While some people think that cover letters are a relic, many modern companies still require cover letters as a part of the hiring process. If you strive to get a good position, you surely need to write a cover letter! Even if the company doesn’t require it, writing one can give you some insights on your productivity and find gaps for improvement.
A cover letter is a written message to a member of the search committee which highlights how your qualifications and experience fit the position. It gives a unique opportunity to tell the potential employer or hiring manager how your personal qualities, skills, and experience will meet the company goals. Usually, a cover letter should be written if the job offer or employer asks for one. Also, you can write one if someone has recommended you for the vacant post or you just think that it will work for you.
A cover letter may be your hidden card that can earn extra points for you. It’s a great tool to catch the eye of an employer for your candidacy. Show your enthusiasm and spare no effort on composing a cover letter for every position you apply.
Questions to Answer to Get Prepared for Writing a Cover Letter
If you want to write a striking cover letter, don’t skip answering the following list of questions. This will help you find enough information and the right arguments to win the employer’s heart.
- Why do you need to write the letter?
- Why have you chosen this company from others on the market?
- What are the goals of the company?
- Do you know the employer’s/hiring manager’s name?
- What is the employer expecting from you?
- Why are you suitable to the job position?
- What can you do for the company?
- How can you prove you skills?
- What can you do in the future role?
When you will get all the answers, you can proceed to writing the letter.
7 Simple Steps to Write a Cover Letter
Every cover letter is unique and can be written with a different approach. We think that there are no particular rules that one needs strictly to follow. But if you are writing a cover letter for the first time, or wish to improve your writing skills, follow the steps of our simple guide.
1. Address the letter to a certain person. Today, most of the resumes and cover letters are sent by email or via an online form. You can find the person to address in the text of the vacancy, on the company’s website, or on LinkedIn.
2. If you will be sending a cover letter via email, write a brief email subject. You can use a standard formula: “Position – First and Last Name.” Or, you can use your imagination to attract the recruiter’s attention. For example: “Experienced manager for ABC position – Jenny Carters.”
3. Write a salutation. Spell the person’s name correctly. For example, you would write, “Dear Mr. Jones,” or “Dear James Jones:”.
4. The first paragraph is of great importance. It’s your chance to catch the reader’s attention. State the reason why you are writing the letter and introduce yourself. Mention how you found this job opening, and why you are interested in this company. You can use one of the following approaches for the first paragraph:
– Consider the position as your passion.
– Demonstrate your love for the company.
– Show your character trait, attribute, or accomplishment.
– Use your humor.
5. In the second paragraph you can highlight skills relevant to the position. Tell about real cases from your job/college/internship that prove your qualities. Discuss your real accomplishments and skills you obtained from the last few years considering the job requirements.
6. In the conclusion, you can state why you match the vacancy post and how you can be reached for further details. Express your desire for the job and show deep gratitude for considering your candidacy.
7. Skip one blank line and leave a signature. Write a closing phrase: “Sincerely,” “Best wishes,” etc. Add your full name, phone number, and your email.
As you finish the letter, read it out loud. Correct sentences and paragraphs, and make sure the text is easy to read. Make sure that your letter is free of grammar, punctuation, and other mistakes. Ask someone close to you to read your letter and share their opinion about it.
How to Write a Cover Letter: Sample for a Student
Below you will find a sample of a cover letter addressed to a committee member for the position of recruiting assistant. We know how hard it is to write a cover letter when you have no work experience. Here we show you how a recent graduate can apply for a desired job position.
Email subject: Recruiting Assistant – Michele Adams
Dear Mr. Hopkins:
I am writing to you to apply for the position of recruiting assistant in Hopkins and Sons, Inc. On Glassdoor.com I noticed that your company is seeking an assistant to your HR department, and I’m happy to propose my candidacy. As a recent graduate with a major in communications, I’m interested in screening and coordinating human resources in your company. Hopkins and Sons, Inc. has a good reputation on the market and I have known about it for years, so it would be an honor to become a part of the company.
During my years in academia, I have successfully coordinated the student community with a program to encourage students to share their old or useless clothes for those who are in need. My past supervisor noted that I am able to complete projects earlier than the deadlines and am attentive to detail. My communication and interpersonal skills have helped me succeed during college, and will help me achieve the company’s goals as a member of your HR department.
It would be a pleasure if you would invite me to an interview. You can find my resume in the attachment. My skills and knowledge can immediately contribute to your team. You can contact me by phone or email any time.
Thank you for your consideration.
As you can see, the author has briefly discussed her own skills and supported it with evidence from real experience. You can add other skills or explain it in your own way depending on your situation.
Cover Letter Writing Tips and Advice
We have gathered general recommendations that can turn your cover letter into a perfect one. Consider the following tips to write a winning cover letter.
- Do all possible to find out the name of the person you are writing to. It’s a psychological tool, as all people are more attentive to those who address them by name.
- Choose a classic font (e.g. Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman, etc.) and standard font size (10-12). Fancy fonts may be memorable, but hard to read. The recipient will move the letter to the trash with a high probability.
- Tailor your letter for every position or vacancy you are applying to. It will be a great mistake to write a universal cover letter for all positions. Always connect your skills and job requirements.
- Don’t exceed the one-page limit. It’s not a secret that cover letters are not always read. So, a lengthy letter is just doomed to be skipped.
- Support your skills and qualifications with examples from your work. The employer will seek in your letter a confirmation of core skills needed for the position and see what kind of person you are.
- Think about the letter from the reader’s perspective. What will they be expecting to read? What will catch their attention?
- A cover letter may be considered as a sales letter, so apply marketing strategies like a call to action and action words.
- Insert keywords form the job description. Hiring managers usually skim over the letter for required skills, and only then can read the letter more attentively.
- Never copy templates and samples. Write your unique letter considering your individuality and company’s needs.
We hope that our guide will help you create even the most articulate cover letter. You can find more information about this type of letter in our book on Amazon.
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