How to Write a Data Analyst Cover Letter
Updated 20 November 2020
Becoming a data analyst is a career most suited to those who love manipulating and understanding large swathes of data – so when applying for a data analyst role, making your resume stand out means more than just a great resume.
Getting a data analyst role is one of our top ten future jobs, and according to some sources, there is major growth and opportunities for data analysts across many sectors.
Data analyst roles tend to be well paid and competition can sometimes be fierce, so finding a way to shine through all that data could depend on a well-crafted data analyst cover letter.
What Is a Data Analyst Cover Letter?
When you are applying for a data analyst role, the chances are that you will be perfectly qualified, have the relevant experience and be just the right choice for the role.
However, when the competition is fierce, standing out as an exceptional candidate means more than just education – and that is where a great cover letter can make all the difference.
A carefully crafted resume should cover all the major points about your education, experience and competencies, but a cover letter needs to showcase what you can do, what you have done, and demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm.
For data analyst roles, it is important to be able to distill the qualities that you have into demonstrable differentiators – create a ‘presentation’ of why you are the perfect candidate for the job.
This means creating a cover letter that is tailored to the job you are applying for – and to the specific job posting too.
Sending a generic cover letter with your resume is the fastest way to get your application straight into the reject pile; whereas a personalized, informative and comprehensive cover letter will get the recruiter's attention.
The real power of a cover letter is as an introduction to who you are and what you can offer the company when they hire you.
Sending a resume without a cover letter (unless specified in the job posting) could be considered rude and is a missed opportunity to make a bigger impact with your application.
What Should a Great Data Analyst Cover Letter Include?
To make the most of your cover letter, you need to remember that you do not need to include a huge amount of data. Remember that the ‘highlights’ will have already been covered in your resume, so covering them again is unnecessary.
Instead, you can showcase your relevant qualifications, experience and specific achievements in a way that addresses the needs of the company as described in the job posting.
There are, of course, several software systems and tools that are used in data analysis. Having working knowledge and experience of using various systems will make you an enticing candidate, and this is especially important when you know how to use software that is required for the posted job.
How Might Your Cover Letter Differ for Entry-Level Roles?
Creating a cover letter to get a data analyst internship or an entry-level role might mean highlighting different qualities. Whichever position you are looking to achieve, you must take the time to tailor your cover letter with consideration to the job posting.
If you are writing a cover letter for an internship position, the likelihood is that you won’t have any relevant experience to add. This is not necessarily a problem as internships are designed to give experience; if you have the required qualifications, that is all that will be needed.
If you are looking for an entry-level data analyst position, any experience that you have can be used to demonstrate your aptitude where it is needed – especially when it comes to the specific requirements as listed in the job description. You might have gained this experience through an internship or in a previous data analyst position.
In either case, relevant qualifications can make all the difference. If you have graduated from a data analysis course, especially with a decent GPA or a high ranking in your class, then this is something to highlight.
For some, any degree related to mathematics, economics or statistics would be considered, if you can demonstrate knowledge and experience too.
How to Write Your Data Analyst Cover Letter
To create a successful cover letter, you need to showcase your education, qualifications and experience succinctly. The most effective data analyst cover letters need to be short and concise, no more than one side of letter paper.
To make the most of the space available, you need to ensure that you stick to a structure so that you cover the important points.
The below structure makes it certain that you focus on what is important and avoid any ‘waffle’.
Headings and Structure
This should be considered the same as a formal letter, whether you are sending it via email or through the post.
This means that you need to include all your contact details in the header and be sure to add the date too.
In terms of style, it is a great idea to make it visually similar to your resume – with matching formatting, for example – so that the recruiter has a reference when reading both.
Mr Any Body
123 Green Avenue
First Paragraph: The Introduction
The first step in creating a great cover letter is addressing it to the right person.
As part of the research you do before applying for the job, try to find out who the recruiter is.
This might be written on the job posting or you might need to look on the company website.
Finding out the recruiter's name means that you can address the letter to them – making it more personal and immediately demonstrating your diligence.
The first paragraph of your data analyst cover letter is where you can make a great first impression.
You do not need to introduce yourself, as that information is already in the header of the letter, instead mention the position you are applying for and where you saw it advertised. You can include a line about why you are interested in the position too.
Remember to be enthusiastic and relevant throughout the letter.
Dear Mr Recruiter,
I am applying for the position of entry-level data analyst at ABC Corporation, as advertised on JobOpp.com. As a recent graduate from Data University who has completed an internship with Big Company, I think I can bring some relevant experience to the role.
Second Paragraph: Why Your Experience Is Relevant
In this section, you can home in on the specific requirements as per the job post.
When a role asks for specific knowledge or experience, this is where you can highlight how you are uniquely qualified for the role. You can also use this section to demonstrate your knowledge of the company, showing that you have taken the time to make sure this is the right role for you.
If you are applying for an internship, you can use this space to tell the recruiter what you want to achieve in the internship – it shouldn’t be generic, either, so if you can refer to something specific that the company offers or is working on, that is perfect.
I understand that you are looking for a candidate that has recent experience in Data Software; I have been working with that software in my internship and created a new workflow process that allowed me to produce graphic representations of data quickly and accurately.
Third Paragraph: Qualifications, Experience and Showcasing Achievements
Remember that you already have listed all your qualifications and job experience in your resume, so there is no need to repeat that information here. Instead, focus on specific qualifications and achievements with examples where possible.
If you want to make more of your skills here, you might want to consider using a bullet list.
If you are a recent graduate without too much experience, don’t be afraid to use life experience in this paragraph. If you captained the lacrosse team, put that in. If you worked in a data science club, add that too. Although it might not be job-related, this type of experience can make your application more personable and relevant.
While completing my studies at Data University, I had a GPA of 3.6 and was in the top third of my class. I was president of the Data Science club and attended many economic seminars for extra credit.
Fourth Paragraph: How You Can Help
This is the part of your data analyst cover letter where you can bring out more about your personality and soft skills that you can bring to the role. While qualifications and experience are important, you are more than just a data analyst - you need to be able to work well as part of a team, have great communication skills and be able to demonstrate the work behavior that is desirable for any employee. To find out more about these competencies, we have a guide to soft skills that you might find useful.
As part of my role at Big Company, I was able to lead a team that comprised of both other data analyst interns and different employees too. This meant that I needed to use appropriate communication skills to ensure that the project was completed on time.
Fifth Paragraph: Call to Action and Sign Off
The ending of your data analyst cover letter is just as important as the beginning. In your fifth paragraph, try to invite contact with an enticing sentence. Asking directly for a call, or to meet for a coffee to discuss, is a great way to do this and is a clear call to action.
Don’t be bland with a ‘thank you for your consideration’, instead be sure to finish strongly and confidently.
Sign off on your cover letter formally, using Yours Sincerely or an appropriate synonym.
I am excited to have the opportunity to discuss this application with you, perhaps over coffee at /[Local Coffee House] whenever it is convenient for you.
Mr Any Body
Data Analyst Cover Letter Top Tips
Remember that the recruiter will likely have many resumes and cover letters to read, so ensuring that you are presenting the most relevant information is the best way to keep them interested. Your data analyst cover letter should be no more than one side of letter paper long, including the headers – so do not add any unnecessary information.
There is a fine line between enthusiasm and taking it too far – and one way you can make sure you get it right is to refer to the company where you can. Demonstrate that you are passionate about data, but also about the company you are applying to. Mention projects or any news articles where you can, and if you know the recruiter or the data team from LinkedIn or other sites, demonstrate it.
Remember that your cover letter is the first time a recruiter gets to ‘meet’ you, so be personable, enthusiastic, and relevant.
Demonstrate Your Knowledge
Your resume already has a list of your qualifications and experience, so don’t regurgitate that here. Instead, try where you can to show how your knowledge has already been applied to the data analyst role elsewhere, and what (positive) outcome came from it. Make the most of what you have already achieved so you can demonstrate to the recruiter that you have more to offer.
Example Data Analyst Cover Letter
Dear Mrs Recruiter,
I saw your advertisement for the position of data analyst at [company] on [job website]. As a recent graduate from [good university] and having recently completed an exciting internship at [other company] I think that I would be a good fit for [this company].
During my studies, I focused on learning more about the various data software systems that are in popular use in companies like [this company]. With extra focus on [particular software], I am a knowledgeable user and can manipulate and analyze data proficiently – as demonstrated during my internship, where I created and tested a new workflow that increased productivity by 27%. I understand that you are looking for a data analyst with specific skills in [this software] and [this tool], and thanks to both my internship and my own special interest, I have the relevant skills to match.
Whilst studying at [good university], I spent a good deal of time working towards extra credit with special data projects for the university. As part of this, we applied an algorithm to data relating to the ethnic background of students to assess how best we could ensure fair representation. This ‘real-life’ experience combined with my 3.6 GPA and high-class ranking is the reason why I was accepted for the highly sought after internship at [other company]. In addition to my qualifications, I have also achieved the following:
Advanced knowledge of [database manipulation tool]
Experience of [graphic representation software]
Skilled user of [database system]
I am excited about the advertised data analyst position because I know that [this company] is in an exciting growth period and with my demonstrable skills I think I will be an asset. I have lead competition teams while in university (I was president of the debate team as well as the chess team) and as an experienced leader, I have used my communication skills to maximize the input of the whole team. I am a fast learner, dedicated to data, and able to explain the most complicated analysis in simple, straightforward, and actionable terms.
I would love to discuss this opportunity further with you; I can be contacted on [number] at any time.
While the role of a data analyst means being comfortable and confident in the world of numbers, getting that job needs careful writing and consideration to make sure that you can ‘sell’ yourself to the recruiter.
Don’t forget that the recruiter will be a human, too – so making a connection where you can is important. Demonstrating your personality through a letter isn’t easy, but it is important to try and make sure that your experience, qualifications and knowledge are showcased in the best way.
Don’t be afraid to make the most out of your qualities and be sure to refer to the original job posting where you can, too. Giving examples of your experience in their requirements is the best way to show that you are the best candidate for the job – and in conjunction with other core competencies and soft skills can be the reason you progress to the next stage in the application process.