How To Write A Perfect Cover Letter - Custom Scholars

How To Write A Perfect Cover Letter

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a one-page document that consists of three to four paragraphs that is submitted to an employer by job applicants. It explains their interest in a job and their fitness for the role. You can submit a cover letter along with your resume or CV.

The role of a cover page is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. A cover letter highlights your skills, experience, and achievements concerning an employment opportunity. Unlike your resume, a cover page gives you an opportunity to talk more about your professional career and show why you are the perfect fit for the job.

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A well-written cover letter that impresses your employer will set you apart from other applicants raising your chances of getting the job. You should conduct in-depth research on the company before writing a cover letter to avoid writing a generic cover letter. With the information, you can relate your skills and the job when writing your cover letter.

What to consider before writing a cover letter.

 

things to take into account when writing a cover letter

Here are some of the things to consider before you start writing your cover letter.

  • Think about your skills and experience and how you would like to relate them to an employer. What skills, talents, or accomplishments would you like the company to know about you?
  • Think about where you learned about the job opportunity. If you heard about the job from an advert or a job board, you can note down where and when you saw it. You can also list any specific instructions given in the job description. If you heard about the job from personal contact, jot down the person’s name and title.
  • Think about the company and what drew you to it. Do you admire the company’s brand or culture? Are the reviews of the company negative or positive? Do some research about the company to determine whether you agree with its mission statement and vision.
  • Think about the person you are writing to. If you are addressing the cover letter to a specific person, ensure you address them by name and title. If you do not know the person you are addressing the letter to, you can consider addressing the cover letter to “Dear hiring manager” or “Dear human resource manager”. Read on to get other titles you can use to refer to a hiring manager if you don’t know their name.

With the above information, you can now start writing your cover letter.

What is the structure of a cover letter?

 

structure of a cover letter consists of;Introduction,Body and Conclusion.

Introduction

  • Personal information.
  • The positions you are applying for.
  • Where you are applying to.
  • Why you are applying

Body

  • Story behind your achievements.
  • Be as factual as possible.
  • Show off your achievements using metrics.

Conclusion.

  • Mention your future plans.
  • Thank the reader and conclude.

Steps to follow when writing a cover letter

 

Guidelines for creating a cover letter

Now that we have got the basic structure of a cover letter, let us discuss on the most important steps to follow when writing a cover letter. If you all the steps discussed on this section in your cover letter, you can be sure to submit a cover letter that will get you hired.

  1. Pick the right cover letter template.

A good cover letter must give the right first impression. The best way to give a good impression is by writing a well-formatted, visual template cover letter.

  1. Start with a header.

When writing a cover letter, it is important to start with a contact information section.  In this section, include all the important information which includes:

  • Full name.
  • Phone number.
  • Email
  • Date
  • Name of the hiring manager/ their professional title.
  • Name of the company you are applying to.

In some cases, the following information can also be added to this section.

  • Social media profiles. It is important to include any type of profile that is important to your field. Social profiles are on websites such as LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), etc.
  • Personal website. In case you have a personal website that can add value to your application, it is important to mention it. For example, if you are a professional writer and have a blog, you can mention it on your application.

The following information should not be mentioned on your header.

  • Your full address.
  • Unprofessional email. Before sharing any email address with a potential employer, ensure it is presentable. Most employers will not take you seriously if your email address sounds like a joke. The email address should stick to the “first name”+ “last name” @ email provider.com format.
  1. Address the reader.

After listing your contact information properly, you can now start writing the cover letter contents starting with the greetings (the salutation). This might be the first thing the hiring manager sees and this makes it one of the most important parts of a cover letter. The cover letter should be addressed to the hiring manager. To make your greetings catch their attention, you should mention their name.

Avoid using the overly popular “Dear Sir or Madam”. You have to show your future employer that you did your research and that you are really passionate about working with their team. Having the manager’s name on the greeting of your letter makes the manager feel like the letter was tailored specifically for them.

How do you find out the hiring manager’s name?

Do some research! You can look into the job description to see if the recruiter’s name was left there or you can go to the company’s LinkedIn page.  There you can find recruiters responsible for uploading job offers.

Who do you address in a cover letter if no hiring manager’s name is provided?

If you can’t find the name of the hiring manager by any means, you can opt for Dear Hiring Manager. You should avoid starting your cover letter with “To whom it may concern”. The following are ways you can begin your cover letter:

  • Dear hiring manager.
  • Dear (department) team.
  • Dear (department) hiring manager.
  • Dear (company name) team.
  1. Show your enthusiasm in the opening.

Recruiters get hundreds and sometimes even thousands of job applications and there is no way they can manage to read all those applications to the end. That’s why you are supposed to catch their attention with your first paragraph

The first few sentences at the beginning of your cover letter will determine whether the hiring manager reads your cover letter to the end. If your cover letter is not read to the end, the chances of getting the job are close to zero. You have to make your cover letter introduction as attractive and interesting as possible to hold the reader’s attention.

There are different effective strategies you can use when writing your cover letter opening. You should highlight your achievements and show how well you can solve the employer’s needs. You can also base your introduction on passion. By including some of your achievements from your previous work, you will be a step ahead of other applicants with similar qualifications. The achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position of interest.

  1. Explain why you are the perfect fit.

This follows the introduction and should be the first paragraph of the body of your cover letter. Here you show off your skills and experience to convince the hiring manager that you are the perfect fit for the job as compared to other applicants.

Before you start writing the body of your cover letter, you need to understand the most important requirements for the role. Get to understand the most critical responsibilities. Once you fully understand this, it’s time to discuss how you can fulfill these requirements with the skills and experience you possess.

  1. Show your motivation to join the company.

Employers employ new employees as they have needs that they need someone to satisfy. In case they are willing to employ you, they do so because they think you can satisfy their needs. On top of this, they want you to enjoy working with them. If you are okay working with them, they know there are chances that you will stay with them for a longer period.

In the third paragraph of your cover letter, you need to show the hiring manager why you want to work with the company doing that job and not any other company. Explain to them about your passion and enthusiasm as they show how ready you are to start working with them. Avoid writing a general cover letter as generic never wins. Tailored and targeted does. The following tips will guide you in writing a tailored cover letter.

  • Begin with a company’s facts such as an upcoming event.
  • Explain why you find it interesting.
  • Explain how your experience and knowledge will let you succeed in the project.

Recruiters do not want to see generic cover letters but they want cover letters that were written with their specific requirements in mind. They want to know that you understand the roles and responsibilities from their job description.

  1. Wrap up with a call to action.

It’s time to finish up your cover letter and write the conclusion. Here you should:

  • Wrap up any points you couldn’t in the previous paragraphs. Mention any other additional information you feel you should have mentioned that can help the hiring manager in making their decision.
  • Thank the hiring manager for their time. Being polite does not hurt but on the other hand, you should not sound too needy.
  • Close with a promise. Tell the hiring manager that you are looking forward to meeting them in person and discussing how your experience and knowledge can help your future employer in fulfilling their goals.
  • Finish the cover letter with a call to action.  You should finish your cover letter with a call to action. You can ask the hiring manager to take some sort of action.

You should avoid the following mistakes when writing a cover letter.

  • Coming off needy. You should not focus on how much you need the job but on what you have to offer and how beneficial you will be to the company.
  • Repeating this phrase. “Thank you for your consideration and your time”.
  1. Stay formal in the closing salutation.

Once you are done with the body and the concluding paragraph, it’s time to write down a formal “goodbye” and you are good to go. You can write “Sincerely” and follow it with your full name. Adding a handwritten signature is optional but it is recommended when writing formal cover letters. You can also use one of the following cover letter conclusions.

  • Best regards,
  • Kind regards,
  • Sincerely,
  • Thank you,
  • With best regards.

You can still consider the following conclusions if you are not okay with the ones stated above.

  • Thank you for your consideration,
  • Regards,
  • Sincerely yours,
  • Yours truly,
  • Respectfully yours.

You are done now! Your cover letter is almost ready for submission but there is one final step. Proofread and edit your cover letter to ensure it is error-free. You can proofread it with software like Grammarly or get a friend to review it for you.

  1. Add a postscript.

All the above sections are important when writing a cover letter but there is one special trick that you can use. The postscript. The postscript “P.S.” is very important as it acts as a magnet for the hiring manager’s eyes.

You can use it in your cover letter to tell the hiring manager about something impressive about your career even if it is not strictly related to the job opening and inform them that you would be willing to provide more details on the same if they find it interesting.

Please note that a great cover letter matches your resume and this will give you an advantage over other candidates.

In conclusion.

When writing a cover letter, have the following points in mind.

  • Make sure the contact information used is correct.
  • Personalize the cover letter and address the hiring manager directly.
  • Include the accomplishments you are more proud of in the body of your cover letter.
  • Describe your experience and professional success to show how you fit in the advertised position.
  • Close your cover letter with a call to action and sentiment.

Tips For An Effective Cover Letter

By following these tips when writing a cover letter, you can be sure to stand out from other applicants applying for the same position.

 

Guidelines For A Successful Cover Letter

  1. Keep the cover letter short and sweet. Although there are always exceptions to the rule, it is important to note that you are not supposed to go over a page for resumes and cover letters. It should not be longer by more than a page as stated in the instructions.
  2. Never apologize if you are missing any experience. In a case where you do not meet all the job requirements, it is very tempting to use words like, “despite my limited experience…” or “while I may not have direct experience…” Why do you apologize? You should emphasize your strengths and transferable skills instead of concentrating on your weakness.
  3. Use the right tone. You have to balance between being excessively formal in your writing as this can be translated as stiff or insincere and being too conversational. Let your personality shine through but you should always remember that your cover letter is not supposed to sound like a text or an old friend.
  4. Consider writing in the company’s voice. A cover letter is one of the things you can use to show that you understand the culture and the environment of a company or an industry. To get such information, you need to spend some time going through the company’s website or social media. Here you get to understand the company’s tone, language, and culture.
  5. Go easy on enthusiasm. Avoid painting a picture of someone who is absolutely thrilled about the opportunity in the mind of the reader. Although you have to show personality, creativity, and excitement, you also have to keep the level of enthusiasm for the opportunity genuine and believable.
  6. Customize your header based on your application format. In case are writing a cover letter for an online job application, you may not need to include your address or other contact information. This is because you might have already typed the information in other areas of the application form. If you attach your cover letter as an attachment, you give it a similar heading to your resume.
  7. Avoid generic references to your abilities. If it is possible, only tell stories that show how your skills can help in problem-solving activities or tangible business results you have worked on in your career. Any candidate can say they have a certain skill in their application and that’s why you need to show an example of your skills in action to be ahead of other applicants.
  8. Keep it short and to the point. Unless it is stated in the job description, there is no required length for a cover letter. When writing a cover letter, focus on the most important details of the job. You can read the job description to identify the opportunities to show your qualifications as per the requirements of the company.
  9. Proofread before you submit. Never submit any written document before proofreading it. Before you submit your cover letter, check it for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. You can request a friend or a relative to proofread it for you or you can read it aloud. Reading aloud helps you identify awkward phrasing or too-long sentences.

Applications that require a cover letter give you a valuable opportunity to demonstrate your capabilities and authentic personality. Take advantage of the cover letter and show your most significant strengths to the hiring manager. Cover letters matter so much in a job application and in most cases they contribute more to whether you get a job or not. Thus, you should always do your best to ensure you submit a winning cover letter.

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