Writing a cover letter can be a real challenge. Talking about yourself is difficult, talking about why you’re perfect for a job even more so. The cover letter is the very first thing your potential employer sees when they receive your application so it really is important that you get it right. But don’t panic. As important as a cover letter is to the job application process, it isn’t too difficult to get right so long as you make sure you’ve covered the basics.
So, how do you write a cover letter?
- How long should my cover letter be?
- How do I write a cover letter?
Every cover letter is different. Do not try to use the same one for every application by making it vague and all-encompassing. The person who reads it can tell, and they’d prefer it if you put in some effort.
Write a new cover letter for every application.
No more than one A4 page. If your letter is too short, it makes it look like you don’t care. If it’s too long, the employer reading it will get bored and move on to the next one.
Make it just right.
When it comes to writing the letter, make sure you cover the following aspects:
- Who reads this thing anyway? Find out who you are writing to. Don’t start with “To whom it may concern” - put in some effort and find out the name of the person who will be looking at the applications.
- Introduction: this is where you introduce yourself. Start by detailing the position you are applying for and how you heard about it. Then give a little bit of information about yourself - qualifications, area of expertise, career goals
- Respond to the listing: next, you need to address the job description. Give a few relevant points from your CV such as previous experience and qualifications that make you the best person for the job
- Do some research: find out what the company does and what their vision is. Then describe how you can fit in with that and help them to achieve their goals.
- Conclusion: end off your cover letter with a call to action. Let them know you would love to be interviewed and even look forward to being contacted by them, and list the documents that are attached alongside the letter. Be sure to thank them for their time.
- Maintain a professional and polite tone throughout your cover letter.
- Readability: choose a good, basic font and stick to it. A cover letter that is easy to read is better than one that strains the eyes.
- Spelling and grammar: making language errors makes you seem unprofessional. Get a friend to proofread your cover letter, or take it to a writing centre if you can.
And that’s it - how to write a cover letter. Now you should move on to the next step in the job application process: writing your CV.