When job hunting, the importance of a cover letter cannot be over stated. A well-written cover letter can be the difference between landing an interview or your CV getting lost in a pile of applications.
What is a cover letter? It’s a letter of introduction that highlights your key accomplishments and fit for a job opening. A cover letter adds focus to your resume and gives you the space to truly sell yourself, highlighting why YOU are the perfect candidate for a position.
Step 1: Personalize your letter.
If possible, address the cover letter directly to the hiring manager or recruiter. If this person’s name is not in the job listing, take the extra effort to call or email the company and find out – this extra effort shows initiative. Remember, recruiters often receive large numbers of applications, and you want to do everything possible to make yours stand out.
Step 2: Preparation and Opening Paragraphs:
Your opening paragraph should state the job you are applying for and tell the employer why you are specifically interested in their company.
Before starting to write your cover letter, take down notes on the following:
- Analyze the job description by identifying important skills listed, years of work experience and education level required.
- Review your experience and skills as they compare with the job description.
- Make sure you can talk with passion about the employer. You can visit the employer’s website to learn more about them and even select one member whom you admire or who has contributed significantly to the company in a way that is meaningful to you.
Step 3: Summarize your strengths and how they would be an advantage to the organization.
The next paragraph could be used to highlight a career achievement or two of particular relevance to the job.
Step 4: Closing paragraph
The last paragraph should bring the letter to a polite close. For example,
“I hope my application receives your most favourable consideration. I look forward to your reply and opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss how I could contribute to your team.
(name and surname)
Additional Tips for Writing the Perfect Cover Letter.
Step 1: Keep it short.
- Less is more when it comes to a cover letter. You should have at most, three paragraphs.
- All your information including address, salutations and closing must be one A4 page.
Step 2: Proof Read before applying.
It is important for you to check the letter for mistakes. Ask a friend or family member to proofread the letter before you email or post it.
Step 3: Use simple language and the same font and style as your resume.
The experts recommend using:
- A font that is easy to read such as 11 point Arial or 12 point Times New Roman
- 5-line spacing
- A4 white paper for hard copies of your cover letter