How to write a cover letter is a question many job seekers have had, and it still gets asked often today.
When applying for a job, a cover letter is your first chance to stand out from the rest of the applicants.
So how do you write a good one? And how do you even know what makes a good cover letter? Let’s dive into this topic together and learn how to write a good cover letter.
Even though cover letters are often overlooked as a tool to help land you that job, they are an essential part of your job application strategy.
You’ll learn how to write a cover letter that helps you stand out from the crowd, even when competing against hundreds of other job applicants.
Writing cover letters is one of the toughest parts of the job search process. It’s hard enough to write a good resume or cover letter when you know you are interviewing for a job. It is even harder when you are just applying to jobs and do not have an interview scheduled. The good news is that there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself, such as writing the first draft of your cover letter while you are in the flow of the job search process. You may find that you enjoy the cover letter writing experience.
What are cover letters?
Cover letters are a way of presenting yourself, your skills, and your experience. While they are often forgotten or ignored, a well-written cover letter can set you apart from the rest of the crowd.
A cover letter is a short letter that accompanies an application, resume, or CV.
It’s usually attached to the document it supports, such as an email, cover sheet, or PDF.
They should be tailored to the job you are applying for and reflect your skills, experience, and qualifications.
A cover letter is an excellent way to make a lasting impression on hiring managers and recruiters.
How to Write a good cover letter
Your cover letter is a chance to let the hiring manager know who you are, why you’d be a good fit for the company, and why they should give you a second look.
A well-written cover letter can boost your chances of getting a callback by over 50 percent.
While there are many things you can do to make your cover letter stand out from the crowd, here are a few tips to get started:
Use an eye-catching headline.
While the subject line is the first thing hiring manager sees when they receive your email, your headline is the first thing they see when they click through to your cover letter.
Keep it short.
The average length of a cover letter is about two pages, so make sure your headline doesn’t exceed a single page.
Write in the third person.
Writing in the third person can add a sense of authority to your cover letter and help the reader feel more comfortable.
Write in the past tense.
Instead of writing about yourself in the present tense, use the past tense.
Write in the first person.
When writing about your experiences in a cover letter, use the first-person pronouns I, me, my, and mine.
Don’t forget to include a professional photo.
This is an easy one but an important one.
Include a professional headshot or at least a portrait.
Tips for Writing a great cover letter
The purpose of a cover letter is to summarize your qualifications for the position. It should be brief and concise and highlight what makes you a good fit for the role.
- Keep it short. Most employers receive hundreds of applications and cover letters each week. If yours is one of the few to read yours, ensure it’s worth it. Here are some tips for writing a great cover letter:
- Write the letter from the employer’s perspective. If you were hiring someone, how would you describe them? What would you look for in a candidate? What would you want to know before making an offer?
- Don’t focus on selling yourself. Your cover letter should demonstrate your interest in the company and the job, not sell you.
- Make sure it’s grammatically correct. Hiring managers and recruiters are human, so they’ll forgive spelling and grammar mistakes. But they don’t appreciate sloppy writing, which could cost you the job.
What not to include in a cover letter
A good cover letter should give the reader a glimpse into the applicant’s personality.
- It should be well-written and proofread.
- It should be clear and concise.
- It should be interesting and engaging.
- It should be relevant to the job posting.
- It should be written professionally.
- It should show how you’re passionate about the job.
- It should have a good closing.
- It should be tailored to the position being applied for.
- How do you know if your cover letter is effective? Here are a few ways to assess its effectiveness:
- Read the cover letter again.
- Do a quick scan of the body of the email.
- Ask a friend or colleague to read your cover letter.
- Ask a friend or colleague familiar with the job to read your cover letter.
- Ask your HR department to read your cover letter.
- Check if the hiring manager is impressed.
What are some common mistakes people make when writing a cover letter?
- Lacking personality.
- Being unclear and vague.
- Focusing on the wrong things.
- Too generic.
- Not written professionally.
- Having a poor ending.
- Too long.
- Too short.
Frequently asked questions about Writing Cover Letters.
Q: What are some of the things to keep in mind when writing a cover letter?
A: First, you should consider what you want to say. Is it just an introductory paragraph, or will you write a full page? Ensure you do not use filler words like ‘and’, ‘the’, or ‘that’. Also, highlight why you think you would be good for the job.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone who needs help with their resume?
A: Use a resume’s basic components but then tailor it to your particular situation. Be creative and write it to fit you and the job description.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: The last point I want to stress is being yourself. Don’t try to copy something from another person’s resume; it will never work.
Top Myths about Writing Cover Letters
- Cover letters should be no more than one page.
- No one will read your cover letter.
- Your cover letter is useless.
- Don’t send a cover letter with your resume.
In short, a cover letter is a brief introduction that details why you’re applying for the job, your qualifications, and how you plan to fit into the company.
Tailoring your cover letter to the specific company and position you’re applying for is important. For example, if you’re applying for a job that requires a degree, you might include the fact that you graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English.
To create a compelling cover letter, start by describing yourself. Then tell the kind of role the company is looking for. Finally, mention how you’ll fit into the company and what you plan to bring.
Your cover letter should be no more than two pages long. You can use the same format for every job application.
You can proofread it and email it to employers when you’re finished. This will make them realize that you’re serious about the job.