Getting a job isn’t easy right from the stressful procedure of searching for job vacancies, selection of job vacancies that fit your specification, the perfection of your resume, and it doesn’t stop there because without a cover letter the whole process is not complete. So, your cover letter is the final link between you submitting your application and calling it a day.
Writing a cover letter for your resume might look easy but trust me when I tell you it is not, your cover letter is as important as your resume, so you have to be very careful when going about it. You can’t just decide on coming up with any type of cover letter because your cover letter needs to be outstanding, but how do you make it exceptional? In the next few minutes, our guide will show you how to come up with an exceptional cover letter for your resume.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter can be said to be a document with a single page that is used for the introduction of the job seeker’s work experience, personal motives for applying and professional skills as well. The sole reason or the primary purpose of a cover letter is to give a proper introduction about yourself, a short summary of your professional experience. An ideal cover letter should contain a minimum of 250words and a maximum of 400words.
When writing your cover letter, you must take your time to come up with a good cover letter that will impress the recruiter or the hiring manager (HR). A good cover letter will attract the recruiter to gain more interest in going through your resume, but a bad cover letter will immediately land your resume in the trash bin. It is very important that your cover letter is attractive, that will help your resume to be considered for review.
We would like you to understand that a cover letter does not replace your resume; rather, your cover letter is a one-page summary document that serves as a supplement to your resume. This simply means that you don’t necessarily have to repeat content which you have written inside your resume on your cover letter.
Preparing a cover letter can be difficult, especially given the fact that you’re not a certified or a professional writer. However, there are guidelines which you can follow to produce a remarkable cover letter. Here are some important things to note before writing your cover letter
The introduction should be written to gain the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager to the body of the letter and to explain why you need the job.
A minimum of 2 paragraphs and maximum of 3 is enough for you to briefly explain your professional working experience, educational qualification, professional skills (hard and soft skills), and satisfaction that comes with the job.
This part can also be referred to as the ‘call to action’. It includes listing out your quality that makes you a unique candidate and reminding or asking the recruiter to contact you.
The basis includes:
- The header (contact information)
- Salutation or greeting of the recruiter
The opening paragraph (briefly list some of your achievement)
- Second paragraph (what makes you the standout applicant for the job)
- Third paragraph (why the company should consider you)
- Closing salutation
How to write a professional cover letter?
There are a series of steps that are involved in coming up with a professional-looking cover letter, and these steps help to answer significant questions that may arise while writing or before commencing writing on your cover letter.
Step 1 : Header
Similar to your resume, it is essential and professional that you start your cover letter by inputting the contact details at the top of your cover letter. The information includes
- Name in full
- Phone number
- Email address
- Current date
- Name of the recruiter or hiring manager
- Name of the company
- Mailing address (optional)
- Social media profile (optional)
- Personal webpage; If you have a webpage, you can decide to provide a link to your webpage, you can provide the recruiter or hiring manager with more information about your expertise.
Things you shouldn’t include in your cover letter header are
- Your address: this detail is already in your resume, so there is no need of including it in your cover letter.
- Unprofessional email address.
Step 2 : Salutation of the hiring manager
Your salutation needs to be carefully selected because that will leave a lasting impression on the recruiter mind and at the same time, the way you address the recruiter will speak volume about the kind of personality you possess. It sounds very insincere and rude to address the cover letter as ‘Dear Sir or Madam.’
Here are some ways to address the hiring manager if you are not sure of their names or titles.
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear (name of department) hiring manager
- Dear (department name) team.
Step 3 : Write a catchy introduction
Recruiters are faced with thousands of applications, they have the job of reading, or through each cover letter word for word, you have to catch their attention right from the start and not bore them with some clumsily written introduction.
Your introduction should contain the job position, company’s name and intention for the submission of your application. You can make use of the hints given below
- Express your love for the company
- Highlight your past awards and achievements
- Express how motivated you’re to work.
Make sure all of this are very short and straight forward, you don’t want to overdo it.
Step 4 : Explain why you’re the best fit for the job
This is the section or part that needs you to explain or talk about your professional skills and try to convince the recruiter or the hiring manager by showing him why you’re better than other applicants. Before going ahead trying to convince the HR, we advise you to take your time to understand the job requirements for the role or vacancy you are seeking to occupy.
When writing out this section, you have to show courage, honesty and don’t include information that is not relevant. If you happen to apply for a job for the first time without having professional working experience, then you can use this section to talk about your educational qualification, academic awards earned and personal goals. Remember that whatever information you’re providing must be relevant to the job specification.
Step 5 : Close your cover letter with a call to action
This is where you mention things that you haven’t stated yet but need to be mentioned, such as information that can help the hiring manager to come to a final decision. After providing the information, you proceed to show appreciation and thank the hiring manager for their time.
You conclude your cover letter with a call to action by telling the hiring manager that you will be glad if you can receive an invitation for an interview.
Step 6 : Closing salutation
With your cover letter almost ready, simply conclude it by saying your goodbye, which can be done using the following format
- Best regards,
- Thank you,
With that, your cover letter is ready to earn you an interview.