A cover letter is a great opportunity for you to make an impact early on and show that you are more than reliable enough for the current job.
It is your chance to demonstrate how you will be able to contribute positively in the workplace and want them on board from the get-go. And that's just what it should do!
A cover letter is a crucial document for any job seeker. It gives the employer a snapshot of the candidate and sets them up to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to move forward with your application. However, writing a great cover letter is more difficult than it may seem.
That’s why today I am going to share with you some best practices in how to write an amazing cover letter, and what resources you’ll need that will keep you on track throughout the process.
Before we begin, let’s take a look at what the cover letter is designed for. And how you should use it to your advantage, no matter what job type you’re applying for.
- What is the cover letter supposed to do?
- What is a cover letter?
- What do I include in a cover letter?
- How long should a cover letter be?
- Why should I include a cover letter?
- What is the best way to write a cover letter?
- How to write a cover letter for a job?
- How to format a cover letter?
- How to end a cover letter?
- How to write a cover letter for an internship?
- Tips to write a perfect cover letter
- Key Takeaways
What Is The Cover Letter Supposed To Do?
The cover letter is an essential part because it demonstrates the value of the application and helps in establishing a strong relationship with the prospective employer as well as with other colleagues. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in getting all tasks and duties carried out efficiently.
The primary function of most employers is to hire a candidate with the right skill set for the job or roles that they are looking to fill.
What you do in your cover letter can help them make the decision to move forward with you. Use this opportunity to explain why you are a good fit and the reason that you deserve to be selected.
So, how should a candidate go about writing their cover letter?
There are two types of cover letters – informational and non-informational. Let’s take a look at each type.
Informational Cover Letter: The informational cover letter is the one that is used to introduce you to a company. It’s not specifically addressed to a person. But it helps to set you up for the job that you’re applying for, while providing background on your skills and abilities.
Non-Informational Cover Letter: The non-informational cover letter is addressed directly to a person, who can help you achieve your goal.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one page document that introduces you to a potential employer and briefly summarizes your work and education history. Your cover letter should highlight your relevant skills, accomplishments, career goals, and motivation for seeking the position. In addition, a cover letter should not exceed two pages.
The most common type of cover letter is an introduction email, sent to a recruiter or a person in charge of filling positions at the company you are applying to.
It’s not necessary to write cover letters when the employer has specified their requirements on their website or in their job post.
Cover letters are a great way to clarify your application and highlight the skills and experience that are important for the position that you have applied to.
You can also include a cover letter in your resume itself and include the information about the position to which you are applying. This is especially useful if you have more than one job opening at the same company. You may find it useful to clarify why you are a great candidate for more than one job.
What do I include in a cover letter?
A cover letter is an important part of your job application. It gives a recruiter or hiring manager a better insight into who you are and why you are applying for their specific position.
There are 6 things that you should include:
1. Name and contact information
This is the only place where you should include your phone number. It's best to have an easy to remember email address like firstname.lastname@example.org, or something similar but this isn't necessary. The best way to include your contact information is on the outer edge of the letter with a space below it that says "Name:"
Make sure that this part of your letter explains why you want to work for a particular company. This is your opportunity to state how much you want the job and what you are going to do for the company. Your objective should be short enough so that they can read it quickly but it should still make a statement about why you want to work for them.
There are a few things that you should include here. You should address transferable skills that you have and why they are relevant to the position you're applying for. If you have any extra materials about how your work was showcased in the past (like a portfolio) it would be a good idea to place this in or near this section.
This is where you can discuss your skills and experience. As a general rule, you should not say anything that they already know from their application process or their industry. They should already be aware of your skills. This is also a great place to list any previous experience that you have had with the type of job that they are looking for. For example, if they are hiring a software engineer, then you can mention your work on a Linux forum because this helps demonstrate your problem solving skills as well as your ability to communicate with people in an industry.
This is the most important section of the letter. You will want to state what you have accomplished in your previous jobs. You should include three to four accomplishments for each job that you worked on. If you don't have any then write down the reason that you still applied and why they would benefit from your experience. If nothing seems to work, then no one will hire you, so make sure that you are qualified.
Finally, you should state where you get your information about the position. For example, if they are looking for a person that can do research using Google and on their profile page say something to the effect of "I did a search for 'X' and found X about Y" then don't list those in your letter. However, if they are specifically looking for someone with this skill then include it in your letter and make sure that whoever is reading the letter understands this.
How long should a cover letter be?
A cover letter should be four paragraphs with a maximum of three to four sentences per paragraph. This is important because if you exceed this then it will be hard for someone to read quickly and some people might just skip it altogether. Your cover letter should also not be longer than one page.
Before you start typing your first paragraph, you must open the letter with an introduction that contains your name, the company you are applying for, as well as a short explanation of why you are applying for the position. In most cases, you can just directly paste the job description into the first sentence of your cover letter.
2: The mini-introduction
In the second paragraph, you should explain why you are looking for a new job and how it fits with your current career goals. If possible, try explaining how this new position will be a natural step in your career progression and that it is something that you've always wanted to do. This paragraph should also include an explanation as to why you are interested in working for this particular company.
3: The sell
This is where you should demonstrate why you are the best person for the job. You want to explain why you will be able to work hard at this occupation and create a better working environment. If possible, try explaining why you have skills that they are looking for in their company or that it has been a foregone conclusion that you would apply for this position. Explain your experience as well as your skills. You should end this paragraph with a strong statement that states why you are the best person for the job.
In your closing paragraph, you should do everything that you have been telling them in this letter. You want to follow up on all of your points in previous paragraphs and make sure that they fully understand the position. It is never OK to include any additional information in this paragraph other than what was stated in the cover letter. You should also make sure that you have a fairly strong closing. You want to use strong action words and make a statement that makes them feel confident in hiring you. If your letter is not working, then chances are that it was too vague or that your introduction didn't tell them enough about you to hire you based on what they read.
Why should I include a cover letter?
A cover letter can be the difference between getting the job and getting rejected without even being considered for an interview. A job advertisement is a lot like a dating profile. It is the first impression that they get of you and you want to make it as good as possible.
A cover letter also gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself in an in-depth way. It's not really important if you know anyone that works there but they are going to be able to see who wrote the letter and therefore will give more weight to your application than an open advert on the site would. A well-written cover letter is going to give them a good idea of who you are and what kind of person you are.
It is also a good idea to include your academic credentials. If possible, include your GPA, or if not, then at least mention how long it took for you to graduate and the type of coursework that you did. You want to demonstrate that you are serious about your career so that they will take you seriously when they're reading your application.
If you have any references then you can add them at the bottom of your letter. However, if they are looking for a work-from-home job then it might be difficult to get a reference from your previous position unless you're applying for an online job in which case it shouldn't be hard to find someone else online who will vouch for you.
It would also be a good idea to include something about how excited you are about this position. Don't make it a lie but maybe focus on how you think the job will help you grow as a person. If possible, try to tie this back into the company's mission statement so that they understand that you have common goals with them.
In some cases, it might be beneficial to mention a few things about your hobbies and interests. This isn't necessary if they are looking for someone with only one skill but if they are looking for someone that is well-rounded then mentioning some of your other passions might help sway them in your favor.
What is the best way to write a cover letter?
Like most things, there are a number of different ways to write a cover letter. However, you can generally say that there are two different types of approaches. The first type is where you would give them more information about yourself in order to help convince them to hire you based on your experience and education. The second type is more about selling yourself as someone who has the skills that they are looking for and therefore will be suited for the job.
If you want to emphasize your skills and show that you know what they are looking for then try using a format that shows them that you are well-read. You should focus on putting in words that demonstrate how you have experience in the industry as well as what the skills are that they are looking for. It is a great idea to have a list of examples of relevant work experience because this will give them an alternative to your cover letter.
You can also use a series of bullet points below these bullet points. This will help show them that you have thought about the company and worked out how your skills can help them. If possible, try to parse this list of bullet points into sections. This will also allow you to focus on certain aspects like if you have experience with a particular software that they use or the industry in which they operate. This will give them an idea of what kind of person you are without having to read your whole letter.
How to write a cover letter for a job?
Your cover letter is a great opportunity to add a personal touch to your resume. Cover letters are written in the first person (e.g. I, me, my) rather than the third person (e.g. he, she). A lot of people seem to have trouble writing cover letters because a cover letter is something that you would normally write when applying for a job. If you're applying for a job, shouldn't the company already know your stats and skills?
The answer is yes and no. No because the company wants to get to know who they're going to hire better, and yes because they want to see how you think. It's about how well you present yourself through words.
When writing a cover letter, the first paragraph is the introductory paragraph. The second paragraph should be about why you're writing and what you can offer the company. The third paragraph should ask them to respond if they're interested in what you have to offer. Lastly, the last paragraph should be a summary of how you can help them.
Most people will write their cover letter in the first person because they think it's more personal and shows that you're "more interested" on being there. The problem is that most jobseekers are so desperate to work, that they resort to doing it in the first person.
Here's an example of a good cover letter:
Dear Ms. Jones,
I am writing this because I would like to apply for the vacancy of [job title]. I am very interested and excited to get the chance to work with your company.
If chosen as a potential employee, I would be able to help your company succeed due to my proven track record at [previous company]. As you can see from my resume, I have been able to work with a wide variety of people in different situations and was able to retain them as customers. My past experience working in customer service has taught me how deal with difficult customers on a daily basis and still find the time for every customer that needs help.
I'm sure that your company will see a positive result if I was employed there. I would love to discuss this opportunity in more detail with you, and I'm available any time that is convenient for you.
I hope to hear from you soon.
How to format a cover letter?
A cover letter should be a single page and use conventional type, not script.
- Avoid a busy design, but don't be afraid to use the page of your resume. It should complement it by adding additional information.
- Use white paper, which will ensure good contrast between the letter and the resume.
- Make sure your cover letter is well written and error free.
- Include all relevant information from your resume; otherwise you might lose out on that interview opportunity.
- Avoid boring or 'overly formal' language. Keep it professional, but also use phrases that are natural and easy to understand.
- If you have been referred by a friend or colleague, make sure you mention this early in the letter.
- Use similar language to your resume to demonstrate that you can communicate well and consistently across multiple platforms.
- Make sure you understand exactly what the job is and what the company does. Show that you have researched it, so they know you are serious about providing value to them.
- Keep it short (1 page), but make sure all relevant information is included.
- Avoid any slang or colloquialisms that might be a little too informal for such a professional application.
How to address a cover letter?
A well-written cover letter not only influences the reader's perception of your creativity, but will also impress him/her making him/her want to read your resume further.
Your cover letter communicates your credentials, so it's important to make a good first impression.
Your cover letter also serves as a link between you and the prospective employer and makes them proofread your resume with its help, thus ensuring that their eyes do not skip over any details or key words.
The cover letter should be an integral part of your CV. It should not be separated from it because it is the first thing people will see when they see your CV template.
It's a good idea to write a cover letter, because this will help you express yourself and keep your resume short.
Cover letters can also help you highlight a certain skill or aspect of your personality that may be relevant to the job you've applied for, but was downplayed in your resume template.
Cover letters can ensure that your resume and CV get the employer's attention. But a well-written letter is just half the battle won.
After writing a cover letter, it's always a good idea to proofread it before sending it off, to make sure its not full of spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.
It's not that difficult to write an impressive cover letter after all and if you follow a proven formula, you can make the best of your resume and boost your chances of getting an interview call.
How to end a cover letter?
A good cover letter will end with a call to action. You want to make sure you ask the employer for their contact information, why you would be a good match for them, and how you can help them. This way they won't have any excuse to not reply. It is important to proof read your cover letter before sending it off. It will save you a lot of embarrassment. The end should also include your name, phone number and email. Include references if you have any. Go through the points again and remove the ones that are not valid in your case.
The closing paragraph can be as simple as:
'Please contact me on (phone number) or email to arrange an interview at (date).'
A lot of recruiters will look for this, so it's important that you include it. They can't call you, if you don't have the details.
When they contact you, make sure that you ask what the next step is. You may be invited to a telephone interview or to an assessment centre , and having this information will save you time in getting prepared for these events.
How to write a cover letter for an internship?
The primary thing that people look for, when they apply for a summer internship is the ability to get things done or at least have the energy to do them if the job requires.
When you're writing your cover letter, think of it as a sales letter and do not forget that there is a big difference between an internship and a job.
A summer internship is a step towards your career and therefore the quality of your work must be excellent.
You'll probably be expected to work harder than usual if you've applied for a summer internship. Therefore, the letter must reflect your commitment to hard work and long hours, otherwise you can't expect an interview call.
While it may seem that an internship is all fun and games, it is still a job. You will be doing real work that needs to be done well. It's just that the parameters are different. For example, you may be expected to present a report at the end of the project. This means that your work will be evaluated too.
So make sure that you are prepared for the interview and ask your friends or seniors to go over your letter with you before sending it off.
Tips to write a perfect cover letter:
- Be concise and clear.
- Remember to mention why you are sending the cover letter, so the reader knows you have done your homework.
- If possible, mention that you were referred by a mutual contact or someone else who can vouch for your reliability and hard work. This will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.
- Always write what you can offer them, not what they can offer you in terms of money or job experience etc..
- Don't forget to mention your salary expectations. This will help the employer to decide if you are worth hiring or not.
- If you have relevant experience, mention it. It doesn't have to be paid and can be in the form of voluntary work or any other activity that shows you can work hard and complete tasks successfully.
- The cover letter should be focused on your target job only and not a cover letter for all jobs. Make sure what you write is relevant to what they are looking for.
- As a job seeker, you have to be skilled in selling your skills because it is essential for you to grab attention of hiring managers.
- When you are applying for any job, it is important that you provide a well written cover letter that portray your skills and experience to make a good impression about yourself.
- A convincing cover letter can also help you improve your chances in landing an interview.
- Make sure that you do your research to come up with a well-written letter.
- A cover letter is always written directly to a hiring manager who can give you a chance.
- You need to be convincing in your cover letter because it is the first impression that you are giving about yourself and not just any resume can do the job for you.
- When writing one, it should have all your contact information as well as email address and phone number so that they can get in touch with you immediately.