A good job can better your life. Find out how to write a cover letter that would help you land the job of your dream.
Job hunt is a serious business. Finding a new or a better job may transform your life for better. So, don’t rush it. Take your time to do the write ups. Learn how to write a resume and how to write a cover letter. Then go for it.
What is a cover letter anyways?
It is a thing that couples your CV. Surely you can send just the resume, but many companies make it a requirement to get your cover letter, too. This is a type of official letter. If you send the job application via mail or bring it in person, you put the cover letter on top of your resume. If you email it, you can post the cover letter text into the email text and attach the CV.
This letter is your advertising platform. It is where you promote yourself to the manager. This letter should not retell the resume, but rather complete it. View it as your first personal communication with the employer or the HR executive. It’s like a suit that presents you. First impressions are most lasting, people say. It is true.
Once a person reviews your cover letter, it may either motivate them to check your CV, or to forget about it. Writing a cover letter that works takes time and skill. These 10 tips would guide you along the way and serve as a cover letter sample.
How to write a good cover letter: the 10 tips
- Keep it short
What should be the size of the cover letter? By all means it should not go over 1 page. Do not even attempt to put too much text in it. Do you enjoy reading long ads? Probably no. Cover letter is your advertising appeal and call to action. It has to be short and catchy. Its point is to cause the reader to study your CV or to give you a call.
- Pick the right style
Writing style is important. It could be an official one. It means you use formal language and style to compile it. It should not hold any jokes, funny stories or other similar stuff. Such letters are the best for finance, engineering, bookkeeping and other types of firms. They highlight your professionalism and showcase your understanding of what is proper.
However, if you are applying for a more creative job (designer, writer, musician, etc.), such formalism may become a disadvantage. Again the main aim of the cover letter is to showcase how you fit the position. A creative style letter can contain a story, a joke or some questions. It should hold more of your character and creativity.
Now, there are also diverse ways to format the letter.
You can use bullet points to layout all your strong points; you can use a table to parallel the job description with your knacks.
Or, you could just make paragraphs of the text (only make them brief and easy to read). As you see, this is a sample cover letter created after the bullets’ style.
- Study the job description
A good idea would be to use bits of job description in your cover letter. Read it carefully. Think of how your skills, experience of education match some of the requirements pointed out there. This could help you to produce the most relevant into in the letter.
However, there is one commonly made mistake that appears when writing a cover letter. People tend to copy and paste the description there. See, the employer already knows what’s in the description. Your purpose is not to remind him that, but rather to indicate you being the perfect match for it.
So, what do you do? Write up a list of bullet points on your strongest skills to match the description. What you can also do is to make a small table: 1st column would contain the description part and the second one – your skills to match it.
- Get personal
Avoid using “to whom it may concern” phase in your cover letter. It’s a relict. Today you can easily dig out names and other information on people. Most companies have their fan pages on Facebook or other social media. Take the time to find out who you are going to be contacting.
It is significant, because this is how you show you really care. That is for one. Plus, you imply that you are tech and internet savvy. You obviously did your homework. In many firms they like it when the applicants go online and review the company, its web site or other resources.
Just think about it. It sounds much nicer to call a person by the name or at least to direct your letter to a person in the due position (Mr. Abedayo, senior HR manager, so and so company director, etc.) than to write it To Whom It May Concern. So, make sure to dig out the needed info and use it in your letter.
- Mention a referrer
If someone from that company referred you to the job opening, mention them. This could also be a friend of yours, who is the acquaintance of your possible employer. Tell about them. This should be done within first 1-2 phrases of the letter. This would add you credibility. Of course, this referrer should have a good status in the company.
- Summarize your career
Make a very brief overview of your career and pick only the bits that are most relevant to this job position. All the rest of it the employer can find in your CV. Do not duplicate the content of the resume in an application letter.
- Tell them, why you want them
Employment should be an even trade. You have something to offer, but you also want something in exchange. A good company would always want to deliver value to its workers. Smart people understand they cannot grow by only taking and consuming.
So, now your goal is to utter what you can offer the firm, but also what you want to get from them. What is it that makes you want to work on staff with them? Tell them about their prestige reputation and your dream to be on staff with them. List some other reasons why this job is so important for.
May be it has been your dream from the early years to work for them or in that precise area of proficiency. You maybe you just love some things about the company. Give some valid reasons why you would appreciate this employment.
Finding the right people could be challenging. Any enterprise owners wants to make sure that once they find a great employee, they keep them for good. If you have some strong motivators to work with the company, the chances you going away are minimized.
- Present your value
Now, this may sound a bit like an US approach to business, but it works well, when you learn how to write a cover letter in Nigeria, too. You need to know your own worth. General stuff, such as “I’m cool or I am an able person” does not really work.
See, if you do not know your own qualities and abilities how are they assumed to know you match the job? So, define what you can do and present your value. For example, such things as: I am a great team worker or I can write 5 reports a day is something these people are looking for.
They want no general stuff. And they want the relevant stuff. Some people make a mistake. They think they “boast”, when they list their strong sides and abilities. It’s not true. If you know your worth, you can sell yourself well and highlight all the benefits you have to offer. This is the type of people that gets good jobs.
Embargo the typos. They have no right to be in your cover letter or CV. They make it look very unprofessional. If you do not care enough to create a quality product (your cover letter) for yourself, would you care to deliver quality to the company? I guess, not.
It’s a good idea to get someone proofread these documents for you. You may hire a person to do so. Or, you may just get a bunch of friends to review it and give you a piece of their mind.
- Let them know how and when to keep in touch
Make sure to let the person know, when you are going to give them a call or to come over. And, be sure to show up on time. Sometimes asking them to give you a call would reduce your odds for success. After all, what do you have to lose, if you give them a call? Even if they say “no”, you get a chance to ask “why”.
How to send a cover letter
Now you know how to write a cover letter for a job application. Sending one in the right way is also important. There are three ways to go about the task:
- Email it
This is the fastest one. You may attach your resume to your email. But sending a cover letter as an attachment is a bad idea. See, download or opening it takes few extra seconds. Not everyone is willing to spend them on your letter.
Instead you can just copy and paste it to the email text. This way people would not have the bother of opening it. They get it right in front of their eyes. This boosts the chances of it being read. See, the purpose of the cover letter is to attract their attention and make them review the CV or call you. This is the way it works the best.
- Send via mail
XIt’s the COVER letter. So it should be placed on top of your CV. It should be the first thing the receiver see, when they open that envelop. If you send it in printed version, make sure to use great quality paper and printing device.
You may use light color paper for it to be catchier. If you send a creative style letter, you may use some unusual paper (handmade, scented, decorated).
- Deliver it
You may take your documents with you, when you go to the interview. Or, if the job opening is a very special one, you may deliver them in person. Use a file instead of the envelope to make it more presentable.
Now you know all the ins and outs of how to write a cover letter. This is not a document you write once and for all. It has to be tailored for every job application. However putting together a core is a good idea.
You can just tune it up a bit later.