How to Write a Cover Letter

Whenever you apply for a job, a cover letter should always accompany the resume you send. The cover letter is usually a one-page document that explains why you are a good candidate for the job. While you might explain that briefly in the resume, the cover letter explains in greater detail and goes beyond you resume. Writing a good cover letter will get you a job interview, even if you have a weak resume. Think of it as a way to boost your resume. That being said, there are rules and guiding lines on how to write a cover letter you should follow.

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How to Write a Cover Letter

What to include in a cover letter?

A cover letter should have at least four paragraphs. You can add more, but your paragraphs should explain four main aspects. The four milestones you need to hit are the following:
1. Introduction, who you are? Introduce yourself to the hiring manager
2. Why you are a good fit for the job
3. Add in things that your resume does not cover and describe. A good place to add an example of a past experience
4. Further explain your resume
These four are the things you need to include in your cover letter that can enrich and empower your resume.

Do not forget Contact Information

Many people make the simple mistake of skipping a step. While contact information is not mentioned in the four paragraphs of the cover letter, the contact info is just as important. One might say it is even more important. Even if you are sending the cover letter by email, you need to specify your contact information to the potential hiring manager. But not just your own information. Include both yours and the employer’s contact information. Make sure there are no spelling and grammar errors in the contact information.

What goes in the introduction part?

The introduction part is where you give the employer first impression. Use it wisely. Small and subtle things make or break an introduction part. For example, many people like to use a cliché phrase like "Dear Sir or Madame". This sounds like you are applying for a job from a century ago. Nobody uses such terms nowadays. You should also avoid using phrases like "To whom it may concern". You can avoid this by looking at the Linkedin profile of the company. Do a little research, and try to find the name of the hiring manager. If nothing else, it shows effort. At the end of the day, use something simple like "Respected".

Use the first paragraph to introduce yourself. This is the part where you state your name, and the position you are applying for. Also include "how you learned about the job". Add some brief and basic info about yourself like degree, area of study, career goals, and expertise.

The most important part

The second paragraph is the most important paragraph. This is the paragraph where you try to "sell yourself". The most important part here is to be honest and down to earth. Yes, you can hype yourself up, but only if you have the evidence to back it up. In this paragraph, you should describe previous job experience, skills, abilities, and a bit more about yourself and how you meet the company’s needs. Bonus tip: research the company, and find out what they are doing, selling, or anything else. Companies love when you show understanding of their work, and how you fit in the grand scheme.

Things your resume does not cover

The third paragraph is where you can add examples of past job experiences. Usually, the resume does not cover this part. But that is why the cover letter can help. In this section, be concrete and specific. Add examples of accomplishments from previous jobs, and how they helped the company. For example, you’ve increased sales in your past company by 10%, you’ve reduced turnover by 15%, you implemented a data sorting strategy that improved workflow by 10%, you reduced file errors by 20%, and so on. Always quantify the successes when possible to show you can add value to the company.

The conclusion

The last part of your resume is the "call to action section". This is where you try to ask the hiring manager to call you. Make sure to include sentences like "Looking forward for your feedback", "I’d love to get interviewed", "We’ll keep in touch" and similar. And never forget to thank the hiring manager for spending precious time to read your letter.

Bonus Tips

- Tailor each cover letter for the job. This might take extra time, but you need to write a unique cover letter. After all, applying for Apple and Microsoft is not the same. The companies might have similar area of expertise, but they have different goals. Make sure the cover letter is specific to the job you are applying for - Use keywords similar to the resume. You can use keywords to improve flow of the resume and cover letter, and they should be industry-specific - Look at cover letter samples to understand what is required. Samples will help you get an idea what information you need to include. Check few samples, and then write your own - Edit, edit, and then edit once again. Your cover letter should be free of spellchecking and grammar errors. To do that, read your letter once, edit, then read it again. Proofread few times if needed. You can even ask a friend to read it for extra tips

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Wondershare Editor

Posted by to Cover Letter Tips

Published Jan 11,2018 16:54 pm / Updated Dec 03,2018 10:05 am


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