Wondering how to write a cover letter? Most of the job seekers put in a lot of time and effort into making the perfect resume hoping it would land them their dream job. But a cover letter can help you stand out from other candidates by highlighting how you are a good fit.
According to Monster.com, more than 86% of hiring managers said that cover letters are a valuable asset to evaluate candidates. But what exactly is a cover letter? A cover letter is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information related to your skills and experience. In addition, the letter also provides information that why you are qualified for the job. Read on to get more about cover letter examples and how to write it.
This guide will explain to you in detail how to write a cover letter for professional purposes with all the tips and tricks. In fact, a lot of recruiters outright reject job applications sent without a cover letter. So this document really holds a lot of value and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
According to Jodi Glickman, author of Great on the Job, ‘Not sending a cover letter is a sign of laziness. It’s akin to making spelling and grammar mistakes in your resume. You just can’t do it’. While there may be a lot of contradicting information on how to write a cover letter, use our guide from authentic sources to craft your perfect cover letter.
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
7 Steps on how to write a cover letter
1. Research the company and job
Once you see the initial job posting, take note of the ‘Job Title’, ‘Job Description’ and ‘Company’. Now, research more about the company on their website, try to look up their LinkedIn and other social media profiles as well. It is important to have knowledge about prospective employers before you apply for the job.
Look at the profile of people who are working at those companies and the concerned department. Make sure you understand the company’s mission, vision statement, and why they are hiring for this position.
The next step would be to do more research about the specific job position and the kind of education/skills/certifications required for the same. This will help you in understanding what the company wants and how you can add value to them. Likewise, it would help you in personalizing the cover letter according to their needs and highlighting the skills/certifications specific to this job.
2. Personalize the Letter
Only one in two cover letters get read, according to the author of Knockout CV. So when you begin your cover letter, instead of starting with ‘To whom it may concern’, you may start with the name of the concerned person. Knowing who to address is crucial, so you must be sure about using the right contact info. You can find out about the Name and Job Position of the concerned person either on the job postings (sometimes) or try to find it out using LinkedIn. This could earn you a lot of brownie points and the chances of your cover letter being read increase drastically.
3. Importance of Opening Paragraph
Opening and closing paragraphs are extremely important in Cover Letters. A company gets hundreds or thousands of applications for a single job posting! So knowing how to write a cover letter’s opening paragraph can make or break things for you. Make sure your opening paragraph is strong, interesting, and to the point. The hiring manager will decide on the basis of this entry-level paragraph whether to read further or not. You can check the cover letter sample I shared in this article.
When you have a referral/internal connection in the company, start the opening paragraph by mentioning the source and how you came to know about this post.
Interesting ways on how to write a cover letter’s opening:
- Convey enthusiasm by stating ‘I was thrilled to learn about this position at ‘XYZ Company’ and I strongly believe I could add value to the company’.
- Start directly by saying ‘Before you read any further, let me draw your attention to 3 reasons why I might be a good candidate for this role’. Make them understand why you are a perfect candidate for this job.
- Explain your experience with ‘I’m a Digital Marketer with more than 10 years of experience and I’d love to create and grow with your company’.
- Mention your current job and position in your job. Make them realize how you are a good choice for their job requirement.
4. Keep it short and concise
An effective cover letter should be short and compact. No hiring manager has the time to go through a 1200 words cover letter reading why you’re a good fit. So try to bridge the gap between what the employer wants and what skills/services you can provide in 200-400 words. Your resume states all the necessary past professional details, so try including those details in your cover letter which are missing there.
The body paragraph of an effective cover letter must be short as well. Mention your previous job, track record, relevant skills, and why you are an ideal candidate for the job. Don’t forget there are thousands of cover letters from thousands of job applicants and cover letters waiting before you. Making a short and concise body will be attractive and easy to read.
5. Double-check your cover letter
Edit and format your cover letter in a professional way. An error-free cover letter has better chances of getting selected. On the other hand, one with mistakes can ruin your chances for the job. You can use free sources like Grammarly to make sure that there are no spelling, grammatical, or other common language errors. Especially cover letter introductions are crucial. It not only makes an impression but also shows your soft skills. Additionally, you can also ask for feedback on your cover letter from your friends or family members to make sure it is perfect.
6. Be proactive after submitting the application
Even after submitting your application, don’t just sit passively waiting for someone to contact you. Take a proactive stance and identify the next steps such as connecting with some employees who may refer your application or following up with the company. Following up can increase your chances of being visible and showing that you went the extra mile.
7. Always add a cover letter
Cover letters are usually considered optional when applying for online job boards. But to strengthen your chances, never submit an application without a cover letter. When you are directly emailing the hiring manager, make sure you include the cover letter in the body of the email.
A well-written cover letter is very important in the job market, irrespective of the job types. From opening paragraph to letter closing paragraph, every tiny part is crucial. A basic cover letter is different from a professional one. The professional one shows your organizational skills.
You must do thorough research on potential employers and the company beforehand. You must have a matching resume with your cover letter. Explain your current job title, internship experience, and other skills in the letter body. Your cover letter will be your face to make them realize you are the perfect match for their job post.
As a whole, a perfect cover letter consists of a few major things such as your extensive experience in the relevant field, professional experience, soft skills, and business development skills, personal details.
We hope the steps above have helped you in getting a clear idea of how to write a cover letter. Let us dive deep into an example.
Sample Cover Letter
We have attached a sample of the cover letter here that you can use as a reference to write your own cover letter in both word format and as an image to show you how to format your cover letter. You can also add your contact details (phone and email) as well as the address on the header of the cover letter.
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
Do’s and Don’ts of how to write a cover letter
|Have a strong opening statement that makes it clear why you want the job and why are you a good fit||Try to be funny or humorous, it often leads to cover letter fails|
|Be brief and clear, a hiring manager should be able to read it at a glance||Send a generic cover letter to all the employers|
|Share an accomplishment that shows how you can address the problems faced by employers||Go overboard with flattery|
|Be professional and mature||Submit an application without a cover letter, at any time|
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I write a different cover letter for each job position?
Yes. Every job position and company is unique. So if you are serious about the position and think your experience and skills match the requirement, never submit a generic cover letter. Take time and try to make a custom cover letter that is specific to the needs of the job. Use these steps to write your cover letter.
What should be the word limit of my cover letter?
Your cover letter should ideally be 200-400 words and don’t exceed 700 words or more.
Where can I write my cover letter?
You can write your cover letter in MS-Word and convert it to PDF while sending it. However, there are also several online websites like Zety, Resume Genius, and Live Career which help you build a cover letter online. Additionally, you can also get professional paid help on Freelancer to get someone to write your cover letter.
What is the difference between a resume and cover letter?
Resume: A detailed overview of your work history which includes work experience, skills, education, and other relevant information.
Cover Letter: A brief introduction to who you are, the position you are applying to, and why you’d be a good fit. It should contain 3 paragraphs and should be written in a subjective and friendly tone.
What if the job description doesn’t request a cover letter?
UC Santa Cruz suggests that a cover letter should be included even if it isn’t asked. It is an opportunity to sell yourself and this opportunity shouldn’t be passed.
Writing a cover letter is very crucial for your job application. You should never ever take a cover letter for granted as this could be the tool you can use to distinguish yourself from others. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, we hope this guide helped you to understand how to write a cover letter like an expert. So do you now feel you are ready to apply for your dream job? Write that cover letter today!