A strong cover letter is an essential part of the job application process. While resumes provide an overview of your skills and abilities, cover letters give the hiring manager a chance to gauge your personality. Given their importance, it’s important you learn how to write a cover letter that can help you stand out and get your foot in the door.
Read on as we discuss some cover letter writing tips that can help you write a good cover letter.
Tip #1: Write a Good Introduction
The next thing you need to do is write the introduction. You can start with a simple greeting such as “Hello” followed by the recipient’s name. Address the hiring manager you are applying to. Avoid opening with something like “To whom it may concern”. Personalization goes a long way when it comes to writing cover letters, so a little research will be very beneficial for your application. You can try looking for the recipient’s name and information on the company’s website. It may also be included in the job posting.
Your opening paragraph should outline the purpose of the letter. Make sure you cite the position you are applying for. You can also talk about why you are interested in this particular role and the organization.
Most hiring managers and recruiters will skim through your cover letter and resume. Writing a clear and concise introduction helps you get the point across quickly and efficiently.
Tip #2: Discuss Your Qualifications and Skills
Now that you have the introduction in place, you can move toward discussing your qualifications, skills, and work experience in the body of the letter. Start by providing the reader with an overview of your professional and academic background. Talk about your educational qualifications and work experience.
If you are currently employed, then you can discuss your present role and the responsibilities that come with it in the next paragraph. You can also discuss your skills, achievements, and abilities and use them to highlight why they make you a suitable candidate for the role you’re applying for. You can expand upon your interest in the role and the company at this point, as well.
When you’re talking about your professional experience, avoid listing every job you have held. Instead, you can stick to the most recent positions. You must also use focus keywords when discussing your previous roles, skills, and capabilities. You need to use professional terms that are easy to grasp. For instance, you don’t want to say that you are “Code Guru”. Instead, stick to something professional, such as software application developer, web developer, or database administrator.
Tip #3: Talk About Your Success Stories
You can recount one or two professional success stories in the body of the letter, as well. Describe your role and the impact you made here. Try and discuss this in a quantifiable manner. For instance, if your efforts helped increase the ROI on a project, then you can describe it as follows:
“My efforts in this regard improved the ROI by 24%.”
If you are talking about other aspects that you excel at such as leadership, teamwork, or employee engagement, then you can write something like:
“Upon the culmination of this project, employee engagement levels were shown to increase by 32%.”
It’s important to quantify outcomes where possible as this helps deliver a stronger impact.
Remember, choose the experiences you want to highlight in this section carefully. You must try and choose experiences that are most relevant for the role you are applying for. This will help deliver a higher impact.
Tip #4: Customize the Cover Letter
It’s important that you customize your cover letter to suit the role you are applying for. Avoid using a standard cover letter for different industries and roles. For instance, if you are applying for a banking institution, then your manner of communicating will be inherently different from when you are applying to a design agency. In the case of banks, you can adopt a more formal approach. On the other hand, if you are applying to design agencies, then you will need to be more original and creative in the way you express yourself.
Tip#5: Avoid Being Apologetic
A critical mistake that some job applicants make is mentioning a particular skill and qualification that they may not possess in the cover letter. A cover letter should emphasize your skills and experiences and highlight your strengths. Mentioning what’s missing in your application displays a lack of confidence.
Given how a hiring manager is screening hundreds of applications to look for suitable candidates, highlighting your weaknesses will work against you and will compel the hiring manager to switch to the next application instead. If you believe you do not possess a required skill or qualification, then avoid mentioning it altogether.
Tip #6: Write a Good Conclusion
In the concluding paragraphs, you can reinforce the points you highlighted earlier. This includes:
- The reasons why you are applying for the job
- Why you believe you would be a suitable fit
Make sure your conclusion is brief. You can wrap up by saying that you look forward to a response from the employer discussing the next steps regarding your application.
Once you have concluded the cover letter, you can write a closing line, such as “Sincerely,” followed by your signature and name.
Tip #7: Keep an Eye On the Length
When learning how to write a cover letter, make sure your cover letter isn’t too long. The average length of a cover letter is 3 to 4 paragraphs or 300 to 400 words. Remember, a cover letter is not the same as a resume. A resume provides a detailed outline of your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience.
On the other hand, a cover letter is meant to provide a brief overview of who you are. It is supposed to showcase your personality while discussing your qualifications and motivation behind applying for a job.
Write a Cover Letter That’s Worth Reading
When it comes to job applications, it’s important you don’t underestimate the importance of writing a good cover letter. Make sure you sound engaging and try to highlight your skills, qualifications, and experiences in a manner that is relevant to the role you are applying for.
For extra help on how to write a cover letter and more cover letter writing tips, you can always view some samples online. Good luck!