When hunting for a job, cover letters may be possibly the most belittled document of the entire application processes. The main reason for this is that most job applicants don’t have the even the slightest clue of what they need and what they are for.
However, a cover letter is a vital document of virtually every job application. It offers you the opportunity to sell your skills and abilities to recruiters. As such, you need to write it clearly and briefly that it persuades the reader to want to meet and hire you.
A well-crafted cover letter is the surest way to set yourself apart from other applicants while you convince your recruiter that you are the right person to join their team for the role advertised. So, ensure you don’t take your cover letter writing for granted.
What is a Cover Letter?
This is a document you attach to your CV when applying for a job. It often comes first before the CV. Also known as an application letter, the cover letter is different from the CV since written with the job you are applying for in mind. As such, it allows you to highlight your skills that are relevant to the areas you think you will play a role if hired.
Since the CV is supposed to be short and precise, then the cover letter is the perfect way to elaborate on your achievements.
So, do you know how to write a cover letter for a job? Well, let’s now to see how to write a good cover letter step-by-step.
How to write a Perfect Cover Letter
- Do you Research
Straight to the point, you need to do your research. So, take time to look into the job and the role you are applying for and the company. Use the information you get to tailor your application letter accordingly. These questions will guide your research:
- What does the company do?
- Who are their competitors?
- What does the role involve?
- What are the essential skills?
- Who is their target audience?
With the answers to these questions, you will be sure to state it clearly in your cover letter how your abilities and skills resonate with what the recruiter is looking for. The research will also indicate that have an interest in taking up the role and joining the company or institution.
- Put Your Contact Details in the Header
At the top of your cover letter get your contact details as follows:
- Your first and last name
- Email address (a professional one)
- Your phone number
- Your mailing address (Optional)
- Your Linkedin profile link (optional)
Below your contact details, follow up with:
- Today’s date
- The first and last name of the recipient
- The company’s address
- The company’s phone number
- The recruiting manager’s or the company’s email address
- Address the Recruiting Manager by their Name
- Opening Salutation
Make a perfect first impression in the opening salutation by addressing your cover letter. Don’t use impersonal greetings like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” will be a put-off. Instead, use the recruiter by accident.
Sometimes you might not be sure who to address. It is ok. You can still address the hiring manager by using the following:
- If you aren’t sure about the recruiter’s title like Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc you can do away with it from your salutation. Instead, use “Dear” which is acceptable.
- If you can’t figure out who the recruiter is, you can address one in charge of the position you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a marketing position, you can address the Marketing Director by name instead.
- If you don’t find anyone’s name, directly address your letter to the department. For instance “Dear Marketing Department” is acceptable.
Example of a Perfect Opening salutation
- Dear Jane Parker
- Dear Ms Parker
- Dear Marketing Department
- Dear [Company Name] Recruiter
- Introduction Paragraph
Hook the recruiter with a strong introduction. Most job seekers always agonize over how to introduce their cover letters. But it is simple. A good cover letter introduction must have the following:
- Job position: You must mention the name of the position you are applying for.
- Organization’s Name: Name the company you are applying for.
- Intention to apply: A proper announcement to why you are applying for that position.
By making sure that your opening introduction has the right ingredients like the ones we have mentioned above, you will successfully hook the recruiter into wanting to know more about you. You can make the introduction to be even more attention-grabbing by adding a touch of personality or major career highlight. Don’t forget to strike the right tone!
- Prove that you are the Ideal Candidate for the Job in the Body Paragraphs
In the body paragraphs, you have all the time to argue convincingly as to why you are the right candidate to do the job. To write the most about you in these paragraphs, and sell your skills and abilities as a great candidate. Keep in mind the following factors:
- Be Bold, but humble: Convey confidence to make your cover letter strong and convincing. So, if you can provide evidence for a claim such as you are the perfect candidate for the job put it in the letter. However, don’t make unsubstantiated claims about your skills and abilities.
- Be honest: Don’t stretch the truth about your skills or experience. If you are caught it can devastate your career.
- Don’t write irrelevant information: Make sure you tailor your cover letter to the job and company you are applying for. It should respond to the job posting, directly referencing the qualifications and skills defined by the hiring manager.
- Writing Tips – if you have some Working Experience
Recruiting managers will comb your cover letter for any hard evidence that you are the right candidate for the job as you claim. Use your most recent work history and achievements to prove that you have the right skills and abilities for the job. You can also include the following to back up your experience:
- Professional achievements: Mention the achievements that you have recently attained in your most recent job.
- Professional praise: Mention whether you have received any professional compliments from managers and colleagues for your work.
- Professional awards: Mention whether you have received awards for your work such as the employee of the month.
- Writing Tips – If you don’t have working experience
If you are a fresh graduate and have no working experience, writing an entry-level cover letter can prove challenging. Luckily, recruiters who are looking for fresh graduates candidates expect them to be inexperienced. Therefore, recruiters will only look for other qualities. These may include:
- Academic achievements: What are your highest academic qualifications?
- Extracurricular activities: Have you been involved in any volunteering, clubs, student government, athletics or any extracurricular activities? Do you pursue hobbies and interests? What are they?
- Goal setting and Self-motivating: What are the short and long term goals you have, and how does the position you are applying to get a place in them.
All the information you write in your cover letter should be relevant to the position you are applying for. For example, your theatre club experience could be of no good use to accounting position unless you were the treasurer.
- Closing your Cover Letter
When it comes to writing the closing paragraph of your cover letter, be polite and confident as you continue spelling yourself as a suitable candidate. Write the closing paragraph as thoughtfully as possible. Here is how to conclude your cover letter.
- Thank the recruiting manager for having time to review your resume and cover letter
- Precisely summarize why you would be a good hire
- Recap your excitement about the opportunity
- Courteously request them to send you an invitation to interview
- Sign off professionally
In your closing salutation, make sure you are as professional as possible. Use some of these professional cover letter sign-offs:
- Kind regards
- Best regards
- Thank you
Finally, type your full name two spaces between the salutations.
- Review your Cover Letter
Take your time to read through the entire cover letter and ensure you have written your cover letter excellently. Proofread and edit mend all the grammatical and spelling mistakes to leave your cover letter flawless and smooth in reading.
How to format your Cover Letter Formatting
A good professional cover letter should be formatted in a single space and on a single A4 page. The font type should match any of those commended fonts for cover letters. The font size should not be smaller than size 12 while the margins should be set at 1″ – 1.5″ on either side. But most importantly, make sure that it looks readable and professional.
Popular Cover Letter Examples
If you are looking for extra guidance in writing your cover letter, you can extend your learning from the following most popular cover letter examples:
- Nursing Cover Letter
- Teacher Cover Letter
- Information Technology Cover Letter
- Accounting Cover Letter
- Engineering Cover Letter
- Customer Service Representative Cover Letter
- Human Resource (HR) Cover Letter
- Sales Cover Letter
- Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
- Police Officer Cover Letter
Don’t Settle for Less than a Winning Cover Letter
When it comes to hunting for a job, writing a great cover letter isn’t an option. Writing an awesome persuasive cover letter should be a daunting task. Simply follow what we have provided above, and you will have a smooth cover letter writing experience. Besides, you will be able to write a winning piece of cover letter. Good Luck!