Before we go into how to create a cover letter and show you some of our cover letter resources, it’s important to know what a cover letter is and why you need one for your job application.
What is the purpose of a cover letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document that summarises a job seeker’s employment experience, professional qualifications, and personal motivation for applying for a position.
A cover letter’s main aim is to supplement the content of your resume. Your CV emphasises your qualifications and accomplishments, whereas your cover letter elaborates on those accomplishments, highlights your personality, and explains why you’d be a good fit for the organisation.
When you pair your well-written resume with an effective cover letter, your job application will immediately demonstrate to managers and recruiters that you’re both competent and a good fit for the position.
What should you put in your cover letter?
1. Make a list of your contact information (together with the contact information for your employer).
In the heading of your cover letter, write your contact information beneath your name:
- Name (first and last)
- Contact information via email (something professional, usually including your name)
- Number to call
- Postal address (optional)
- Profile link on Linkedin (optional)
- Website or portfolio (optional)
Include the date and the company’s contact information below your contact information, left-aligned, such as:
- First and last name of the person to whom you’re writing, or the department to which you’re writing
- Phone number and address of the company
- Email address of the hiring manager
2. Address your letter to the hiring manager (ideally by their name)
If you have the option, address your cover letter to the reader by their name.
Greetings like “To Whom It May Concern” and “Dear Sir or Madam” are outdated, and it’s now easier than ever to identify the proper person’s name by searching LinkedIn, browsing a company’s website, or asking their human resources department.
If you’re having trouble finding the correct information, here are some cover letter salutation ideas:
You can leave off the recruiter’s title if you’re not sure (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc.). “Dear Jane Smith,” for example, is okay.
Guess who the recruiter is if you can’t figure it out. If you’re looking for a marketing position, for example, address the marketing director by name.
Address your cover letter to the department if you can’t discover anyone’s name. For example, “Dear Marketing Department” is acceptable.
3. Write a concise, targeted beginning paragraph.
Include the following data in the first one or two sentences of your cover letter for an informative, direct introduction:
Occupational title: The advertised position’s title
Name of the company: The name of the company that is recruiting for new employees.
How did you come upon the opening: Whether you found the position on LinkedIn, a job board, or were sent by a friend, you should apply.
Application intent: An enthusiastic statement of your intent to apply for the available position
These four pieces of information demonstrate that you’re a serious candidate who isn’t just sending out a generic cover letter in the hopes of getting a response.
4. Write body paragraphs that are both informative and relevant.
Then, by discussing your relevant experiences, skills, and successes, you may persuade the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the job.
Show the reader that you readily fulfill the demands specified in the job description in one or two paragraphs with bullet points (if you have some particularly noteworthy successes to highlight).
For job searchers who have previous work experience
Your cover letter will be scrutinised by hiring managers for evidence that you are qualified and worthy of consideration for the post. Use your recent work history and accomplishments to demonstrate (with figures) that you have the necessary skills to do the task.
Here are some examples of things to add in your cover letter to demonstrate your worth to a potential employer:
Professional accomplishments: Did you meet or surpass your goals in terms of production, sales, income, profit, customer satisfaction, or any other business goal?
Have you gotten any professional accolades for your work from your boss or coworkers?
Have you received any professional honours for your efforts, such as Employee of the Month?
If you don’t have a lot of work experience, this is a good option.
Writing a cover letter can be challenging if you don’t have any professional experience. Employers, fortunately, are aware that many applicants (especially for entry-level employment) lack experience. As a result, they’ll evaluate your cover letter on other factors, such as:
Academic (and other) accomplishments: Do you have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree? Have you received awards such as cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude, and do you have a GPA above 3.5? Have you received a scholarship? Have you written a thesis?
After-school activities: Have you ever worked part-time, volunteered, or participated in student government, clubs, athletics, theatre, or other activities? Do you have any hobbies or interests that are relevant to your job?
Goal-setting and self-motivation: What are your short- and long-term objectives, and how does the position you’re looking for fit into those objectives?
Just keep in mind that whatever information you provide should be pertinent to the role. For example, unless you were the treasurer of a theatre group, you shouldn’t mention it in your cover letter for an accounting position.
Because the company may also consider the quality of your writing when reviewing your application, it’s even more vital to take your time while writing an entry-level cover letter.
5. Conclude with a short, direct paragraph.
Be polite, confident, and continue to promote yourself as the ideal applicant for the job when finishing your cover letter. It’s critical to compose your final paragraph with care and strategy, so make sure to:
Thank the recruiting manager for taking the time to look over your resume.
Explain why you’d be an excellent hire in a few sentences.
Reiterate your enthusiasm for the job opportunity.
Request that the reader offers you an interview invitation in a kind manner.
6. Sign off (“Sincerely,” followed by your name)
The tone of your writing
Writing extended phrases with too formal terminology is a common cover letter writing mistake. To make your material as readable as feasible, aim for straightforward and easy-to-understand writing unless the job requires it.
Try these tips to improve your writing tone right away:
- Using contractions instead of full words, such as “don’t” instead of “do not”
- Avoiding overused words and phrases such as “dynamic,” “outside the box,” and “synergy”
- Using simpler words instead of more complicated ones, such as “useful” instead of “advantageous”
Are you concerned that your cover letter has a typo or a grammatical error? Professional editors utilise two simple strategies to discover hidden mistakes and produce good edits:
Read your work aloud to compel yourself to think about every word, sentence, paragraph, and punctuation mark. You’ll also notice any difficult-to-read sentences and be able to change them as needed.
Change the typeface: Using a different font requires your brain to deal with something unfamiliar. Changing the typeface on your cover letter will help you spot mistakes that you might otherwise overlook.
Have someone else read your cover letter aloud after you’ve finished reading it. They can tell you whether your letter is clear and well-argued, or if it’s vague and full of cliches. They’ll also pick up on minor grammatical and spelling issues that you may have overlooked.