Pretty much every person that enters the workforce thinks about how to make a good cover letter first and foremost. It’s one of the most basic questions that pop up right after you finish drafting your first CV or even a bit earlier.
Of course, you can look up a good cover letter example and follow their style or order essays. But understanding the basic principles of cover letter writing is way more important. Especially once you decide to shoot for more competitive positions later down the line in your career.
What Is a Cover Letter?
So what is a cover letter? Basically, whenever you write a cover letter to add after education on a resume, you create a custom essay that explains why you want the job and why the employer should hire you. More about how to list education on resume read in our blog. Cover letter format and other technical things are important. But not as important as its contents. This is what can make or break your interview. It’s what differentiates you from the crowd of potentially hundreds of other applicants with similar or even better qualifications.
What Is a Cover Letter for a Job?
It is important to make a distinction between a cover letter for a job and a cover letter for an internship. So what is a cover letter for a job? Basically, it’s your pitch of yourself as a professional. You don’t want to go overboard with that, but, in a nutshell, it’s about how cool you are. If you are applying for a full job - you should show your employer that you are an asset. You can find a good cover letter example online to get inspired.
Here you can find a perfect Senior Executive Cover Letter Example:
What Is a Cover Letter For an Internship?
Cover letter for internship positions is more about your passions and aspirations than it is about your professional qualities. A college student is more likely to have to deal with it. You won’t get a definitive list of what to include in a cover letter as, by this point, very few people have anything to offer besides their enthusiasm.
Just imagine you are talking to a friend about your future, follow the cover letter format, and everything will be just fine. Overall, an internship cover letter template isn’t that much different. But you have to understand how to shift the focus and apply your writing skills, mostly if you are gunning for a specific internship.
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
So how long should a cover letter be? As a general rule, smaller than you imagine. Recruiters are very busy people. They have very little time. So your cover letter should be a concentrated source of useful information.
Editing helps with that a lot. Go over your cover letter several times before you submit it. Cut off any unnecessary sentences. The end result should be a dry and snappy story of your life and dreams.
Cover Letter Outline
The first part of the cover letter format is the header. It may seem insignificant, but you shouldn’t underestimate its importance. There’s no rocket science in creating a header. Just make sure it’s grammatically correct.
Right after the header goes the greeting of the hiring manager. Again, nothing too special here - use formal language and commonly used phrases. “Dear sir or madam” will help you if you’re stumped. “Dear hiring manager” is also an option, although an admittedly less graceful one.
Now you finally get to the fun part. An engaging opening paragraph should capture the attention of your reader. You can use this opportunity to list some of your achievements. In the second paragraph, you can explain why you chose this position. You can talk about your plans a bit and go into your motivation.
Finally, you can top things off by mentioning how your skills and qualities match what the company needs. After all, they are not simply looking for an all-around decent chap. They want a person who would fill a specific niche. Talk about why it just so happens to be you.
A formal ending is a must. Don’t forget that it’s called a letter for a reason. It should end accordingly. Don’t be afraid to use some cliches. It’s just a formality, albeit an important one.
The exact format is not really important, but you can refer to the IEEE format if you need something to fall back on.
Here you can find a perfect Career Change Cover Letter Example:
Step-By-Step Guide On How To Write a Cover Letter For a Job
Plenty of people get absolutely lost when faced with the question of how to write a cover letter for a job. Some don’t even know how to start the cover letter. And throwing abstract advice at them like “Just be honest” or “Sell yourself” doesn’t really answer the question of how to make a cover letter.
In actuality, it’s a pretty easy type of writing once you get the hang of it. A cover letter builder is great but making it from scratch is also a pretty decent option. It takes no more than 10 minutes for an experienced writer to create a customized cover letter. But if you’re not one of such experienced writers - here are step-by-step directions you can follow to create a professional cover letter in no time.
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How to start a cover letter? Writing a good hook is important. Be as simple and to the point as possible. It’s not a part of your creative expression. It’s just a simple pointer that shows the reader what he’s about to get into. And it should serve that exact purpose. Nothing more and nothing less. Treat it just like the headers of your professional email correspondence.
In an ideal world, you know exactly who your recruiter is. Dropping your hiring manager’s name here is desirable. You want to make your professional cover letter personal by addressing them in the greetings directly by using “Dear Mr” or “Dear Ms.”. Otherwise - don’t worry too much. Just breeze past through it with some acceptably formal staple and move on to the next part. It’s not as important to your hiring process as what follows. Your hiring manager’s name can probably be found on the company website or on the job posting itself. Look for a section labeled “employer contact information”.
This, on the other hand, is important. Even a simple cover letter should have a catchy intro. If these couple of sentences don’t grab the attention of your recruiter - the rest of your meticulously crafted letter might as well not exist. Just start writing something, and it will come to you eventually.
Reveal Your Professional Skills
Your motivation isn’t worth much unless you can back it up with some factual skills. When you are writing a professional cover letter - don’t be shy to mention your talents. Anything that makes you look like a qualified candidate. It should be brief but informative. Hobbies also count if they fit your potential position in any way. It goes without saying that the skills you mention should be tailored to the specific position you are applying for.
Explain Why You Chose This Company
Flattery works on more people than you can imagine. Don’t overdo it, though. You can point out why you’ve chosen this particular company over its direct competitors. Maybe praise their previous work that convinced you they are a team of professionals.
So how do you end a cover letter? You can get creative but try to keep it formal in the final paragraph. And, of course, you can never go wrong with the good old “Looking forward to hearing from you” sign-off. Nobody expects you to reinvent the wheel here, so just use something basic and wrap it up.
Tips For an Excellent Cover Letter
If you look at some of the good cover letter examples, you'll see they have something in common. They are memorable, catchy, and interesting to read. They don’t use generic phrases and instead focus on personal and emotional aspects channeled by the writer.
Modeling your cover letter like this is your best bet. The last thing you want to do is for it to get lost in the sea of copy-pasted clones. Here are some tips that will help you make your cover letter stand out from the crowd.
Conduct a Research
The first and easiest way to personalize your cover letter is to do your research thoroughly. Look up what company you are applying for during your job search. What are their days like? What projects have they been working on recently? It doesn’t have to be a super-detailed report. But dropping a hint of inner know-how in your cover letter can win you some major points and make your application process way smoother.
Begin With a Strong Statement
Don’t leave your best for last. Hit them with something breathtaking right away. A simple cover letter is supposed to be pretty short anyways. And research shows that a person can lose interest in virtually anything in the span of a couple of seconds. Don’t let your recruiter get bored for these few seconds. Test your cover letter on your friends or family, and see what they have to say about your opening.
Focus On the Future And Sound Motivated
One of the most important things modern recruiters look out for is motivation. A cover letter in and of itself is basically proof you care enough to write a small essay to increase your chances of getting accepted. Double down on it. Think about what you want to achieve by taking on this job and where you want to be in a couple of years. Put your passion in words. If you lack motivation - it will show.
Write About Your Hard Skills
In a professional cover letter, your hard skills are what make you an excellent candidate for the particular position you are applying for. And it’s a good idea to mention them here. Try not to just duplicate what you’ve already mentioned in your CV but rather expand on it. A brief sentence for every skill and a summary of your relevant experiences should be more than enough. You can also mention complementing skills. For example, graphic design and computer science would both come in handy for a web developer.
Make It Short
We said it before, and we will say it again. Recruiters are extremely busy. They have no time to read generic cover letter templates about how you would love to work for their company. Remember - a cover letter is basically a cold sales pitch. It’s short, engaging, and to the point. Any extra fat should be cut mercilessly during editing. It will help you get more interviews with minimum effort. Most cover letter samples are less than 500 words long.
Double-Check Your Cover Letter
Speaking of editing. It’s important. Yes, really. It doesn’t matter how good you are - all people make mistakes. And any mistake will look like a red flag on a blindingly white field. Especially if you are using a free cover letter template, so don’t even think of sending your cover letter to your human resources manager straight off. Leave enough time to go over it several times. Read it carefully, give it to someone else and see what they have to say about it. This will allow you to spot and fix any imperfections before it’s too late. It’s not immediately evident, but all good cover letter examples 2022 have gone through a rigorous editing process. This attention to detail will put you a step closer to becoming an ideal candidate.
Are you familiar with the works of Anthony Burgess? We recommend reading our article with A Clockwork Orange summary, his most popular novel.
Cover Letter Samples
Here you will find sample cover letter templates you can reference during writing your own. Good cover letter examples are plenty, and you can always find more online if you need them. You can use any of these as a free cover letter template.
Here is a Middle Management Cover Letter Example:
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