Do not under value the power of a cover letter. A cover letter might open the doors of an interview if you get it right.
By: Brenna Goyette
Are you struggling to write the perfect cover letter for a job application? You certainly aren't the first person to find it tough. Working out what to include isn't straightforward, as there are so many things to think about.
There's little denying the importance of cover letters. In fact, a study from OfficeTeam found that 86 per cent of executives said that cover letters are valuable when evaluating job candidates. Therefore, getting your cover letter right could be the difference between getting an interview and missing out.
The good news for you is that this guide is here to help you write the perfect cover letter, regardless of the job that you're applying for. We take you through everything you need to know about crafting the perfect cover letter and give you some handy tips to help you stand out from the crowd.
First things first, let's talk about what a cover letter actually is. As the name suggests, it's the letter that you attach to a job application and is sometimes also referred to as a covering letter or application letter.
You should think of a cover letter as an opportunity to expand on the things that you've included in your resume and offer recruiters an insight into your personality, which will help them assess your suitability for the job in question.
Like your resume, it should be professional, concise, and to the point. You should always write a unique cover letter for every job you apply for and make sure it is specific and personalised.
One in two hiring managers considers attaching a personalised cover letter to your resume as the number one tactic to help boost your chances of landing an interview. It stands to reason that a well-written, informative cover letter significantly increases your chances of being recruited.
To help you structure your cover letter, you can break it down into three key sections:
Let's look at these three sections in more detail.
It would be fair to say that the art of letter writing isn't as popular today as it once was, but it's still a vitally important part of the job application process. You should include the following contact details at the top of the letter to get things started:
After your contact details, you then need to list the following:
If you're not sure about how to format a professional letter, check out this handy guide from How Stuff Works.
When you've included your contact details, it's time to get into the content. You should start your cover letter with a strong introduction that announces your intentions and your reason for getting in touch.
Here are some things you should think about when writing your introduction:
Your introduction and expression of interest need to be engaging and concise. It should make the hiring manager want to read on and find out more. Avoid superfluous details and ensure it's relevant to the job you're applying for. You can add further details about your application in the following section.
Now that you've introduced yourself and your intentions, it's time to show the employer that you're the perfect person for the job.
You should keep this information limited to no more than two or three paragraphs and ensure it flows naturally from the information you've included in your resume.
The best cover letters expand on the details of the applicant's resume and offer supporting evidence for claims that you've made about your experience, skills, and education.
When drafting the main body of your cover letter, be sure to include the following:
The main section of your cover letter is an opportunity to show potential employers exactly why you are perfect for the job. Just make sure it's well-structured and flows well into the conclusion, which we’ll look at in more detail now.
Your closing remarks should bring the cover letter to a natural conclusion. Consider re-emphasising the most important points that you've made within the letter, and don't forget to specify exactly what you're hoping to achieve in terms of the next steps. This is where a call to action comes in.
Your call to action shouldn't be pushy or too forward, but it should show that you're confident and excited about the next steps. When writing your call to action, include the following information:
Specify what you hope are the realistic next steps. For instance, you might say that you would be thrilled to hear from the hiring manager with details about the interview process. This is a realistic expectation and shows that you're considering what's next.
When you're happy with your three sections, it's time to sign off professionally and courteously. Go with something like 'Kind Regards' and sign it with your full name. If possible, include your handwritten signature, as this adds to the professionalism of the letter.
Now that you've got a clear idea of the structure and what to include in your cover letter, here are some top tips that will help you craft a letter that is sure to grab the attention of potential employers:
So, there you have it! Everything you need to know about writing the perfect cover letter to accompany your resume when applying for a job.
As you can see, there's an awful lot to think about when drafting your cover letter, so be sure to plan your time accordingly and leave yourself enough time before the deadline, so you don't have to rush your letter.
Remember, it's the perfect opportunity to provide your potential employer with more information about your suitability for the job, so you don't want to mess it up!
Hopefully, this guide will help you prepare a professional cover letter that will boost your chances of getting your dream job.