How to Write a Human Resources Cover Letter

How to Write a Human Resources Cover Letter

Updated 6 April 2021

Written by Hayley Ashworth

What Is a Human Resources Cover Letter?

Cover letters are not always the easiest things to write. They need to highlight your strengths and, on occasion, they will determine if you get an interview. They bring your resume to life and allow you to show a little bit of your personality.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), HR roles are expected to grow by 6% over the next ten years.

It is one of the few professions that will not be negatively affected by future technology. As a result, there is more competition when applying for human resources jobs.

This makes your human resources cover letter even more valuable as you need to stand out.

The recruitment process for HR is pretty straightforward. If your application is successful, you will be invited to an interview and some form of aptitude test. This testing could be a personality test, a physical role-play or a skill test.

As such, your cover letter needs to be honest, as the recruiter may test you on one of your claims. It also needs to be strong, as this is the first filter a recruiter will use to narrow down their options.

What Should a Great Human Resources Cover Letter Include?

As an HR professional, you know how important a cover letter is. For human resources specifically, your cover letter needs to demonstrate more than just experience.

Excellent human resources cover letters should:

  • Show that you can communicate professionally and confidently. Your role will involve a lot of communicating, whether it be resolving a conflict, sharing an update or conducting interviews. Therefore, your cover letter needs to be clear and to the point.
  • Show that you have a passion and knowledge of human resources. Use HR terminology and abbreviations where relevant. Highlight the HR software that you have used. Tell your potential employer about your successes.
  • Indicate that you are approachable and love to work with people. It is very easy to only stick to facts and keep things formal, especially with such a small space. However, your role involves people. Make your introduction personable and try to use examples that include people you've helped.
  • Capture your potential workplace culture. Read through their website and social profiles to find any words or phrases they like to use and incorporate them into your text. Building that link shows recruiters that you have done your research and that you understand the organization's culture.
  • Mention any relevant qualifications. If the job description mentions a specific degree, then say that you have it. If you have higher qualifications than that, mention them too. This information is available in your resume, but by also mentioning it in your cover letter you can follow it up with your dissertation focus or any particular skills or experiences you gained while studing.
  • Connect the role’s requirements to previous experience. The ideal length of a cover letter is one page, so you need only to include essential information. Use the key responsibilities laid out in the job description and attach your own experience to them. This enables your recruiter to see clearly if you can fulfill the role.
  • Don't forget soft skills. As a rule, job descriptions include skills specific to that role. However, it would help if you also tried to include your soft skills where possible. These include anything from time management to flexibility to self-motivation.

Human resources assistant cover letters will follow the same structure. As your role is entry-level, your experience may include more extracurricular activities from college or transferable experience from previous job roles.

How to Write Your Human Resources Cover Letter

Each cover letter should be tailor-made for the job you are applying for. But regardless of the position or organization, the structure of your cover letter will be similar.

First Section: Introduction

Considered the most important part of a cover letter, the introduction is your opportunity to make a great first impression.

Start by addressing the recruiter by name and detail what position you are applying for, where you found the role and your elevator pitch.

For example,

Dear Mr/Ms Bloggs,

I am excited to apply for the role of Human Resources Generalist at PayPal in Scottsdale, Arizona, as advertised on your LinkedIn page. I have been fortunate enough to have spent the last five years working in similar roles across the US with proven results. I believe that I have the right HR skills and attributes that you are looking for.

If you do not know the recruiter's name, check the website to see if an HR specialist is listed or call the organization. If you have exhausted all your options and cannot find a name, then address the letter to 'Head of Recruitment'.

Also, if their gender cannot be determined, then use ‘Mr/Ms’. You don't know the recruiter's marital status, and it could be a sensitive subject for them. 'Ms' is a safe option.

Second Section: Your Fit for the Role

From the second paragraph onward, you want to show how you are a good fit for the role by providing examples of skills detailed in the job description.

This doesn't need to be done bullet-point by bullet-point as some job descriptions are long, but if it reads, 'demonstrates critical thinking and project management skills', or 'has experience in...' then give the recruiter examples.

Over the past five years, I have had the privilege of spearheading multiple projects that have enabled my previous organization to deliver payroll quicker and manage employee working hours more effectively. I achieved this by:

  • Utilizing my team's skills by delegating tasks based on their strengths
  • Working with, and becoming efficient in, Workday and ADP Payroll
  • Gathering feedback and suggestions from all teams across the organization

Try to keep the paragraphs short and pick three or four examples you are most proud of.

How to Write a Human Resources Cover LetterHow to Write a Human Resources Cover Letter

Third Section: Background Information

As you begin to close your cover letter, share a little bit of background information, such as your education, dissertation topic and why you chose HR as a career.

As well as my practical experience, I graduated from NYU with a bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management, where my dissertation focus was a study into the role HR management plays in the growth of an organization.

I was drawn to a career in human resources because I enjoy solving problems and helping people where I can. I developed a passion for HR in my teenage years when I started helping my self-employed father issue his invoices and place his orders.

It is immediately apparent that you value the role human resources plays in an organization and are passionate about the position.

Fourth Section: What Can You Do For Them?

So far, you should have clearly shown your natural passion for HR, your success and the skills you possess. In this final section, you need to tell the recruiter what you can do for the organization.

I am committed to helping PayPal with their winning work culture by creating top-performing teams and optimizing all resources available. I pride myself on being a facilitator of continuous improvement and providing value-adding support to my employers.

Straight away, the recruiter can see what your priorities are and what you can bring to the team.

Fifth Section: Call to Action

In this final section, you want to bring everything to a close with a call to action.

Attached is a copy of my resume, which provides further details of my education and employment history. I believe that we would be an ideal match, and I look forward to discussing my application with you in person.

Please contact me on (555) 555-5555 or email me at janedoe@gmail.com

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Human Resources Cover Letter Example

Dear Mr/Ms Bloggs,

I am excited to apply for the role of Human Resources Generalist at PayPal in Scottsdale, Arizona, as advertised on your LinkedIn page. I have been fortunate enough to have spent the last five years working in similar roles across the US with proven results. I believe I have the right HR skills and attributes that you are looking for.

Over the past five years, I have had the privilege of spearheading multiple projects that enabled my current organization to deliver payroll quicker and manage employee working hours more effectively. I achieved this by:

  • Utilizing my team's skills by delegating tasks based on their strengths
  • Working with, and becoming efficient in, Workday and ADP Payroll
  • Gathering feedback and suggestions from all teams across the organization

In the same position, I increased the number of employers in the R&D team from four to 17, over 18 months, with a cost per hire averaging below $3,700 (37% below the industry average). I understand that one of your goals over the next two years is to increase product innovation.

As well as my practical experience, I graduated from NYU with a bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management, where my dissertation focus was a study into the role HR management plays in the growth of an organization – a concept I feel very strongly about.

I was drawn to a career in human resources because I enjoy solving problems and helping people where I can. I developed a passion for HR in my teenage years when I started helping my self-employed father. I began organizing his invoices and orders but quickly started asking for feedback from his clients and finding ways to make him more productive. It has been gratifying to have had the opportunity to take these passions further.

I am committed to helping PayPal with their winning work culture by creating top-performing teams and optimizing all available resources. I pride myself on being a facilitator of continuous improvement and providing value-adding support to my employers.

I have also attached a copy of my resume to this email, which provides further details of my education and employment history. I believe that we would be an ideal match and I look forward to discussing my application with you in person.

Please contact me on (555) 555-5555 or email me at janedoe@gmail.com

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

For an email cover letter, write your name and the position title in the subject line.

If you send a printed cover letter, format it as you would a formal letter, with your and the organization's addresses at the top.

Things to Avoid

  • Making things up. It is very tempting to change some details in your favor but remember that your recruiter may follow up on any statements you make.
  • Use too many happy words. Show that you love your job and you are proud of your work, but keep the adjectives to a minimum.
  • Writing a list of skills you think they want. You may not have an abundance of proven experience, but just saying that you are a great and flexible timekeeper, multi-tasker and leader is not enough. Tell them why you have all these skills. Are you a great leader because you were the leader of a school club? Can you say you are excellent at time and project management because you maintained high scores and took part in various extracurricular activities?
  • Writing what you would want to see in a cover letter. Yes, part of your job is recruitment, but remember that you are not the recruiter here and you don't know what specifics the employer has asked for. Stick to the details and skills mentioned in the job description and do company research where needed.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are an experienced HR generalist or a new HR assistant, writing a cover letter is always challenging.

You want to explain all the ways you are perfect for a role, but you know that your audience is time-short.

As someone working in HR, your cover letter and resume are likely to be judged or scrutinized more because you are considered an expert. Be prepared to write several drafts before you settle on the final version.

Remember:

  • Be concise and share experiences directly related to the job description
  • Be professional and use HR and workplace terminology where appropriate
  • Allow your personality to show
  • Have confidence in yourself