Thank you for your time.

 

What’s wrong with that entry-level customer service cover letter example?

 

For one, it’s not customer service oriented. It asks for something, rather than offering something.

 

Also, it’s cliche. “Thank you for your time” is almost old enough to vote.

 

Pro Tip: Not sure what to offer in your cover letter for customer service call centers? Look in the job ad to see if you can spot the greatest need. Failing that, Google “customer service KPIs.” You’ll find example measures you can offer to improve.

 

Need more help writing your customer service cover letter ending? See our guide: How to End a Cover Letter: Sample & Complete Guide [+20 Examples]

 

7

Use the Right Formal Closing

 

It’s easy to end a cover letter for customer service advisors, right?

 

The problem is, it’s also easy to do it wrong.

 

Here are some examples of customer service cover letter closings:

 

Examples

 

  • Thank you,
  • Best regards,
  • Sincerely,
  • Kind regards,

 

After, add a line space, then your full name.

 

Want to double check your resume? See our guide, complete with a great customer service resume sample: Customer Service Resume: Sample & Complete Guide [+20 Examples]

 

Pro Tip: After you send your resume and cover letter for customer service, follow up! An email in a few days can put you top of mind, after the manager has forgotten about you and moved on.

 

Do you even need a cover letter? See our guide: Do I Need a Cover Letter? Are Cover Letters Necessary in 2018? [+Tips]

 

8

Why Adding PS to Your Customer Service Cover Letter Can Get the Interview

 

The best customer service cover letters will use all the tips and tricks above.

 

But there’s one more hack that can connect you to the job like a successful inbound call.

 

It’s “PS.”

 

PS draws the eye like a magnet. Put it after your closing, and the hiring manager is guaranteed to read it.

 

Put a great achievement in it, even if it’s not strictly relevant to the job description.

 

The last of our customer service cover letter examples shows the way.

 

Example

 

PS—I’d also love to show you how my constant quest for personal growth won me On Point Electronics’ coveted Customer Hero Award and how that can help Kajo’s customers too!

  

Hey, that’s cool! You won an award at your last job. That’s a great PS in a cover letter for customer service. Why?

 

Because even a hiring manager who only plans to glance at your letter can’t help but read it and get curious.

 

It’ll hook the job like a trophy trout.

 

Pro Tip: Don’t just send a customer service cover letter PDF or MS Word file. Cherry-pick the best bits and paste them into your email cover letter. See this guide for help: How to Email Your Resume to Get More Job Offers (Examples)

 

Don’t miss a trick. Use our handy checklist guide: What to Include in a Cover Letter (15+ Examples & A Complete Guide)

 

Key Takeaway

 

What’s the most important tips for how to write a great cover letter for customer service?

 

  • Make it personal.
  • Use the hiring manager’s name. Show you understand her needs like a great customer service rep should.
  • Even in an entry-level customer service cover letter, prove how you can meet those needs.
  • Finally, explain why you want this customer service job. That way, your new employer will have faith that you’ll work hard, and stick around.

 

Do you have questions about how to make a good customer service cover letter? Want to share an example of a customer service cover letter that worked for you? Give us a shout in the comments and we’d be happy to reply!

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Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer is a full-time writer in the fields of personal finance and careers. He’s been sharing expert advice on all stages of the recruitment process at the Zety career website for more than two years.
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Writing the Cover Letter

What are the objectives of a cover letter?

A good cover letter puts your résumé in context and persuades the prospective employer that you are a good match for the position in question. If your cover letter does its job, the prospective employer will begin to consider your candidacy and go on to review your résumé in detail.

Your cover letter also serves as a sample of your organizational and communication skills. For this reason, it’s essential to spend time writing and organizing the content, and to proofread it carefully. The time and care that you devote to constructing and writing your cover letter and résumé will demonstrate to the prospective employer that you’re capable of producing high quality work.

Finally, your cover letter expresses your interest in the particular position or particular organization. Cover letters should be individually tailored for each job prospect. Your letter should convey to each prospective employer that you have an understanding of the job, and that you’ve done some thinking about how you could fit in to the organization and contribute to its goals.

How should I approach the writing task?

Your cover letter is your opportunity to market those aspects of your skills, abilities, education, training, background, and experience which are most relevant to the position you’re seeking. This means that you will need to begin by doing some thinking about your skills and background and how these relate to the position for which you’re applying. (For more information about skills, visit the English Advising Career Page .) Your cover letter should reflect your individuality, but remember that you are “introducing yourself” for the first time to a stranger: it’s best to err on the side of professionalism.

Read the job announcement carefully. What are the most important qualifications being sought? How can you best demonstrate that you have them? Try to put yourself in the prospective employer’s position: What would you want to know about a candidate for this particular job? What information would be most important to you? Include only the most relevant attributes and experiences you possess which specifically match the job for which you’re applying.

Research the company or organization: What does the employing organization do? What are its goals? What is its history? How does it fit in to its industry? What characterizes the organization’s culture (e.g., is it casual, conservative, highly structured, diverse, traditional, modern, fast-paced, etc.)? Some information, such as the organization’s mission, purpose, clients, partners, and a sense of its “style” can be found on its website (if it has one). There are also industry and employer directories available on the web, in the libraries, and at UW Career Center in 134 Mary Gates Hall. Local and national newspapers, industry-related publications and journals, and the Washington Occupational Information System are also good resources.

Address the letter to a specific individual. As with all writing, it’s important to identify your audience. Taking the time to find out the hiring party’s name and correct title is another way to demonstrate your interest in the position.

How should I format my cover letter?

Your cover letter should be three to four paragraphs in length and limited to one page. Like an essay, its content can usually be divided up into three parts:

The introduction states the position you’re seeking, explains how you learned about the position, and indicates your interest. It often also contains a brief statement of your qualifications (education, experience, and skills).

The body highlights the most important qualities you can offer to this particular employer, related to the position that you’re seeking. Because you will be attaching your résumé, this is not the place to go into great detail. What you are attempting to do is to get the employer’s attention and interest him/her in your candidacy. This is also the place to present other relevant information about your characteristics or background that may not be evident from your résumé. You might provide the employer with some specific examples of how you’ve demonstrated particular key skills or how you fulfill the most important qualifications listed in the job announcement.

The conclusion should summarize your qualifications and your interest in the position. Be sure to close your letter with a request for action or an indication that you’ll be following up. This might include a request for an interview, a statement of your intent to call the employer on a specific date, or the dates you’ll be in town for an interview. Finally, always thank the employer for considering your application.

Sample Cover Letters

Mary Martin
221 Peachtree Street
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 555-5555
[email protected]

April 22, 2013

Ms Stephanie Everly
Managing Editor
Dickinson Press
12 Main Street
Amherst, MA 11001

Re: Editorial assistant position

Dear Ms Everly:

I am writing to express my keen interest in the editorial assistant position you advertised with the University of Washington’s Career Center. I will be receiving my bachelor of arts degree in English in June 2012, and I am eager to join a small publishing house where I can use my skills in writing, editing, proofreading, research, and critical anaylsis. Based on my knowledge of Dickinson Press publications and objectives, I believe that my educational background and abilities would be an excellent match for the editorial position.

Through my academic work in English language, literature, and writing, I am prepared to make meaningful contributions to editorial discussions and to function as a member of your editorial team. In addition to my university training, I have held editorial positions with Bricolage, the University of Washington’s undergraduate literary journal, and with Steubing Press, a small publishing house specializing in non fiction and regional publications in the Pacific Northwest. These intern positions have provided me with experience in editing, proofreading, fact checking, production scheduling, working with off-site vendors, sales, marketing, and customer service. My positions with a small publication and a small press have taught me to manage my time effectively, adapt readily to new responsibilities, work as a team member, and function well under pressure. The writing skills I developed through my background as an English major have been further refined in both of these positions, where I learned to write concise, persuasive prose for press releases, catalog statements, and website content. Both positions afforded me an in-depth understanding of the important and varied behind-the-scenes work involved in book publishing.

I hope you’ll agree that the combination of my academic training and my internship work in publishing has provided me with excellent preparation for the demands of a literary editorial position with Dickinson Press. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss this opportunity in greater detail.

Sincerely,

Mary L. Martin

Encl: résumé

Mary Martin
221 Peachtree Street
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 555-5555
[email protected]

April 22, 2013

Keeshia Rodell
Marketing Director
Echomedia Marketing Group
123 Avery Place
Seattle, WA 98111

Dear Ms Rodell:

John Bingham of Hemming Communications tells me that you are seeking a marketing assistant at the Echomedia Marketing Group, and he suggested that I send you my résumé. I am particularly interested in the public relations work that Echomedia has done in the non profit sector, and I hope you’ll agree that my academic background in English along with my promotions internship with the Experience Music Project make me a good candidate for this position.

In June, I will be receiving my BA in English and Communications. My background includes relevant course work in mass media communications, concepts of new media, media structure, and cross-cultural communications. I have also developed strong writing, persuasive, and critical analysis skills through my major in English.

In the course of my internship in promotions, I gained practical skills in managing media campaigns, doing press work, and planning promotional events. One of my tasks with the EMP was to prepare promotional materials for upcoming museum events and to distribute these materials to the local media. Because there was often very little lead time, I learned to obtain information quickly and assimilate it into a persuasive set of ad materials in short order. At the end of the internship, I was commended by my supervisor, Marion King, for producing high quality work on a strict timeline. I am diligent, creative, and flexible, and I work well as a member of a marketing team.

I look forward to speaking with you about the suitability of my English and marketing background for this position with Echomedia. I will telephone you within a week in the hope that we can set up a meeting soon. Thank you for considering my application.

Sincerely,

Mary L. Martin

Encl: résumé


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