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If you’re applying for a job as a receptionist, take some time to write a strong cover letter-doing so could help you land an interview.
Your cover letter should emphasize your organization and communication skills, along with other common receptionist skills in your cover letter.
You should also highlight any specific skills called for in the job description, such as familiarity with industry terminology, or expertise in Microsoft Office or QuickBooks. Doing this will help your cover letter demonstrate to the employer that you have the skills required for the job.
Looking for inspiration on how to get started? Get tips on what to write, as well as how to format and send your receptionist cover letter. Plus, take a look at two sample cover letters for receptionist positions that you can use as a template while writing your own.
Tips for Writing a Receptionist Cover Letter
To get started writing a receptionist cover letter that will impress potential employers, follow these tips:
Follow directions. When applying for receptionist positions online, in person, or by email, you will often be asked to include a cover letter with your resume and possibly some other materials such as a list of references and a general application. Be sure to read the job posting carefully, and include only the materials they request at a given time.
If you are asked to submit a cover letter, follow all directions carefully. Send the letter in the correct format to the correct person.
Use keywords. Tailor your cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. A great way to do that is to include keywords from the job listing in your cover letter. Reread the job listing, and circle any skills or qualifications that are important for the job. If you have those skills, include them in your cover letter. This will show the hiring manager, at a glance, that you are right for the job.
Provide examples. When you say that you have a particular skill or experience, prove it by providing a specific example. For instance, if you say that you have strong organizational skills, mention how you helped reorganize the filing system at your last job, and how this increased efficiency in the office. Specific examples show the hiring manager that you really have what it takes.
Highlight relevant experience. Wherever possible, share skills, accomplishments, and experience that match with the employer’s needs. You’ll also want to quantify any accomplishments if possible. For instance, maybe you can say that reorganizing the billing system at work led to 30% fewer late payments. If you do not have experience as a receptionist, think about ways you can show you’re still qualified for the role. For instance, maybe you volunteered at a phone bank (which helps show you have strong communication skills).
Edit, edit, edit. Receptionists need to have attention to detail and strong communication skills. Therefore, it is important that you proofread your cover letter for any spelling or grammar errors. One way to show your skills as a receptionist is to write a flawless, error-free cover letter.
Hard Copy vs. Email Format
If you are sending your cover letter as a hard copy (or email attachment), you need to write your letter in business letter format. Include these items in the following order: your contact information, the date, the company contact information, a business salutation, and the body of your letter. Make sure your letter is left justified.
Your closing will include your handwritten signature followed by your typed signature on a hard copy. If it is an email attachment, just include your typed signature.
The format for an emailed cover letter (where the letter is in the body of the email) is slightly different. You should choose a subject that clearly explains the content of your email, such as the job title you are applying for and your name. Keep it simple: “Medical Receptionist Position – Jane Doe” is clear and to the point.
Your email closing should include your full name followed by your phone and email information.
Sample Cover Letter for a Receptionist Position
You can use this sample as a model to write a cover letter. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.
Sample Cover Letter for a Receptionist Position (Text Version)
July 30, 2020
Dear Mr. Lee:
Sample Email Receptionist Cover Letter
Sample Email Cover Letter for a Receptionist Position
Dear Ms. Rathbarn,
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 job 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.
Write a Fresh Cover Letter for Each Job
Yes, it’s way faster and easier to take the cover letter you wrote for your last application, change the name of the company, and send it off. But most employers want to see that you’re truly excited about the specific position and company-which means creating a custom letter for each position you apply for.
While it’s OK to recycle a few strong sentences and phrases from one cover letter to the next, don’t even think about sending out a 100% generic letter. “Dear Hiring Manager, I am excited to apply to the open position at your company” is an immediate signal to recruiters and hiring managers that you’re resume-bombing every job listing in town. Mistakes like this can get your application tossed straight in the trash.
But Go Ahead, Use a Template
That said, there’s nothing that says you can’t get a little help. Try our basic cover letter template, or one that focuses on your skills.
Include the Hiring Manager’s Name
The most traditional way to address a cover letter is to use the person’s first and last name, including “Mr.” or “Ms.” (for example, “Dear Ms. Jane Smith” or just “Dear Ms. Smith”). If you know for sure that the company or industry is more casual, you can drop the title and last name (“Dear Jane”). And if you’re not 100% positive whether to use “Mr.” or “Ms.” based on the name and some Googling, definitely skip the title.
Never use generic salutations like ” To Whom it May Concern ” or “Dear Sir or Madam”-they’re stiff, archaic, and did we mention that cover letters need to be customized? If you can’t figure out the specific hiring manager’s name, try addressing your cover letter to the head of the department for the role you’re applying for. Or if you honestly can’t find a single real person to address your letter to, aim for something that’s still somewhat specific, like “Systems Engineer Hiring Manager” or “Account Executive Search Committee.”
For more help, read these rules for addressing your cover letter, and a few tips for how to find the hiring manager.
Craft a Killer Opening Line
No need to lead with your name-the hiring manager can see it already on your resume. It’s good to mention the job you’re applying for (the hiring manager may be combing through candidates for half a dozen different jobs), and yes, you could go with something simple like, “I am excited to apply for [job] with [Company].” But consider introducing yourself with a snappy first sentence that highlights your excitement about the company you’re applying to, your passion for the work you do, or your past accomplishments.
Need inspiration? Check out these 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.
Go Beyond Your Resume
A super common pitfall many job seekers fall into is to use their cover letter to regurgitate what’s on their resume. Don’t simply repeat yourself: “I was in charge of identifying and re-engaging former clients.” Instead, expand on those bullet points to paint a fuller picture of your experiences and accomplishments, and show off why you’d be perfect for the job and the company.
For example: “By analyzing past client surveys, NPS scores, and KPIs, as well as simply picking up the phone, I was able to bring both a data-driven approach and a human touch to the task of re-engaging former clients.”
Having trouble figuring out how to do this? Try asking yourself these questions:
What approach did you take to tackling one of the responsibilities you’ve mentioned on your resume?
What details would you include if you were telling someone a (very short!) story about how you accomplished that bullet point?
What about your personality, passion, or work ethic made you especially good at getting the job done?
Think Not What the Company Can Do for You
Another 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. Try to identify the company’s pain points -the problem or problems that they need the person they hire to solve. Then emphasize the skills and experience you have that make you the right person to solve them.
On that note…
Highlight the Right Experiences
Not sure what skills and experiences you should be featuring? Typically the most important requirements for the position will be listed first in the job description, or mentioned more than once. You’ll want to make sure you describe how you can deliver on those key priorities.
Another trick: Drop the text of the job description into a word cloud tool like WordClouds, and see what stands out. That’s what the hiring manager is looking for most.
Showcase Your Skills
When you know you have the potential to do the job-but your past experience doesn’t straightforwardly sell you as the perfect person for the position-try focusing on your skills instead. That skills-based template we mentioned before will help you do just that. (Psst: You can also take this approach with a skills-based resume.)
…Not Necessarily Your Education
Don’t Apologize for Your Missing Experience
When you don’t meet all of the job requirements, it’s tempting to use lines like, “Despite my limited experience as a manager…” or “While I may not have direct experience in marketing…” But why apologize? Instead of drawing attention to your weaknesses, emphasize the strengths and transferable skills you do have.
Here’s what that might look like: “I’m excited to translate my experience in [what you’ve done in the past] to a position that’s more [what you’re hoping to do next].”
Throw in a Few Numbers
Hiring managers love to see stats-they show you’ve had a measurable impact on an organization or company you’ve worked for. That doesn’t mean you have to have doubled revenue at your last job. Did you bring in more clients than any of your peers? Put together an impressive number of events? Made a process at work 30% more efficient? Those numbers speak volumes about what you could bring to your next position, and make your cover letter stand out.
You don’t even have to have worked with numbers at all! Check out a few more tips for adding stats to those resume bullets, even if your previous jobs involved dealing with people, not figures.
Used sparingly, great feedback from former co-workers, managers, or clients can go a long way toward illustrating your passion or skills.
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. One woman wrote a cover letter from her dog’s perspective. This professional even turned hers into a BuzzFeed-style list!
Cut the Formality
We know, you’re trying to be professional. But being excessively formal can actually backfire on you, career expert Mark Slack points out: “It makes you seem insincere and even robotic, not anything like the friendly, approachable, and awesome-to-work-with person you are.”
Even when you’re applying for a very corporate role, there’s usually room to express yourself in a conversational, genuine way.
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. Spending some time reading over the company website or stalking their social media 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.
Go Easy on the Enthusiasm
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: What would your favorite boss, your best friend, or your mentor say about you? How would they sing your praises? Then write the letter from their point of view.
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. In one survey, more than two-thirds of employers said they preferred a cover letter that’s either just half a page (around 250 words) or ” the shorter the better.”
Having trouble getting rid of your carefully crafted sentences? Check out these tips for cutting down your cover letter to a page or less.
It’s tempting to treat the final lines of your cover letter as a throwaway: “I look forward to hearing from you.” But your closing paragraph is your last chance to emphasize your enthusiasm for the company or how you’d be a great fit for the position.
For example, you could say: “I’m passionate about [Company]’s mission and would love to bring my [add your awesome skills here] to this position.” You can also use the end of your letter to add important details-like, say, the fact that you’re willing to relocate for the job. Check out more examples and a template here, and read about a few cover letter closing lines you definitely don’t want to use.
We shouldn’t have to tell you to run your cover letter through spell-check (you should!), but remember that having your computer scan for typos isn’t the same as editing. Set your letter aside for a day or even a few hours, and then read through it again with fresh eyes-you’ll probably notice some changes you want to make. You might even want to ask a friend or family member to give it a look.
If you need some extra help, you can check out how the wording sounds to others using Hemingway. Paste in your text, and the app will highlight sentences and sections that are too complex or wordy, use passive voice, or are overloaded with fancy vocabulary when simpler words will do. You don’t have to take all of its suggestions (maybe “facilitate” really is the best word choice there!), but it’s a handy way to check the readability of your letter.
Remember, one spelling or grammar mistake can be all it takes to turn off the hiring manager-especially if writing skills are an important part of the role you’re applying for.
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.
Finally, read this if you’re looking to write a letter of intent instead of a cover letter-yes, there’s a difference.
What is the ideal length of a cover letter? Too short and your cover letter will seem generic and lacking in effort, too long and you’ll come across as unfocused. Employers only spend a limited time reading your cover letter. You can make the most of that time by including compelling, brief descriptions of your experience and qualifications-all without repeating yourself.
How long should a cover letter be?
Cover letters should be between half a page to one full page in length. Limit your cover letter length to 4 paragraphs, opening each with a succinct topic sentence and closing with an attention-grabbing final thought.
Image descriptionCover Letter Format
Date and contact information
Salutation or greeting
Letter ending and signature
Below, we’ve included eight ways to reach the correct length for your cover letter, and impress the hiring manager along the way.
Related: How to Write a Cover Letter
1. Check length requirements
Sometimes employers may include specific directions for your cover letter in the job posting. They might give you a cover letter word limit or provide a writing prompt or questions for you to answer. Make a good first impression by following any instructions they give you, including word count or cover letter length directions.
2. Don’t focus on hitting a specific word count
How many words should a cover letter be? Unless the employer has specified otherwise, 250 to 400 words is the right amount. This length will fill half a page or one full page using 12 point font, while still leaving room for the correct spacing and margins.
The important thing, however, is to focus on the content of your cover letter and use word count as a general guideline to keep you on the right track.
Related: 7 Key Elements of a Successful Cover Letter
3. Embrace white space
White space makes your cover letter more enjoyable for the hiring manager to read. Break up your text by adding a blank line between paragraphs, setting 1-inch margins on each side. With lots of white space, your cover letter will look like an enjoyable read rather than a wall of text.
4. Limit your cover letter to four paragraphs
Generally, your cover letter should be between half a page and one full page in length. Divide your cover letter into three or four short paragraphs that can be read in around 10 seconds or less. In these paragraphs, include a strong topic sentence and write just enough to prove that you’re interested in the job and company, as well as highlight the skills you can bring to the new role.
Read more: How to Format a Cover Letter (With Example)
5. Keep paragraphs focused and sentences short
For maximum impact, focus each of your paragraphs around one central idea. Lead with a strong topic sentence. This sentence will tell the reader what your paragraph is about. Next, add several short, descriptive sentences that support this main idea. Finally, wrap up each paragraph with an attention-grabbing final thought or a brief conclusion sentence that recaps your main idea.
Here’s an example of how to structure your cover letter paragraphs:
One of the factors that really attracted me to this role is that [Company Name] values giving back to the community.
As I grow in my career, applying my skills to help others and make an impact on the world becomes more important-I believe this role would give me that opportunity.
Related: 7 Powerful Ways to Start a Cover Letter
6. Include impactful and relevant stories
Your cover letter should briefly explain why you’re qualified for the role using highly relevant examples from your work history. If you’re not sure about which qualifications or experiences to include, look back at the job description for clues. Match your skills to the requirements the employer is asking for. Expand upon those qualifications in your letter by citing recent accomplishments.
You can make your stories impactful by using the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation (the context of your story), Task (your role in this situation), Action (what you did in this situation), and Result (the outcome you achieved). This format makes it clear what happened and what you contributed.
Here’s an example of how to use the STAR method in a cover letter:
Recently, my current employer launched a new service to meet a specific need for small businesses.
My role was to draft the press release and engage local media to create interest in the launch.
I took the press release through several rounds of review with the company’s senior leadership and incorporated their feedback. I was able to secure media coverage in our city’s leading publications as well as with the Chamber of Commerce.
On the day we launched the service, the new service was covered on the front page of the business section of the leading local paper-both print and online. We saw our site’s traffic increase 5X the daily average and received unprecedented inbound interest from new and existing small business clients. It was one of the most successful launches in the history of the company.
Related: How to Write Strong Bullet Points for Your Resume
7. Don’t give everything away
The purpose of your cover letter is to generate curiosity and land an interview. For this reason, avoid explaining every single quality you will bring to this new role. Instead, focus on your proudest accomplishments and reveal just enough about yourself to catch the hiring manager’s interest and encourage them to invite you for an interview. Slightly less than one page is a great cover letter length for achieving this.
8. Trim it down
What if you can’t fit everything you want to include on one page? Consider having your friends and family read through your cover letter to edit out unnecessary details and wordy language. Leave in your most impressive achievements, but cut out any mention of day-to-day job duties. Remember, cover letters should never extend beyond one page-even for the most experienced candidates.
Related: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing
It’s always a good idea to use keywords and action verbs in your resume and cover letters. Using the right words not only shows what you have accomplished in previous jobs. These words also help your resume, cover letter, and other application materials get selected by the software and hiring managers who screen your documents.
What Are Resume Action Verbs and Keywords?
From the job seeker perspective, keywords are the words job seekers use to search for available positions. For the employer, keywords are the terms that hiring managers use to screen resumes and cover letters to find applicants that are a good fit for a job.
There are different types of keywords. Job keywords are words that describe your skills and qualifications. They describe the hard skills you have that qualify you for a job.
Action verbs show your ability to succeed. For example, words like accomplished, developed, managed, and handled describe what you have achieved.
Keywords are used to match an applicant with an available job. The closer the keywords in a resume are to those in a job description, the better a candidate’s chances of being selected for a job interview.
Why and How to Include Action Verbs in Your Resume
The keywords in your resume will help you get selected for a job interview. Hiring managers search by keywords to find resumes that match the job qualifications they established when they listed the job.
In addition to listing keywords specific to your occupation (like software or sales skills) include action words that show you what you have accomplished. Rather than just stating a list of duties, including action keywords in your position descriptions.
Here’s an example:
Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel
Specialized in product order management
Helped manage associates on the sales floor
Alphabetical List of Action Verbs
Review these tips for how to get your resume past the applicant tracking systems employers use, and this list of action keywords to use to get your application noticed when applying for jobs.
© The Balance 2018
BBudgeted, built, brainstormed, balanced, blended, boosted
CCompiled, combined, challenged, chaired, committed, communicated, coordinated, calculated, contributed, commissioned, confirmed, customized, created, challenged, critiqued
DDecided, developed, disclosed, documented, discovered, designed, determined, demonstrated, deferred, distributed, directed, devoted, drafted, doubled, diversified, designated, dedicated, discussed
EExercised, expected, earned, elected, engaged, entered, engineered, employed, edited, evaluated, entertained, eliminated, exchanged, ended, estimated, exempted, endorsed, expedited, experienced, enforced, explained
FFacilitated, focused, financed, fueled, figured, fit, formed, fortified, functioned, formulated
GGuided, grouped, gave, garnered, granted, generated, guaranteed, gathered, graphed
HHired, handled, helped, headed
I Improved, identified, installed, inspired, interviewed, issued, invested, illustrated, implemented, incurred, innovated, inspected, invented, interpreted, inaugurated, informed, induced, instilled, incorporated
JJudged, joined, justified
LLocated, lectured, launched, litigated, lobbied, led, listened
MMastered, managed, merchandised, modified, met, minimized, modeled, measured, moderated, motivated, multiplied, marketed, maximized, moved, mediated
NNegotiated, noticed, navigated, networked
OOperated, owned, observed, oversaw, organized, obtained, oriented
PParticipated, printed, proposed, pursued, persuaded, perceived, preserved, processed, produced, promoted, planned, performed, pioneered, passed, prioritized, proficiency, provided, profiled, polled, presented, procured, purchased, placed, permitted
QQuoted, qualified, questioned, queried
RRanked, resolved, received, rewarded, revised, revitalized, revamped, responded, restored, rejected, reinforced, reinstated, rehabilitated, remedied, redesigned, recruited, recovered, recorded, reduced, replaced, retained, retrieved, reversed, ran, raised, reached, reviewed, researched
SSaved, secured, stabilized, scheduled, screened, settled, separated, sent, selected, shaped, shortened, showed, signed, simplified, sold, specialized, staged, standardized, steered, stimulated, strategized, surveyed, supported, supplied, substantiated, set goals, supervised, studied
TTrained, tabulated, took, traveled, transformed, tested, transferred, tailored, targeted
UUtilized, uncovered, united, updated, undertook, unified, upgraded
VVerified, valued, validated, visited, visualized
WWitnessed, worked, weighed, wrote, won, welcomed
This is an example of a resume with action verbs. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Resume Example With Action Verbs (Text Version)
Lewis Givens18 Oak LaneHouston, TX 77009Cell: firstname.lastname@example.org
PHARMACEUTICAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE
Physician Education / Territory Development / Relationship Building
Nationally top-ranked pharmaceutical sales representative with unprecedented success establishing market dominance for antidiabetics products. Charismatic presenter and negotiator, deftly forging and maintaining lasting relationships with physician groups and pharmacies.
Notable Sales Achievements
Scored Pharma Sales Rep of the Quarter regional and national titles every year between 2010 and 2018.
Pioneered new territories for newly launched Bleudacan® family of products, leading product to top 5% ranking nationally within six months of release.
Consistently earned Chairman’s Circle and National President’s Club accolades throughout the career.
Biomed Corporation, Houston, TXPharmaceutical Sales Representative (06/2016 to Present)
Orchestrate market launch and territory penetration for Bleudacan® antidiabetics across the Southwest region of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada.
Leveraged network of major accounts across the four-state territory to ensure immediate market dominance of novel Bleudacan® products.
Authored well-received whitepaper on sales trends in the antidiabetics market.
BigPharma Inc., Houston, TX
Biogenics LLC, Houston, TXPharmaceutical Sales Representative (06/2009 to 06/2016)
Established reputation as a winning physician educator as a representative for the antidiabetics Restorex® and Historelb® in the Texas regional market.
Captured Chairman’s Circle rankings for each year of tenure.
Increased sales of Restorex® by 58% and of Historelb® by 46% within six months of hire.
The University of Texas, Austin, TXBachelor of Science in Marketing
Professional DevelopmentAntidiabetics Sales, Value-driven Sales Techniques, Territory Growth Strategies, Regulatory Issues
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