How to write a cover letter is a concern of many job hunters. Many of you may already know how to do this, but what you perhaps do not realize is the cover letter is the first key to grab that success you want. More often than not, companies only look at your cover letter when you apply for a position. Thus, it’s essential to make it appealing and presentable.
- 1 What is a Cover Letter?
- 2 How to Write a Cover Letter
- 3 Cover Letter Example
- 4 Conclusion
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is like a narrative or a persuasive essay that tells your reader why you deserve a job. If you are applying for a writing job, for example, this is where you narrate how you turned from an ordinary reader to an extraordinary writer. If you are applying for a high-paying writing position, this is where you prove why you deserve to get a six-figure salary per month for writing. (Yes, this is possible!)
It is called a cover letter because it is placed literally as a cover for your CV. It is an overview of your work experience or job history and contains your expertise and skills which are relevant to the job posting. A cover letter is an introduction for your resume or curriculum vitae. It is your way of engaging your employer to consider you for the position they are offering.
Thus, this is not merely informational but also persuasive as you will appeal to your prospective employer. You will need to make it professional yet close to your heart. Hence, you must know how to write one to increase your chances of getting the job that you want.
Main Parts of a Cover Letter
- Heading/Inside Address
- Introductory Paragraph
- Job experience (May include reasons for quitting previous jobs)
- Reasons for applying
- Closing Paragraph
- Closing Salutation and Signature
Remember that while your cover letter must contain all the essential parts, it must also be clean. Imagine being an HR officer and reading a cover letter that has countless ungrammatical structures or misspellings. Hence, if before you start writing, make sure you have proofreading tools handy. There are many such tools out there like Grammarly and ProWritingAid. Such tools will help you avoid silly writing mistakes.
If you think proofreading tools are expensive, there are ways to get around using these for free. In fact, there are 3 ways on how you can use Grammarly Premium for free. You just need to be a bit resourceful. Besides, if you decide to go for other proofreading tools, you can simply uninstall Grammarly.
How to Write a Cover Letter
Generally, a cover letter follows the same template. It has similar parts and portions which you have to know. Writing a personal cover letter is advantageous for only you will know your strength or witness. As such, everything in your cover letter will all be your positive characteristics. Thus, if you haven’t crafted one on your own, here’s how to write a cover letter. Hopefully, by the end of this guide, you may already how to write like a pro.
Make a Professional Header
The first step in creating a good cover letter is to have a header that is complete. It should follow the formal business formatting and must be professional. It includes the following information:
- Phone number or telephone number
- Email address
- Name of the human resource personnel or manager and their professional title
- Company name of your prospective employer
You may also add your professional title (if applicable), your home address, and your professional websites. Just remember that the information you have provided is updated. Make sure you use email providers like Gmail or Yahoo, with your name appearing as the handle.
For formatting, use only the basic font style and not the elegant ones. The name of the HR personnel, if provided, as well as your name, should be in bold. It would be the same with your respective positions.
Use the Proper Salutation
After you have written your heading, the next part of your letter should be the salutation or greetings. This part is where you indicate the recipient or receiver —the hiring manager. It might also be the first thing the recipient would see. Thus, it’s a must to make it more personal yet respectful.
For some, using the terms Sir/Madam is enough. However, you can also indicate his/her name directly like Dear Jenny. Still, you need to be very careful about this. Some might think that it’s disrespectful. The best thing is to stop anything that kills your writing productivity and do your research as a real job hunter should.
Nevertheless, if you still can’t get hold of the name, you can put a general term in place of the name such as:
- Dear Human Resource Team
- Dear Hiring Team
- To Whom It May Concern
Make the Body of Letter Interesting and Appealing
Now that you have your header and salutation, it’s now time to write the body of your letter. Since the cover letter is often only one page, you’ll have to talk directly and straightforwardly. A common silly mistake that writers must avoid is being too wordy. The recommendable number of paragraphs of an effective cover letter is three (3) to four (4). Each item should contain different topics (as mentioned in the Main Parts of a Cover Letter in the first part). Thus, let’s begin to expound on those ideas.
The first paragraph should contain your introduction. It should include some personal information that you think is necessary for the job. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing department, you can say that you have a degree in marketing. Consequently, you should state where you have found the job posting and what makes it interesting. Make sure that it will catch the attention of the hiring manager for this will ensure that your recipient will read your letter entirety.
After you have established your willingness or enthusiasm to the position, you can now lay down your job history. It’s recommendable that you write what’s relevant to the current job you’re applying. If you are applying for a content writing position, you can say how you began as a blogger and how you increased your online success by writing for millennials. Don’t just drop your position without connecting it with the job you are currently applying.
For example, ABC company is looking for a computer programmer. Avoid phrasing your paragraph like this:
I have graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Computer Science at XX University. For ten years, I have been working as a computer programmer in ZXY company.
Read this phrase; see how it doesn’t look exciting and informative to the hiring manager. Thus, elaborate on your job experience and relate it to the needs of the company.
For ten years, I have been working for a mobile application development company. I have been assigned to develop programs for mobile devices, both Android and iOS. There were also instances when I handled pieces of training for our applicants. All in all, I have participated in the development of 5 mobile applications which are well-received by the public.
Based on the two examples, the second one looks more appealing. One, it shows that you have been a loyal employee of the company and on the other, your skills and capabilities.
If you deemed it necessary, you could also add the reason/s why you have left your previous company. But, it’s a big no-no to put a negative sentence as your reason such as low salary, bad management, etc. Just make a neutral statement or something like wanting a new challenge or stepping out of your comfort zone.
This part is where you expound on your interest in the job position. For the third paragraph, you have to state why you have chosen the company or what only you can offer.
We all know that when a company hires people, it’s looking for someone who can fulfill their needs and stay with them for a long time. Thus, you have to convince the hiring manager or the HR team that you’re a perfect fit for the job. You should persuade them that you are interested in working for the company, not for others.
The closing paragraph should reflect the overall impression of your cover letter. Thus, a simple thank you might not be sufficient to sustain your enthusiasm. Instead, indicate that you are excited to meet the hiring manager or that you’re looking forward to the job. However, don’t sound too cocky or needy for this part.
Closing Salutation and signature
To end your letter formally, include a closing salutation and your signature. You can write “Sincerely,” “Best Regards,” or “Regards.” Afterward, write your name and sign it if you will pass a hard copy of your letter and resume.
So far, you already have a guide on how to write a cover letter. Nevertheless, an example would definitely be a greater help. Remember, whatever job you may want to get, you will need a cover letter, so it’s best you are fully aware of how to do it
Cover Letter Example
If you’re still having difficulties about how to write a cover letter, take a look at the sample letter below.
July 23, 2019
12 A Building, Floor 15
Dear Ms. Doe,
My name is John Smith, and I am currently working as a manager of a restaurant. I have been looking for an opportunity to work for your company. As such, I was thrilled to see your job posting for the position of manager. I am positive that I can perform the tasks given to me.
In my current position at XX company, I have been assigned to oversee the overall operation of the restaurant. I was also tasked to provide training or workshops for applicants. During my stay, my team has been the top-performing group. That said, I have professional knowledge of managing employees.
I know that ABC Company is planning to expand its business and build a new establishment. This plan is a perfect match for my interest and job experience. I would love to be part of the team that will develop this new site.
With the above guidelines, you will adequately learn how to write a cover letter. Thus, you won’t need to be wary when you’re submitting your resume. Just take note of the essential tips and suggestions which we provided above. Remember that the purpose of the cover letter is to appeal to your employer. It is to make sure that they will read your CV or resume and consider you for the position. If your cover letter doesn’t seem attractive to you, then it’s time to replace such.
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