Compared to the nuances of writing modern resumes, the art of developing convincing cover letters revolves around precision. The cover letter for a receptionist job, therefore, requires refinement, otherwise hiring managers would throw it aside.
This article presents some of the suggestions made by HR experts for compelling cover letters for receptionist jobs. Each of the subsequent sections corresponds to the 5 sections that you will have to develop in your cover letter.
The main goal of the header is to identify you to the hiring manager. The recruiter looks at the header expecting to find and know your name and contact information.
The header section in the cover letter is a lot like the Name and Contact Information section in modern resumes. The only difference is that the header section is simpler to construct and often center-aligned. Consequently, it stands out in the cover letter, so hiring managers generally see it before anything else. Not to mention that it also comes at the very top of your cover letter.
Drafting the header section of your receptionist cover letter should be easy. Everything you need to present in this section is listed subsequently:
- A line containing your full name as represented on your valid ID card.
- In addition to the names (after a comma), state your relevant educational and professional certifications, in abbreviated titles. Here is where you can include receptionist-specific certifications such as NCMOA (Nationally Certified Medical Office Assistant), CMAA (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant), and MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist Master Certification) for a receptionist in the health sector.
- A line containing your city and state of residence.
- A line containing the date you are submitting or expecting to submit the cover letter (and resume).
The Cover Letter Greeting
The cover letter greeting comes immediately after the header, containing your name and contact/address information. This section is where hiring managers begin to sift through job applications. If the greeting on a cover letter is less than satisfactory, the letter might be thrown aside.
To write a compelling cover letter greeting for your receptionist job, there are several things you need to note. First, cover letters are a lot like formal letters, and there is no room for invention in the salutation section.
Here are 2 suggestions for the best cover letter greetings for your receptionist job:
- Use the name of the hiring manager. This is the most straightforward and impactful salutation. One, it appeals to hiring managers because it is direct. Secondly, it tells them that you researched the advertised position before applying for it. Both of these points win you bonuses with HR.
- If there is no way to know the name of the hiring manager, use ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ instead. This is the more general and common salutation in cover letters. It is also very effective and carries an objective, professional tone.
Do not use any salutations outside these 2. Some applicants are known to address hiring managers in more familiar fashions like ‘Dearest Hiring Manager’ or even ‘Dear Fellow Receptionist.’ Using these greetings will only lower your chances at the job.
The Cover Letter Introduction
In traditional job application letters, a line of purpose comes immediately after the greeting. This is not the case with cover letters. The introduction section, which is usually a paragraph, comes after the salutation. The paragraph serves a similar purpose as the summary section of resumes. A convincing cover letter introduction does not only tell the hiring manager who you are but also sums up what is in the rest of the cover letter.
Your focus here should be on what you are ‘selling’ to the hiring manager. These include your skills, industry accreditations, education, years of experience, details of past employment and achievements.
Here's a general outline of the information hiring recruiters expect to see in the introduction of your receptionist cover letter:
- A line containing your full name, age, years of experience, as well as industry accreditations. Hiring managers expect you to present this information in a single, concise sentence.
- Relevant skills that would help you assist the hiring company in the capacity it requires. You should include both soft and hard skills.
- A line containing the names of some of the places you worked (or where you are currently working). The purpose of this sentence is to draw similarities between the requirements of the advertised receptionist position and your career profile.
- A line or 2 containing some of the obligations of the past receptionist engagements. Once again, you should only focus on the responsibilities that align with the advertised job description.
- 2 or 3 lines containing the most relevant and noteworthy achievements recognized by your supervisors during your previous roles.
The typical cover letter introduction does not exceed 7 precise and focused sentences. Don't dilly-dally; go straight to the point.
Middle Paragraphs of the Cover Letter
Hiring managers scrutinize the middle paragraphs of cover letters to find information about an applicant’s abilities, experience, and accomplishments. This section is made up of 2 to 3 paragraphs which take up around 70 to 75 percent of the application letter.
This section is where you outline why you should be given the gig. You may decide to focus on your skills in the first paragraph, work history in the second, and related achievements in the last paragraph. Keep each paragraph under 5 sentences to give your personal statement a compact look.
There is no established framework to follow. The important thing is to tell the recruiter what they need in order to make an informed assessment of your suitability.
The following tips will help you craft a compelling middle section for your cover letter:
- Summarize the job description in a sentence. This is to show the hiring manager that you are aware of the requirements of the advertised job.
- Make a list of your skills and certifications (academic and professional). The point of this is to show the hiring manager that you meet the requirements you cited in the first sentence.
- Go into a bit more detail about past engagements as a receptionist. Where did you work and what did you do there? This helps you provide evidence of the value and relevance of your skills and certifications.
- Use bullet points to list some of your accomplishments in your past (or current) positions.
Conclusion and Closing
This is the final section in a modern cover letter. Done well, this section will reinforce the impression your cover letter has made on the hiring manager.
To close, you can tell the hiring manager that you are qualified for this role based on your skills, past engagements, and achievements. This is also where you thank them for the opportunity, ask them to reach out to you for more explanation if required, and include contact information.
A good conclusion and closing should exhibit the same optimism and courtesy you're expected to show as a frontdesk specialist. Try to charm without being pretentious. Courteously express belief they will contact you and thank them for their consideration.
Some Notes on Formatting and Layout
As a bonus, cover letters have a greater compelling effect when they are formatted properly. The following suggestions should help you with that:
- Use special paper for your cover letter if you are turning in a physical copy to the hiring manager/company.
- Use the same font style throughout the cover letter, with single-line spacing and space after paragraphs. You may increase or decrease the font size for bulleted lists.
- Use left-aligned or justified style.
- Keep everything in the cover letter to one page.
Overall, the best cover letter for a receptionist job contains the most relevant information. So, as long as you focus on the job requirements as you present your qualifications, you are more likely to land the job.
Kristina Phelps is an HR specialist who loves sharing her experience. Her two biggest passions are helping people find a perfect workplace and writing about all things HR. Kristina grew up in Boston, MA. She likes big dogs and long walks. She also helps animal shelters find new owners for cats and dogs.