You have found the perfect opportunity to apply for a job and have updated your resume; however, before submitting it, you must write a cover letter to accompany the request. While it's the last thing you want to do and may seem like a waste of time, writing a short, tailored cover letter for your employer can make the difference between getting the job or not. By emphasizing your skills most relevant to the job and by detailing to your employer how you will be valuable to their team, you can use your letter to help you land the position for which you aspire.
Part 1 of 3: Prepare Your Letter
Step 1. Get a sheet of paper and make two columns
In the left column write “Requirements” and, in the right, “My skills”. Read the job application carefully and familiarize yourself with the requirements for the position. Next, compare the requirements with the skills and experiences included in your CV.
- In the left column, write the requirements and skills required for the position.
- In the right column, write the points of your CV that match the requirements.
- Having POIs that correlate to the position will help you deliver the most important information in your cover letter quickly and effectively.
Step 2. Start your letter with the contact information at the top
This will make it easier for your potential employer to communicate with you and know who you are. Before you start writing your letter, make sure you have the appropriate letterhead.
- Make sure to align your document to the left.
Include the current date. Then add a space and finally your contact information:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Personal website (if you have one)
- LinkedIn profile
Step 3. Include the company information
After adding your information, you must include the name of the employer to whom you will be applying, their title, the name of the company and the address.
- By including the contact information for the company you are applying to, you show that you have taken the time to write a specific letter for that company and that you have investigated the hiring manager in charge of the position.
- Doing a little research will allow you to anticipate most requests that will clearly be generic letters. Also, you will show that you are a dedicated person.
- If you don't know the name of the hiring manager, look it up on the company's website. Visit LinkedIn and even search Twitter. If you can't come up with a specific name, try searching for the head of the department to which you will be submitting your job application. If all of the above fail and you haven't come up with a name, you can address your cover letter to the department's hiring manager. For example: "hiring manager for [department name]."
Step 4. Address your letter to the person you are writing to
When starting your letter, be formal and use the correct title. Do not use the phrase "To Whom It May Concern", as it is an informal, generic greeting and gives the impression that you did not investigate the company.
Again, if you don't know the name of the hiring manager, a simple “hiring manager for (department name)” will do
Part 2 of 3: Write your letter
Step 1. Write a first paragraph that grabs your reader's attention
Employers read a lot of cover letters, and most of the time, the hiring manager will skim through it to decide if it is worth reading all the way or throwing it away. Don't fill your letter with secondary details; treat it like a news article.
- Start with a definite, declarative sentence that lets your reader know that you are excited to apply for a position with the company.
- Be brief and specific with what attracts you to the position. What do you like about the company? Set an example and don't be afraid to be a bit conversational, depending on how casual the company is.
- By writing in a tone similar to that of the company line, you show the manager that not only have you become familiar with the company's work, but that you are also the ideal candidate.
- For example: If you are applying for a job at a company that writes news articles, try to use a tone similar to that used in those articles. Is their tone serious or do they also resort to humor? If you are dealing with a more formal company, such as a large marketing company or financial institution, you should be more authoritative while remaining polite.
Step 2. State where you found the vacancy for the position of your interest
Before applying for a job, do some research and find out if you know anyone at the company. It is always better to have a contact or reference within the company and do not be afraid to mention the name if you have the authorization of the employee.
Even if you don't have a contact at the company, be sure to indicate where you found the application, such as on a job website, company website, newspaper, etc
Step 3. Explain why hiring you will be beneficial to your employer
On the contrary, never tell him how you will benefit. There is a reason the position is vacant: there is a problem that needs to be solved. You are here to solve it.
- Take a look at your list of accomplishments and experiences, and find an example or two that you can talk about. These examples will highlight why you are the perfect candidate for the position.
- For example, if you see that the position requires someone who can lead a team and manage several projects at the same time, check your achievements to identify if you have had any experience that meets that need. If you've led a team before, talk briefly about how your leadership skills increased productivity on multiple projects.
- If you can provide statistics and figures, do so. When describing why hiring will benefit the employer, try to include statistics, such as an increase in income or a reduction in costs while you were at the helm.
Step 4. Talk briefly about your strengths, qualifications, and experience
In your second paragraph, you should reflect your job qualifications for two or three of your skills and experiences to show why you are perfect for the position.
- Please refer to your CV and the skills section in your outline for more details on your qualifications and skills.
- Include brief anecdotes that highlight how you were able to solve problems that the company you are applying to based their requirements on.
- Include the most relevant aspects of your professional life. While recent accomplishments are a good place to start, you may have accomplished something in the past that perfectly matches the requirements. Don't be afraid to go back to the past.
Step 5. Express a side of yourself that is not included in your CV
A hiring manager can read your CV and see how you have performed in previous jobs. However, what you need to do is show him who is the person behind those achievements.
- In a sentence or two, state how the company has impacted you personally. If you are applying for your dream job, this company may have impacted your life in some way.
- Don't get too sentimental and write a short text. However, by showing your human side with a story, you will show that you are more than just facts on a sheet of paper.
Part 3 of 3: Finish Your Letter
Step 1. In one sentence, describe why you are the perfect candidate for the position
Finishing your cover letter the right way is a very important part, as it can help you get an interview.
- When explaining how you can contribute to the company, remember that it is a good idea to put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes. It is about how your contribution will help the company and not how the company will help you.
- Ask yourself what you would look for in a candidate if you were the hiring manager.
Step 2. Invite the hiring manager to contact you
Let your reader know that you would love an opportunity to discuss the position in-depth, and reiterate your contact information.
- You can conclude your face by thanking the hiring manager. End with a sentence like I look forward to your answer as soon as possible.
- Don't just ask the hiring manager to contact you if you are an ideal candidate. Show some self-confidence (without being arrogant) by telling him that you want to talk to him about it.
Step 3. Say goodbye and sign the letter
Parting can seem like an afterthought or become frustrating if you don't know what's appropriate. Please use Sincerely or simply "Best wishes".
- Being too formal could hurt you, as it could sound insincere or the style may not match the rest of your letter.
- By saying something like “You say goodbye” or “Best wishes,” you show respect without sounding like you're writing a romantic letter. On the contrary, something like "Greetings" could be too informal and could seem insolent.
Step 4. Write your name below the farewell
After writing the goodbye, write your full name on the last line and consider including a signature.
- If you have a default signature in your word processor, you can insert it below your name.
- Alternatively, if you wish, you can print your letter and sign it in your own handwriting. However, with this method, you will have to scan your letter to have the file on your computer.
- A signature is not always required.
- Your letter should be clear and direct. The first impression that the employer acquires of you will be through this document.
- Write a three paragraph letter and never go over one page. Hiring managers may skim your letter for relevant information before reading it in full.
- Review the letter and make sure it is formal and does not contain jargon or informal language.
- Include the phone number, email address, and name of a reference person if you have one.
- Alternatively, have someone write a reference letter for you to include when you give your CV to the employer.
- Have one of your friends or family read the letter to identify mistakes.
- Typing the letter on a computer is preferable, as it is considered more formal than a handwritten letter. In addition, it is easier to read, which will give your letter more opportunities to be read.
- Use a professional typeface. Try using Arial or Times New Roman. Avoid funny typefaces, such as Comic Sans, as these will ruin the letter's reputation immediately by showing a lack of professionalism. There are some quirky jobs for which a unique typeface would be appropriate, but this doesn't happen very often. Always choose to be cautious.
- Double check your grammar and spelling for correctness. Use paragraphs and correct punctuation.
- Don't make your assumption that you will get the job clear in your letter. Avoid using terms that imply that you are already working for the company, such as: "When I am hired, I will do the following."
- Your cover letter should not be a repeat of your CV.