How to craft a jaw-dropping engineering cover letter
The engineering industry covers a wide range of different positions including aerospace, chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical, and quality engineering. To earn a position in this field, you need a cover letter that highlights your area of expertise, as well as your most relevant skills, accomplishments, and qualifications.
In this guide, we will cover the 5 essential elements that any engineering cover letter should have. Keep reading to learn all about:
- Creating an effective engineering cover letter header & headline
- Personalizing the greeting & content of your engineering cover letter
- Writing an attention-grabbing engineering cover letter introduction
- Showcasing your skills & accomplishments in engineering
- Finishing your engineering cover letter with a strong closing statement
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1. Create an effective engineering cover letter header & headline
To start writing your engineering cover letter, the first key step is to create a header and headline.
A cover letter header refers to the block of text found at the top of the document. In this header, you will include all the necessary information about yourself and the company you are applying to.
Following the header is the cover letter headline, a title statement used to hook the attention of employers with an accurate and compelling preview of the most important information in the letter. While a headline is considered optional, it can be a powerful tool to use to intrigue employers.
Below are more in-depth explanations and examples of the cover letter header and headline:
Formatting the header
The header is the first bit of information an employer will come across on your cover letter. As such, you want your name to be noticeable and the header to be well-organized.
An engineering header should contain:
- Your name and professional title
- Your professional contact information
- The name of the company & department you are applying to
- The address of the company you are applying to
Here is an example of a well-formatted header on an engineering cover letter
Hank Green, Civil Engineer
(123) 456-7890 | firstname.lastname@example.org | linkedin.com/in/hank-green
To: Atlanta Engineering Group
Construction & Management Department
1234 Street Address
Atlanta, GA, 30301
Writing the headline
While a headline is considered an optional element of a cover letter, a well-written headline can go a long way in initially impressing and intriguing an employer.
To write such a headline, you should always use a keyword related to the position, an eye-catching number or trigger word, a powerful adjective or verb, and a promise.
Here is an example of an effective engineering headline, followed by a breakdown of its key components
Looking for the Perfect Engineer? Here are 3 Reasons I Would Make an Excellent Addition to Your Team
Trigger Word/Number: Looking for, 3 Reasons
Adjective/Verb: Perfect, Excellent
Promise: Your Team – the addition of this detail indicates to the employer that you will relate the information in your cover letter directly to the needs of their business.
2. Personalize the greeting & content of your engineering cover letter
Anytime you write an engineering cover letter, it is crucial to personalize both the greeting and content of the letter. To do so, you will need to thoroughly research the company beforehand, including:
- Who will review your cover letter and application
- What the company’s values and goals are
- How your experience relates to the company’s projects
A personalized greeting is a type of greeting that addresses a specific person by name. By including this type of greeting, you immediately show the employer that you have researched their company and have excellent attention to detail.
Here are 3 examples of personalized greetings
- Dear Mrs. Jane Doe,
- To Mrs. Jane Doe, Hiring Manager at Atlanta Engineering Group,
- To Mrs. Jane Doe & the Engineering Team,
3. Write an attention-grabbing engineering cover letter introduction
The introduction of your engineering cover letter not introduces you to the employer but also ensures their interest stays piqued, encouraging them to read further.
To make your introduction compelling, you should include:
- A brief overview of your professional history using quantifiable facts (years of experience, position titles, etc.)
- A statement on why you are enthusiastic about applying to this company
- A mutual acquaintance (when possible) – including a mutual acquaintance provides the employer with a trusted professional reference, as well as helps you to build credibility.
Pro Tip: If you do not have any mutual acquaintances, connecting with relevant professionals on LinkedIn is a great way to build your professional network.
Here is an example of a well-written introduction on an engineering cover letter
To Mrs. Jane Doe & the Engineering Team,
I am a Mechanical Engineer with more than 6 years of experience working in prototype design. The description for this position is an excellent match for my skill set and I am confident I will be a worthwhile and profitable addition to your team. To learn more about your company, I reached out to your Head of Communications – Jack Smith – on LinkedIn, who strongly recommended I apply upon reviewing my resume.
4. Showcase your skills & accomplishments in engineering
With your introduction in place, the next step is to write the largest section of your cover letter – the body paragraphs. In these body paragraphs is where you will expand upon your various relevant skills, accomplishments, and qualifications.
You should aim to include between 2 to 4 body paragraphs that answer the following key questions:
- What excites you about working at this company?
- What can your skills and experience contribute to the company?
- What accomplishments or qualifications make you stand out as an applicant?
- What key skills do you possess that are relevant to the position?
Here are 6 examples of engineering skills to include in your cover letter
- Computer modeling
- Structural analysis
- Project management
When including skills, make sure to give them context – such as how you applied them at previous positions and how you plan to employ them in this new position.
Here is an example of how to describe an accomplishment in an engineering cover letter
In my career as a Chemical Engineer, I have worked with 5 major corporate companies to develop high-end consumer products. For each client, I helped to develop new chemical manufacturing processes that decreased production expenses by an average of 35%.
5. Finish your engineering cover letter with a strong closing statement
To conclude your engineering cover letter, end with a strong closing statement that includes:
- An enthusiastic sentence saying you are looking forward to hearing from them
- An additional sentence stating you will follow up, including how you will contact them or how they can contact you
- A formal sign-off
Here is an example of a well-worded closing statement from an engineering cover letter
Thank you for taking the time to review my application. I greatly look forward to hearing from you and will reach back out next Wednesday if I have not heard back. The best time and way to reach me is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, at (123) 456-7890.
Follow this cover letter outline for maximum success.