You have found a company you would like to apply to and created your CV. Now it is time to craft the perfect cover letter. One thing that many job seekers shy away from is writing cover letters. They often think hiring managers do not read them. However, it is one of the things that determines whether your CV will end up in the trash or not. Don’t know how to craft the perfect cover letter? Worry not, we’ve got you. Read on to know what a cover letter is, why it is crucial, and a step-by-step guide on how to write a perfect cover letter. Besides, there will be a template that will guide you in writing your cover letter.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document that you attach to your cv to show your interest in a position. It is usually a one-page document. The objective of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to the hiring manager. Also, you can give a brief outline of your work experience, professional qualifications, and why you are the ideal candidate for the job.
While your CV emphasizes your qualifications and accomplishments, your cover letter elaborates on them. It also highlights your character and explains why you would be a good fit for the organization.
Tips for writing a perfect cover letter
Here are some tips that can come in handy when you are writing a perfect cover letter.
Write a cover letter for each job. Just as you write a resume for each job, you should also write a cover letter for each job application. Writing a generic cover letter might affect your chances.
Be specific when addressing the letter. Many job seekers make the mistake of addressing the cover letter as “To whom it may concern”. And as no company has anyone with that name, your letter might end up in the trash. So, for a perfect cover letter, you should address a specific person. Use the name of the hiring manager, and to get this information, you can check the company’s profile on LinkedIn. If you can’t find it there, “dear hiring manager will suffice”.
Write a concise cover letter: the cover letter should not be more than 1 page, so it should be straight to the point. Be clear about why you are writing the cover letter and state the value you can offer the company.
Do not repeat what is in your CV: many job seekers make the mistake of repeating what is in their CV in the cover letter. You must avoid this; the cover letter is to complement your cv. Thus, do not repeat your resume in the cover letter, but use it to show the reason why you are the perfect fit for the job.
Stay consistent with formatting: consistency shows how professional you are. So, make sure you remain consistent with formation. This means you should maintain the format of your CV on the cover letter as well. For instance, if you use Calibri font 14 on your resume, use the same for the cover letter.
Step-by-step guide on how to write a perfect cover letter.
You can craft a perfect cover letter in 7 steps; here is the step-by-step guide;
Step #1: Start with a header
Your cover letter should start with a header. And it should contain some vital information such as your full name, email, and phone number. Do not use an unprofessional email address, use one that has both your first and last name. You should also include the hiring manager’s name and title, and the name and address of the company you are applying to. In some cases, you might add social media profiles relevant to the job. For instance, if you are applying for a writing job, you might need to add your medium profile.
Step #2: Greet the hiring manager
Once you fill in all the information needed for the header, you can go ahead to greet the hiring manager. Take note that you should not use generic greetings like “to whom it may concern”. Because it might affect your chances of being hired. The hiring manager might see it as spam, and nobody wants to hire such a person. Instead, use their specific name. To get this, you could go to the company’s website and check the “our team” page, or you can go to the profile on LinkedIn. However, if you could not get this, you can use “dear sir/madam.”
Step #3: Write a catchy opening paragraph
Then next, you should write a catchy opening paragraph. What determines whether the hiring manager will continue reading your cover letter is the opening paragraph. So, ensure you grab attention with this. The opening paragraph should briefly state your purpose of writing and two or more relevant achievements. The achievement should be related to the role you are applying for. This will hook the attention of the hiring manager, thus a catchy opening paragraph is a great recipe for crafting a perfect cover letter.
Step #4: Show your professional skills
When you are done with the introduction, you then move to the body of the letter. However, for a perfect cover letter, the body is divided into two. One, show your professional skills; two, relate them to the company’s needs. So, the fourth step is to show your professional skills. Here, you will briefly describe your experience relevant to the job description.
Step #5: Relate your professional skills to the company’s need
After describing your experience relevant to the job description, you need to relate it to the company’s needs. For this, all you need do is research the company to know their product and services. Then describe how you will use your skills to promote the company’s products and services.
Then you end the cover letter with a concise closing paragraph. Here, you can add any other extra information that might edge the hiring manager to invite you for an interview. You should also thank them for their time and close with a call to action.
Step #7: Sign off with a formal closing
Now that you have crafted a perfect cover letter, it is time to sign off. Ensure you end with a formal closing such as Best Regards, Kind Regards, Sincerely, and so on. You can then leave a space and write your full name.
Those are the seven steps for writing a perfect cover letter. Now that you have finished writing it, you need to proofread it to remove any grammatical errors. You can use software like Grammarly for this.
This is a template to guide you through writing your cover letter.
As you can see, writing a perfect cover letter is not as daunting as it seems. Now that you know how to write one, be sure to attach it to your resume when next you are applying for a job.