A man types a letter

How to Write a Cover Letter

When you are looking for a job, the first thought that comes to mind is to create a resume.

However, equally important is your cover letter, which is a vital part of your job application process.

Some job recruiters or employers require a letter in addition to your resume, while others do not.

However, it’s always a good idea to send a letter telling a potential employer more about yourself.

Your letter serves as the first page of your resume and could lead to you being invited to a job interview.

What this means is your letter must be carefully written.

Make sure you don’t make your letter too long – that’s what your resume is for.

If you lose your reader – the job recruiter – it probably means you won’t get an interview.

What is a Resume Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a brief introduction to a potential employer, that is attached to a job application with your resume.

It needs to have details of why you, as a job seeker, are qualified for the position you are applying for.

It should explain why you are interested in working for a specific company and what relevant skills you have for the position you’re applying for.

A cover letter, like your resume, is essentially a way of advertising yourself.

Think of it as a marketing tool to market the job seeker.

It gives you the opportunity to quickly introduce yourself, catch the hiring manager’s attention, and pique their interest so they are forced to read your resume.

When applying for jobs, they are therefore sent or uploaded along with the curriculum vitae.

How to structure your cover letter

The first tip in creating an appealing letter that will catch the eye of the recruiter,

There are some steps that must be taken in order for it to be appealing.

The letter must be tailored to the job requirements.

It should be concise, left-aligned, the right tone, and free of spelling and grammatical errors, so make sure you spell-check the document.

It should not exceed one page.

One key point to make is when applying for different jobs, avoid sending the same type of letter.

If you apply for 10 jobs, write 10 different cover letters.

Recruiters are not likely to invite you for an interview if they think you’ve used a generic letter.

Information to include in a resume cover letter

A good rule in creating a letter that will attract the attention of the hiring manager is to include relevant information.

The information provided should relate to what is requested in the job advertisement.

Don’t forget to learn the hiring manager’s name as it personalizes the conversation and also helps to establish an early dialogue.

And make sure to mention what appealed to you about the job and why you prefer the job to others.

Make an honest evaluation of your qualities and abilities.

Take advantage of the opportunity to mention additional qualities that you do not have on your resume.

Always mention why you are interested in the position and why you want to work for the organization.

In the letter, you should only mention your relevant experience briefly, leaving the details for your resume. 

Writing a cover letter could be tricky if you don’t have knowledge of its structure and the information to include.

Without knowing, attracting the recruiter’s attention becomes more unlikely, and so does an interview.

You must create a letter that will appeal to the hiring manager.

Things you should know about writing a cover letter

The rule of a job interview is to dress smartly – it’s deemed to be essential.

And a cover letter is equally important.

Job advertisements don’t always specify whether you should send a cover letter.

But you should.

Sending a letter is a good idea for no other reason than to show how effectively you can convert your ideas and beliefs into writing.

A letter is a great addition to your resume.

One of the goals of any interview is to show your confidence and a refined appearance – in person and on paper.

A well-written letter can enhance the desirability of your resume, in the same way, looking smart can improve your chances.

How to Write a Good Cover Letter

Writing the ideal letter does not have to be a difficult task. You need not be a professional writer to draft one.

You must include the full name of the company.

It’s also a good idea to visit its website to learn more about its viewpoint, ethos, core values, dream, and mission statement.

Make sure to learn about the company’s history and the names of its high-ranking staff and board members.

Reading PR releases on the news page is also a good idea – making reference to any ongoing projects they may have recently launched will go down well with the interviewer.

Likewise, look at its social media pages, as well as using search engines like Google and Bing to carry out further research.

Explore the details of the specific department where you will be working and learn the details of new programs or any newsletters that might be freely available.

Learn more about who your colleagues might be.

See if they have LinkedIn or Facebook profiles and try to identify anything you might have in common with your potential new boss.

Try to establish a connection.

For example, companies are often fans of community work.

A winner for you could be to identify any projects the company may take part in and express your excitement about working with the organization on future projects.

Revealing knowledge of existing software programs is also likely to be in your favor.

An example of a good cover letter is: 

“Dear Hiring Manager, Please accept this cover letter and the enclosed resume as an application for the position of HR Assistant at your company.

“I was able to visit your official website.

“According to the December 2020 newsletter, the HR department intends to switch from its present software system to the system in March.

“In my previous role, I assisted in the training of ten people in my department on how to use PeopleSoft.”

If the interviewer sees a connection they’ll be more favorable.

People want to work with individuals they like and who share their interests and values.

As a result, if you can nurture an essential relationship in your letter and have the transferable skills the employer is looking for, you have a much better chance of being called in for an interview.

Step Two

In the second paragraph, provide a brief overview of who you are.

While your resume provides valuable information about what you have done, it is also essential to devote a few sentences in your letter to describing who you are.

Ideally, the connection you made in the first paragraph enticed the person reading your letter to read on.

Now is the time to capitalize on that connection in your second paragraph.

In the second paragraph, express your interest in the position.

Say why you want to join who you are with why you are involved in the role in the next few sentences.

Take into account what urged you to respond to the job posting or describe how you felt when you started learning about the position.

It’s a good idea to list two or three specific reasons why you want the job.

In the third and fourth paragraphs, provide specific instances of your professional experience and skills.

You’ve now made a connection with your potential employer and explained why you wanted to work for them in the previous two paragraphs.

Now it’s time for your sales pitch.

The majority of job postings include a description of the position’s duties, essential functions, required and preferred education, work experience, skills, and abilities, or any combination of these.

The final paragraph is giving the interviewer the opportunity to interview you.

Provide your email, phone number and full name so they can contact you to invite you.

It’s also a good idea to thank them for taking the time to read your letter.

Things to Keep in Mind when Drafting a Cover Letter 

The fact is, almost everyone devotes the majority of their employment search working on their resume.

While having an effective resume that outlines your skills and qualifications is important, it is only essential after your letter has piqued the interest of your prospective employer.

But if the crucial introductory letter is a last-minute addition, all those hours spent polishing your resume will be for nothing

Your job is to promote yourself to possible employers, and you must first get their attention before they will listen to you.

That is the role of the letter in your search for your dream job.

The letter is the very first thing the potential interviewer sees.

It could be the case you have the most amazing resume that makes you perfect for the job – but it might never get read.

A memorable introduction gives you a significant advantage over the competition, even if hundreds of people have applied for the same position.

The letter that goes with your resume is your first and most important marketing tool.

It either advances you to the next round or eliminates you from the competition right away.

Once your letter has done the job, the resume is the only thing that matters.

If you miss the mark with your letter, chances are your resume won’t ever get looked at.

Never apply hastily, you need to determine who you want to reach and address your letter to the job title accordingly.

This step may mean contacting the organization in order to locate the right person.

Do everything you can to get that information as it will impress the person you are writing to.

Keep your first sentence brief and to the point.

Instead of using a “standard” letter that sounds like it was written in the 1960s, stand out with a unique approach.

The initial sentence is extremely important.

If you get it right, you’ll make a good impression, which will allow your resume to continue marketing you as a valuable candidate.

Don’t tell your interviewer your life story.

A letter should be short, sweet, and to the point.

When done well, 3-5 short paragraphs provide plenty of space.

Overcrowding the page with text and not enough white space is a no-no.

A well-written, sharply focused letter distinguishes you from the crowd and increases your chances of getting an interview.

It’s never about you when marketing yourself as a potential employee; it’s always about how you can help the company grow.

You must concentrate on the value you can bring to their organization, so make it clear what you have to offer.

This is where your research can really pay off.

Understand what they want and present yourself as the valuable asset they seek.

Be true to yourself and allow your personality and passion to shine through and make sure you demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position that the organization is seeking to fill.

This alone will set you apart from the crowd of other candidates because people notice when you show an interest in and passion for your work.

They will be able to see it for themselves when you conduct the interview.

Make sure you are positive and ask for the interview.

This shows you mean business and that you need to be given the job.

Following that, follow up on every contact and lead.

It’s simple to let things slide, and most individuals do.

Even so, staying in touch shows potential employers how far you’re willing to go.

There are several simple steps involved to get the job you want.

The first step is the most critical.

Before you do anything else, you must make an impression with a strong letter of introduction that captures the minds and hearts of those doing the hiring.

Cover Letter Templates Can Help You – But Beware

Not everyone’s a writer, so there is help at hand.

When used correctly, letter templates can be a valuable asset to job applicants.

But watch out, there are some things to look out for.

One common misconception about professional cover letter templates is that job aspirants can use them as they are.

Letter prototypes are not ready-to-use.

They are simply an initial point for you to progress your letter.

What you must avoid is sending an employer the same letter they’ve seen hundreds of times, which will go straight into the bin/deleted emails.

Another common misunderstanding is that aspirants believe that letter templates available on the internet and in books are considered exactly how prospective employers want letters to appear.

While prospective employers want to see specialized-looking letters, they also want to see a fresh and unique cover letter that catches their attention.

A common cover letter template clears the misunderstanding and that the job seeker should not modify or delete any sections of the form.

As previously stated, the template is merely a beginning point for your ideas on how to construct a letter.

When skimming a letter, the prospective employer wants something fresh and exceptional.

To make your letter new and original, feel free to add to and subtract from what the template shows you.

There are websites that will utilize a questionnaire to ask you more questions and then compile your answers into a letter for you.

Don’t forget, this is still simply a template, and there are some effective cover letter template misunderstandings about it as well.

Job searchers appear to believe that by using this letter-writing service, they would receive a fantastic letter. Again, this is just a template; you’ll need to go through the letter to see whether it genuinely shines, and then add or remove sections that will make it a wonderful letter.

Some templates don’t show bullets in the body of the message.

Bullets can be beneficial to you since they emphasize your credentials and character traits that are relevant to the position you are looking for.

Bullets make the letter easier to scan, allowing the potential employer to swiftly read and decide whether or not to invite you for an interview.

Only you have a complete understanding of yourself, including all of your experiences, credentials, skills, and flaws. You also identify more about the firm you’re applying for than a website or a library book.

As a result, you are the only one who can properly craft the ideal letter. Take the time to demonstrate why you will be a valuable contribution to the firm for which you are applying.

Another common cover letter design misperception among job seekers is that if they write a genuinely excellent, new, and distinctive letter for one prospective company, they will utilize it for all prospective employers.

This initial letter should only be used as a starting point for creating new and unique letters for other potential jobs.

You are allowing yourself to learn how to properly develop a letter that will land you an interview by dispelling the above template fallacies.

During the interview, the prospective employer will be able to see your genuine potential and determine how valuable you will be to their firm.

Allowing your letter to rob you of the opportunity to show the prospective employer who you actually are is a mistake.

Top mistakes to avoid in a cover letter

So, let’s look over the top ten letter blunders and see how you may avoid them. These suggestions are based on my experience reviewing hundreds of letters and résumés.

Career Objectives:

The first step should be to tailor your letter to the position you’re applying for.

The HR executive is unconcerned with how that particular role will assist you to advance in your career.

They are more interested in what you performed and how you are assisting your present or past job.

Your letter should demonstrate real enthusiasm for the position you’re applying for.

If you are requested to join the firm, you should make it clear how long you expect to stay with them. Take a look at the following two real-life examples:

Incorrect example: “Through my experience as a Sales Executive has been rewarding, I am considering a career in the Purchase Department as an administrative assistant to help me develop my negotiating abilities..”

Correct example: “This Sales Executive role excites me, and I am confident that if given the chance, I would be able to make a major contribution to the turnovers. Please take into account my performance in my current role.”

Wasted space: Letters should not exceed four or five paragraphs in length.

You’d be wasting valuable white space by repeating the obvious – describing the position, how you learned about it, and why you’re applying, especially if it was listed under job opening.

Highlight your skill sets and how you would be able to provide value to the position that you are pursuing.

What matters most would be your people skills and expertise.

Mentioning items that are unrelated to the present project just serves to detract from the strength of your letter.

Perfect cover letter templates/forms: There are a plethora of websites that provide a template or a form letter.

You have an address, a subject, an opening paragraph, an introduction that you expand on in the following paragraph, and then you have a closure, just like any other letter. The resemblance ends there.

Every job is distinct.

Every employer is in the same boat.

Your letter should make it evident to HR that you are serious about the position you are applying for and that you are familiar with it. A template or a form letter can be identified by HR and discarded.

Do not beg:

Never, ever, ever use your letter to beg for a job.

Always quantify your good attitude and make a compelling case for why you believe you are more qualified for the job.

In your letter, you should seem more driven and not desperate.

You should exude positivity and eagerness for the role, according to the HR representative.

However, if you pour your heart out about how essential this job is to you, he or she may be put off by your desperate appeal for work.

A tiny line frequently divides the two, so the best advice is to trust your instincts.

Missing résumé

Check. Once. Check once more. Check again.

As you can see, all of the attachments are in place. You also indicated in your Post Script that you included your résumé.

However, you failed to staple it.

When submitting your letter by email, it is quite simple to forget to attach a file.

This is a fatal error.

HR will not contact you or send you a letter asking you to resubmit your resume.

Because there were plenty of others who did everything correctly without making that critical and catastrophic error.

Typing mistakes

Better known as typos – everyone does them.

However, it is also quite simple for HR to dismiss your letter, especially if it contains bothersome typing errors.

You’re purposefully playing into his or her hands. You are assisting them in making a decision that is adverse to your success.

There are several cover letter resume templates available on the internet, but they all basically advise you what to do in order to produce a letter that will land you an interview.

However, many of those suggestions are nonsense.

The following are the 5 biggest myths regarding the cover letter resume that any serious job seeker should avoid.

Regardless of your age, you must be able to demonstrate your outstanding personality and explain why you are the best candidate for the position in a letter and resume.

Myth #1: A letter needs to be long

A letter should be brief and straightforward.

You don’t want to tell your entire life narrative in a resume cover letter – Just mention your relevant accomplishments.

You’re only trying to showcase those unique talents that an employer won’t be able to discern by reading your resume, but keeping it too short makes you uninteresting.

Make your cover letter around three to five paragraphs long, each about three or four sentences long.

Of course, you don’t want to ramble on, but your letter also can’t be too short since you don’t want it to appear as if you used a template to write it… even if you did!

Myth #2: Highlight crucial aspects of your resume in your cover letter resume.

There’s no point – that information is in your resume.

Tell the company things that your resume cannot, such as how you learned about the position, why you’re interested in it, and why you believe you’re a highly qualified candidate for it.

Inform them of something they don’t know!

Myth #3: Never begin a letter with “To Whom It May Concern”

You’re obliged to attach a letter with your Resume, but you can’t address it to “Whom It May Concern?”

Instead, try to find out the recruiter’s name and address it to them.

“To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir/madam” is very old-fashioned.

Myth #4: Make it a point to explain how you plan to contact the future employer when they get your resume and cover letter.

Do you know what to say to them? If so, you can attempt… but most companies prefer not to be contacted after they’ve received your resume and letter.

That is why you must ensure that your letter and resume are both excellent.

You shouldn’t have to phone them to send a follow-up email; they should be eager to speak with you!

“I look forward to hearing from you soon,” for example, is quite acceptable.

Myth #5: Only include material directly connected to the position you’re applying for in your letter.

Of course, you don’t want to go too far from the topic, but you do need to spice up your cover letter resume.

When applying for a job in accounting, it’s OK to indicate that you’re not just talented in your field and good with numbers, but also good with people.

Sometimes expressing minor good attributes that you have that you wouldn’t ordinarily believe are relevant to the position is what catches an employer’s notice. So go ahead and mention personal attributes about yourself that you believe will win them over in your letter, even if they are unrelated to the job.