Next up after optimizing your CV, is how to write a compelling cover letter. We dread this aspect so much that it keeps us from applying for jobs we’re qualified for.
Truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way, and with the proper guidance you’ll be able to know how to write a cover letter even in your sleep!
We’ve curated the most popular questions on writing a cover letter and answered them for you in a way you’ll find easy to remember.
What is a cover letter?
Simply put it is your introduction letter to your potential employer. It is the application letter to a company which summarizes your soft skills, professional experiences and attitudes you possess that makes you the perfect choice for the job. It always accompanies your CV and so it should be as direct as possible.
How long should a Cover letter be?
With the description above, you might be tempted to go on and on about your skills and competencies.
Remember the K.I.S.S. principle? Keep It Short and Simple. The sentences should follow each other in a way that will contribute to the employer’s impression about you. It’s a great rule to remember when writing cover letters.
One page, with about 4-6 paragraphs, with not less than three sentences each is enough space to humbly blow your own trumpet.
How do I write a cover letter?
Any way you decide to structure your cover letter, there are key elements that will help you to understand what you should be writing in your letter. They are also in a chronological order so that you are leading your employer into knowing you well enough to want to work with you, or at least take a look at your resume after reading it.
There are different heading formats for emails and for when you are writing the cover letter and printing it out. These days, most job ads want you to send a mail to their recruiter or hiring managers.
For actual letters you will have to include your contact information and the employer’s contact information such as;
- Your city or State
- Your phone number
- Email address
- Employers’ name
- Employer’s position at the firm (Sometimes, you may be writing to HR or a department. In such cases, skip no.1).
- City or State
Whenever you want to send a mail, the mail service provider, usually Gmail or Yahoo, has a space just below the send to space where you can input the subject of the mail, since you don’t need to put an address. You could input something like, Application for the Post of Content Writing Intern
This begins with your salutation. There are different ways of doing this. While some opt to address “Dear….”, others opt to use “Good Day….”. Which ever you opt to use, use the salutation you are comfortable with.
Concerning the name to use, it will be a good opportunity to research and know the name of the Hiring Manager. If you do not, just using ‘Hiring Manager’ or ‘Sir/Madam’ will suffice.
The first paragraph is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your occupation. Tell the recruiter the position you are applying for, how you heard about the job and a very short reason why you are applying for the job. You can talk about the core strengths you possess that will make you a good fit for the job.
Here you could provide more details on how you are fit for the role. Do you have any special certification? Mention some of them (starting from the most notable. If you have no notable ones, just mention that you have certification); mention key experiences that you have that developed your competencies.Talk about your contributions to the success of projects in the different places you have worked.
A good hint to help your streamline your experiences would be to look at the job advert and all the skills and experiences the recruiter was looking out for. Use key words and phrases to describe your qualifications. This will help to satisfy the recruiter that you have the required experience.
Here you could talk about your values and how your specific skill set can fulfill the organizations goals. Tell the recruiter why this organization is the perfect fit for you as well. You could point out company goals, work ethics, inclusion policies, brand voice, social image, company culture, etc. as a reason why you think this will be a great place to work.
The reason why you should do this is because not every job seeker is doing this. Many people just want a place that pays good salary. Great places with good salaries want people who are excited and self-motivated to work. That way they don’t spend more money hiring unproductive employees every few months. This paragraph is an opportunity to show that you are different from the herd. Use it wisely.
Call to action
Thank the hiring manager for looking through your application and state your excitement in working with them to benefit the organization. Emphasize again the skills that make you a great choice. Express your excitement in looking forward to the interview. And yeah, we have something special about your salary you should know before an interview.
With a professional closing phrase, you can sign off. The most appropriate is Best Regards, with your name and surname signed underneath. Sometimes, you can include links to your social media profiles. But only do this if your social media handles are optimized and curated to landing you that particular job you have applied for.
Dos and Don’ts of Writing Cover letters
- Research on the organization
- Research key skills and qualification for the specific role
- Proofread before submitting your cover letter to the hirer.
- Add key words from the ads in your cover letter
- Write a precise cover letter
- Be honest about your experience and qualification.
- Don’t copy and paste your cover letter without restructuring to fit that role.
- Don’t copy and paste other people’s cover letters. It’s great to write authentically about yourself. Passion is undeniable enough o be seen through a cover letter and once in a while, recruiters deserve that.
So, if all of this is to hard for you to do and you’re just interested in a sample, we’ve have a sample cover letter for you and we hope you are able to edit and apply what you have learnt above when writing a cover letter