How to Write a Good Cover Letter for a Job
- What is a cover letter?
- What is inside?
- How should the information in a resume be different from the ones in a cover letter?
- How do you start writing?
- How do you write about your education?
- How do you write about work experience?
- How do you write about your related experiences?
- How do you convince through your letter that you are the best candidate for the position?
- Tips on how to write the perfect cover letter
- Common mistakes when writing a cover letter
- Tips on how to revise
- Sample cover letter
- Cover letter sample (Download)
Applying for a job can be quite a tedious affair, especially when there is a long line of competition vying for the same thing as you, to land a job. However, lucky for you, there are many ways of how you can one-up your rivals for that dream job. One of the proven tactics that experts and successful job hunters rely on is a perfect and sound cover letter.
Now, you may think that there is not much that you can achieve with a perfectly crafted cover letter, but you are wrong. Hundreds of job hunters out there found success in their ventures because of a great cover letter. Intrigued? Well, you should be. However, before getting right into the nitty-gritty details of how to write a cover letter for a resume, here is a bit of an overview.
What is a cover letter?
It is a document that is presented with your resume when you apply for a job. It documents additional details with regards to your skills, abilities, and work experience. The document serves as your marketing pitch for the job. Much like how businesses give marketing pitches to potential clients, you market yourself to the employer through your letter. This is the main reason why your cover letter must be A-grade quality.
What is inside?
Most cover letters contain the name and contact details of the applicant. However, this is usually reserved in the heading part along with the contact details of the recipient company. You can still include this in the body, but it is not necessary.
The body of your cover letter should include a short description of the job to prove that you are aware of the position and what it entails. It also shows your employer that you are not someone who just searches about how to write a resume and cover letter for the sake of it, but that you are someone who is serious about what they want to achieve.
You should also include a summary of why you are the right person for the job. This is the most important part of your cover letter. You have to convince the employer that among the hundreds of applications for the job, you are the best choice. You have to lay down all your relevant skills as well as your experience. Make sure you target all the “essential requirements” that the employer is looking for. This will help the employer gauge your skillset beforehand to ease out the entire process. Here, you have to be able to write a pitch or market yourself convincingly. Remember that you are not the only one who wants the job. There are others who want the job as desperate as you do, even more. Hence, you have to boost this part and present yourself the best way possible.
Finally, in the last part, inform your employer of the resume you have attached with your letter and that you are looking forward to hearing from them. This way you are asking your employer to call you without saying it straight out.
How should the information in a resume be different from the ones in a cover letter?
If you really want to know how to write the perfect cover letter, then it is essential for you to know first how your cover letter has to be different from your resume. This is essential in order to make sure that your employer will not stack your application atop the rejected list.
Both your cover letter and resume aim to present your work experience and skills, as well as your professional visage. However, the similarity ends there. Your resume simply provides a list of your work experiences, your achievements, educational background, etc. Your cover letter, on the other hand, explains why you are applying for the job and why you are the best fit. It highlights your greatest achievement and relevant skills. Essentially, your cover letter is your way of “showing off” to the employer.
How do you start writing?
How to start writing a cover letter is truly a puzzling task. However, if you already know what to write in, then the rest will follow. So first, you should make an outline of what you wish to include in the body of your letter, such as skills and work experience. Next, plan out how you want your writing to feel. Make sure that you make your writing as personal as possible without losing the professional tone. This lets the employer know that you are interested enough in the job to warrant an effort to write the letter from you.
Once you have established what you want the body and tone to be, decide on how you are going to open your letter. It’s better if you open your letter in a light but professional tone. Start with directly pointing to how you came to know the job. But before that, you must place an adequate greeting first. Don’t greet as if you are greeting for a holiday. Keep it professional.
When you have planned the introduction and body, deal with closing the letter. Do not sound too assuming but inform the employer that you will be waiting for their call. Of course, all this done in a manner that does not feel imposing or expecting too much.
How do you write about your education?
When you write about your educational achievement, always write the most recent. Write about where you graduated from, what course, and if you are doing any post-graduate studies. There is no need to include all your previous education history. Save that for your resume.
How do you write about your work experience?
When writing about your work experience, always write the most recent. Then, gradually outline the entire scope without dwelling too much on the details. All those details are best reserved for your resume. Instead, highlight your achievements within these experiences.
If you don’t have any work experience, knowing how to write a cover letter with no experience can be challenging, but not impossible. Just highlight your experiences and achievement while training for the job. This is best applicable for fresh graduates or those fresh out of training.
How do you write about your related experiences?
It is all about the experience. If you have experiences that are related to the job required but does not necessarily pertain to a specific skill set or work experience, you can include that as well. Just make sure that the experience is relevant. For instance, you can mention your membership in a great marketing blog when you apply for a marketing position.
How do you convince through your letter that you are the best candidate for the position?
Knowing how to write a good cover letter for a job is pretty much your ticket to success. However, knowing how to convince the employer that you are the best choice is still a plus. You can achieve this by highlighting all the qualities that you have that fits the job. Mention the “essential requirements” and the skillset you own that fits them. Employers will look at these requirements first before they even bother reading through your resume, so make sure to emphasize that in your letter.
Tips on how to write the perfect cover letter
There are so many ways of how to write a professional cover letter. However, here are seven ways that can help you assure further success:
- Know the job. Before you even think of writing the letter, you need to make sure that you know the job you are applying for. Do your research.
- Focus on the job. When you write your cover letter, make sure to focus on the details necessary and relevant to the job. Don’t mention anything about baking when you are applying for an engineering post unless specified.
- Write it yourself. It is better that you draft the document yourself. It gives your cover letter a personal touch. If you are not satisfied with your output, then that is the time you ask for help.
- Correct mistakes. Before sending or giving your letter, make sure that there is no grammar mistake inside. Double check everything.
- Be professional. When you write the letter, write professionally. Do not be overly familiar with the employer as well as use unprofessional language.
- Be brief and concise. No employer is willing to read through a cover letter five pages long. Limit your writing to utmost two pages.
- Never forget to include your contact details. Your contact details are the only way the employer can contact you. Make sure that you do not forget including it in your letter.
Common mistakes when writing a cover letter
If you really want to be successful in writing your cover letter, then you need to avoid anything that can jeopardize that. Here are four of the most common mistakes that you must watch out for:
- Typographical errors and grammar mistakes. Never submit this document with wrong grammar or many typos. This will surely land your entire application to the bin. Before submitting, make sure to read and examine your cover letter thoroughly. There are many free grammar checkers out there, so this shouldn’t be too time-consuming for you.
- Copying your resume. Your cover letter serves as a summary of your resume. It defeats the entire purpose if you just copy and paste your resume. Just add some snippets to peak the employer’s curiosity.
- Too much “I”. Another mistake to avoid is littering your writing with too many “I have”, “I believe”, “I think”, or “I am.” If you can, modify sentences to minimize the “I” in your letter.
- Mentioning another job application. Never mention any other job application you may have done. Mentioning this will send a message to the employer that they are just your second choice and not your priority. Remember, you want to convince them that you want the job, so never mention another job hunt.
Tips on how to revise
While how to write a cover letter for a job application is essential, it is also quite essential to know how to revise this document. Here are three helpful tips that you can follow:
- Know proper grammar and spelling. When revising the letter, make sure that you know how to proofread. If you are not confident about your ability, there is much free software available on the web to help you.
- Modify sentences. Make sure to revise dragging and filler sentences, sentences that repeat points already said. If there is no need for lengthy sentences, then stick to short, concise ones.
- Pick a direction and stick to it. When you go over your letter, you must pick a focus point. Make sure that all paragraphs are connected and pertain an overall concept related to the job. A letter with no direction is just rubbish.
Sample cover letter
Here is a sample cover letter for an administrative assistant position that you can use as a basis for writing your own one:
Dear Mr. Richards,
I read about your job advert for an Administrative Assistant position with Richards and Richards, Co. I wish to express my deepest intent to apply for the said post.
In October 2013, I completed my administrative studies and obtained a Certificate II in Business Administration from XXXXXX University. This afforded me the range of practical capabilities that will prove to be helpful for this role.
While completing my administrative studies, I worked part-time as a Customer Service Assistant for XXXXX for four years. My responsibilities included in-person customer service and assisting with inventory, supply chain, and merchandising. This position gave me the opportunity to work in a fast-paced and professional working environment as well as provide me with key employability skills.
I believe that I meet the requirements you seek
- Worked for four years in the customer service industry in an in-person setting
- Familiar with inventory sales, supply chain, and handling merchandise
- Motivated and needs minimum supervision
I understand that I am only one of the many applicants for this job. I do, however, believe that my skills, experiences, motivation, and commitment will place me at a better angle at fitting better into your work environment.
I have attached with this letter my resume for your perusal. I am open for further discussion with regards my application. Please feel free to contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org or through +XXX XXXX XXXX.
Thank you for your time. I do hope to hear from you.