A cover letter is a one-page letter that you include with your resume when applying for a job. It is meant to help you introduce yourself to the hiring personnel.
Writing a good cover letter is important as it will determine whether you’ll be asked to participate in the next stage of the job application process (i.e. the online interview). If your cover letter is not enticing, then your resume may be overlooked as well.
A good cover letter should contain the following:
- How your experience meets the job requirements
- How your skills meet the job requirements
- Why you want to work for the organization
What You Should Know Before Writing a Cover Letter
There are a few important things you need to know before writing your first cover letter.
- Keep it short. Your first cover letter should never exceed one page.
- Think unique. Each cover letter you write should be unique to the job your applying for.
- Consider the industry. The template you use may vary depending on the industry your applying to (i.e. corporate vs non-profit).
What You Should Do Before Writing a Cover Letter
Before you start writing your first cover letter, you need to do some research. The main things you should research include:
- The person to whom your cover letter should be addressed. Most job listings will include the name of the contact person. If not, check the company’s website. If you cannot determine the name of the person, you may simply state “To whom it may concern,” but it is always better when you can address the actual person who will be reading your letter.
- The job and what it involves. Again, most job listings will include a list of qualifications as well as job requirements.
- The company including its mission and vision. You’ll find these details on the company’s website. Check out the “About” section as well as any social media platforms.
How To Write a Good Cover Letter
Use a Professional Header
The first thing you’ll want to include on your first cover letter is your header. Remember, this header should be professional and include your full name, phone number, email address, and current city. You may also want to include the employer’s details such as the company’s name and the position you’re applying to.
The email address you use should also be professional. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com.
Address the Addressee by Name
If possible, try to find the name of the hiring manager. This demonstrates your interest and helps your cover letter look unique and specific to the job, as opposed to a simple form letter.
If you are unable to find the name of the hiring manager, you can still politely address him or her. Some greetings you can use include:
- To Whom it May Concern
- Dear (Company Name) Team
- Dear Hiring Manager
Self-Introduction and Achievements
This is one of the most important parts of a cover letter. It determines whether the manager will read on or not. In this first paragraph, clearly state why you are writing, where you found the job listing, and the position you are applying for.
This is also your first opportunity to introduce yourself. It’s basically your 10 second pitch. Let employers know who you are, where you’re coming from, and any past or recent achievements, as well as what you’re looking to achieve in the future.
Relate Your Experience and Skills
In the second paragraph, discuss your professional experiences and the skills you possess. Describe how these skills are relevant to the job you are applying for and how the company will benefit from your joining the team. (This is one of the reasons why you need to research the company ahead of time so you can concisely relate how and why you’d be a great fit.)
Since a cover letter is meant to be short, this part should be brief and precise. Be honest about your skill set. Company’s want employees who can grow with them, so if there is a skill your lacking, consider how this is actually an asset.
Explain Why You Want to Work for the Company
Companies are not just looking for people who have the right skills for the job, they also want people who genuinely share the company’s vision. In the third paragraph of your cover letter, let the hiring manager know why you want to work for them as opposed to any other company in the same line of business.
Find out about any current or upcoming projects the company is working on and explain what you find interesting about those projects. You can also briefly explain how you can be an asset in a particular project.
This should be a very brief paragraph that lets the hiring manager know you are looking forward to meeting with them for further discussion. You may want to include your availability for phone or in-person interviews.
When closing your first cover letter, keep it professional and friendly. Some of the formal closing remarks you can use include:
- Best regards
- Kind regards
A cover letter is an important part of the job application process. Using the tips above will help you write a cover letter that impresses hiring managers. If you need some further help, check out these sample cover letters written for various industries.
About Nicole Cowart: Nicole is a professional writer at essayontime.com.au/