It’s no secret that writing an attention-grabbing cover letter can help you get an interview, which in turn can lead to that incredible job you’ve been dreaming of. But with the current job market being as competitive as it is, you need to make sure your cover letter stands out and reflects who you are and what you have to offer in the best possible way. So here are ten tips that will help you write a good cover letter.

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a one- or two-page document that accompanies your resume when you are applying for jobs. The purpose of a cover letter is to give employers an impression of you as a person, show how your qualifications align with their requirements and convince them that you want to work for them. There is no single approach to a cover letter. Your personality and experience should shine through as you sell yourself and demonstrate how your skills will benefit the company.

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Importance of a Cover Letter

The role of a cover letter has increased over the years. The cover letter is no longer just a basic piece of paper to introduce you to the employer. Today, it’s considered as important as your resume, sometimes even more important. It’s your first chance to show a hiring manager that you’re perfect for the job and also to highlight some things about yourself that don’t necessarily appear on your resume but are relevant for their company.

What to Include in the Cover Letter?

  • Do your research first: To write a strong cover letter, research the company and the specific job you are applying for and tailor the letter to the position and company culture. 
  • Focus it on the future: Focus on your goals and transferable skills. Consider using the letter to explain a career shift or sell your skills, especially if you're making a pivot due to the pandemic. 
  • Open Strong: Start the letter with a strong opening sentence that highlights your excitement for the job and relevant skills, and avoid humor and platitudes. Consider mentioning any personal connections to the company and addressing the letter to a specific person if possible.
  • Emphasize your personal value: Use your cover letter to show how you can help the company solve its problems, highlighting relevant experiences and skills. Mention the pandemic and how you have adapted and learned quickly. Provide specific examples to demonstrate your abilities.
  • Convey enthusiasm: Convey enthusiasm and make it clear why you want the job. Hiring managers often choose candidates who seem genuinely excited about the position and the company. Avoid applying if you're not genuinely interested in the role.
  • Watch the tone: Avoid sounding desperate or using excessive flattery in your cover letter. Be authentic and professional and try to use language that the hiring manager would use with a customer. It can be helpful to have someone review a draft of your letter to ensure the tone is appropriate.
  • Keep it short: Keep your cover letter brief and to the point. Aim for a length that can be easily read at a glance. Have someone review your letter and help you cut unnecessary content.
  • Get feedback: Ask a few people to review your cover letter and be specific about the feedback you want. In particular, ask if the main point is clear and what's wrong with the letter. Other people may be able to identify issues with tone, such as desperation, overselling, or underselling.

When You Can’t Submit a Cover Letter: If a company's application system doesn't allow for a cover letter, use the provided format to demonstrate your qualifications and enthusiasm. If possible, consider sending a brief follow-up email highlighting key points about your application.

Tips to Write a Cover Letter 

Some handy tips to keep in mind while drafting a cover letter are mentioned below: 

  • Modify your cover letter for each specific position you apply for. If applying speculatively, consider using a more formal salutation and closing. 
  • If you know someone at the company, you may ask for their recommendation and consider name-dropping with their permission. 
  • Keep your language concise and avoid unnecessary words like 'very' and 'that.'

Tips for Writing Cover Letter for a Fresher

As a fresher, it is important to showcase your best qualities and experiences. A cover letter enables you to do so.

Here are a few cover letter tips that will help you get the job:

Address Your Cover Letter to the Hiring Manager

Always research the company so you can find out who will be reading your letter and address it directly to them by name. This shows that you have taken the time and effort to personalize it rather than sending out a generic template.

Highlight Relevant Skills and Experience

Many job seekers without professional experience have difficulty writing their résumés because they don’t know how to emphasize their skills and experience from college. Although, the skills you’ll need to succeed in this job are a blend of experience, potential and fresh ideas. Since you don’t have experience in the field, it’s essential that you take the time to explain what makes you qualified for the position. Leverage your classroom experience and any relevant work experience while connecting your skills to those needed in the job description.

Length Matters

Don’t write pages and pages about yourself or your skills. The key here is being concise – mention only those things which are relevant to the position you're seeking. Keep everything short, sweet and to the point – any longer and your reader will get bored.

Use Simple Language

Use simple language in your cover letter. Try to avoid any jargon or complicated words as they will definitely bore your reader and take away from you your chances of getting selected for the job. Remember, your goal is to get selected for the interview.

Customize Each Cover Letter to the Job Description

A simple copy paste is not going to get you the job and it makes you look like a lazy candidate. Make sure that you customize your cover letter based on the job. The cover letter should highlight the skills that make you right for the job that you are applying for.

Professional Email Signature

Write a professional email signature with contact information to help recruiters easily get in touch with you when they open your email attachment or click on the link to your portfolio or resume located on one of these top careers websites.

Proofread Your Cover Letter Before Sending It

Minor typos or mistakes can make a bad impression, so always make sure that you proof read your cover letter multiple times before you send it.

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Tips for Writing an Experienced Cover Letter

When you are more experienced in your field, it can be difficult to know how to write a cover letter that still reflects your accomplishments. Some general cover letter tips mentioned above apply to those who have just started out and as well as to experienced job seekers, but more importantly, there are some cover letter tips listed below geared specifically towards those of you with experience applying for jobs.

Highlight Relevant Skills and Experience

Highlight relevant skills and experience from past positions that demonstrate how you meet all of the criteria listed in the job advertisement and key selection criteria (if provided). Provide examples of how and when you have used these skills in previous jobs, if possible, and do not be afraid to use bullet points to highlight them rather than writing long paragraphs about each one. This will help capture their attention quickly as employers can sometimes receive hundreds.

Avoid Repeating Information

Do not repeat the same information that already appears on your resume unless it is worth emphasizing or expanding upon. For example, if you are applying for a job that requires leadership experience, make sure to highlight ways in which you showed leadership abilities from your past work experiences.

Awards or Recognition

Write about things that make you stand out from other candidates. Don't just write about your experience; include any awards or recognition you've received along with your accomplishments and skills. If you’ve completed particular projects at your last job, then make sure you mention those as well.

Include Details from the Job Description

When applying for jobs, employers care most about how well your experience matches up with what they need. By including details from their job description in your cover letter, you can show them exactly why your skills and past work experiences make you an ideal fit for their vacant job positions.

Cover Letter Samples

Example 1:

Greetings Mr. Gantley

I'm writing to ask if your marketing team requires a talented mathematician. Hannah Wilson, a former coworker of mine, said you might be hiring soon.

I have so far used my data science degree in my marketing profession to great advantage, delving into client behavior and observing profit increases of 125% on several initiatives.

As you work to expand your 12% market share, I am confident that I will be valuable. My expertise in lead targeting and client segmentation can assist you in charting the proper course. I would love the chance to talk about my custom marketing analytics platform in an interview.

Yours faithfully,

Lois Hanks

Example 2:

Hello Ms. Kramer

I recently saw on LinkedIn that you are looking for a new publishing assistant. I wanted to provide some information about my social media activity to demonstrate my publishing network and knowledge base. I know networking inside the sector is an important part of the job.

I believe the links below show the breadth of my abilities, and if you like what you see, I would be happy to send you my résumé.

Yours truly,

Farrow Barnaby

Example 3:

Dear Mrs Wilson

I thought it might be wisest to briefly discuss some of my accomplishments to determine whether it would be worthwhile to send my resume for the project management position.

  • Led project teams of 5 to 45 people in consumer sectors.
  • Working on initiatives in logistics, merchandising, marketing, and buying, 
  • Working on initiatives in logistics, merchandising, marketing, and buying, 
  • trained Internal personnel on the most recent project management approaches.

If you wish to discuss more, I would be willing to sit for an interview immediately. Should it come to that, I have many outstanding recommendations to offer.

Sincerely,

Michael Harris

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Conclusion

An effective cover letter should do more than summarize your resume. It should emphasize how your credentials match the requirements of the job. Consider enrolling in a career-improvement course, such as the Digital Project Manager Certification and Training Course at Simplilearn to help you boost your career to the next level.

About the Author

SimplilearnSimplilearn

Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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