How to Write an Effective Cover Letter?
In this article, we are going to learn how to write an effective cover letter. When you are applying for a job, you always try to project yourself in the best possible manner. Right? But, to think of writing a cover letter is always stressful and frustrating. At this point, a common question that always pops up in your mind is how to write an effective and well-formatted cover letter with good content. Of course, there is no easy answer to this question. Moreover, not everyone is a professional writer. But if you find a few tips and follow a tried-and-tested format, you can certainly craft a winning cover letter that just might get you the interview that you desire.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter or also called a covering letter is a one-page document that is submitted alongside the Resume/CV or Job Application. The cover letter not only introduces you but also highlights your relevant experiences, and showcases your expertise and skills. It is crafted to describe why you’re a suitable candidate for the position.
Why is a cover letter so important?
In fact, the cover letter is just as important as the resume/cv when you are applying for a job. Remember that it is not a simple replacement of your resume in paragraph form, but to complement your short resume by elaborating on your key skills, achievements and experiences to the potential employer. The cover letter provides additional information that your resume can’t contain.
Cover letters would also make the job easier for the employer to screen the applicants for available positions. So it would always be a better idea to submit a cover letter even if the recruiter does not ask for it in the advertisement.
The cover letter is also a great way to include vital information such as:
- Introducing yourself to the recruiter.
- Projecting yourself why you are a perfect fit for that job.
- Showcasing your experience, expertise and skills.
- Showing your keen interest in working with the company.
- Providing any additional information to the potential employer.
- Requesting the hiring manager to call you for an interview.
What are the parts/elements of a cover letter?
Generally, every cover letter has the following basic parts or elements.
Include here your contact information and those of the organization you are applying for the job.
Your Contact Details:
At the top of your cover letter – top left, top right or the centre of the page. Better to use the same header style as your resume.
- First and last name
- Email address (a professional one)
- Phone number
- Residential address (optional)
- Social media profiles like Linkedin and Twitter (optional)
- Your personal website (optional)
- Mention Date (leaving a space after contact details)
Contact Details of the prospective employer:
- First and last name of the hiring manager
- Full address of the organization
- Phone number of the organization
- Email address of the hiring manager
Greeting / Salutation:
Write your salutation politely and professionally to greet the person who is going to hire you.
- Dear Joy Mercy,
- Dear Miss Samantha,
- Dear Ms. Raveena,
- Dear Mrs. Priya,
- Dear Mr. Venkatesh,
OR (When you don’t know the hiring manager’s name you can use as)
- Dear Sir,
- Dear Madam,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
But don’t write a general term ‘To whom it may ever concern’.
Opening / Introductory Paragraph:
The opening paragraph should grab the reader’s attention.
The opening paragraph should describe:
- Your personal introduction.
- How you have come to know the job opening.
- What position you are applying for and the organization name.
- Your interest and enthusiasm in that specific position and organization.
Second Paragraph: (Body Paragraph)
Highlight your education, work experience, skills and previous achievements relevant to the job you’re applying for. You can extract as many matching keywords and phrases from the job description as possible and use them in your cover letters.
Describe how you are a perfect fit for the job
Third Paragraph: (Body Paragraph)
Showcase your additional relevant skills and abilities and describe how you can utilize those skills to reach the organization’s goals. Explain what you could contribute to the organization.
Describe how you are a perfect fit for the organization.
This is the last sentence in the cover letter where you thank and ask the hiring manager to contact you with a convincing call to action (CTA).
Examples for closing sentences:
- I strongly believe that my previous teaching experience and academic background will definitely be a benefit to Lead India School. If you need any further information, please contact me at (91)1234512345. Thank you for spending your precious time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
- With thanks in anticipation and await your convenient date for the interview.
- I look forward to hearing from you at the earliest possible date.
- I look forward eagerly to getting an opportunity for an interview.
- Thank you for your time and consideration and hope to hear from you soon.
At the end of the cover letter, you just need to put a formal closing like
- Yours sincerely,
- Yours faithfully,
- Respectfully yours,
- With kind regards
- With best regards,
- Kind regards,
- Best regards,
This is not a mandatory part of a cover letter. But this is a special trick. When you write this, it can act as a magnet for the eyes of the hiring manager.
Cover Letters: Layout & Structure
The layout adds more to the beauty of cover letters. The more structured, the more impressive they look.
Here are a few quick cover letter layout tips:
- Cover letters are generally written in not more than one page.
- The font size of the cover letter can be 12 points. Below 12 it is difficult to read.
- The cover letter can be written in 250-400 words approximately.
- The cover letter can be aligned in three to four paragraphs.
- 1” – 1” or .5” margins on left and right sides are generally set to be maintained in a good cover letter.
- Choose a clear and readable font rather than a fancy and confusing one. The best cover letters follow Helvetica, Times New Roman, and Calibri.
- Keep all your paragraphs left-aligned leaving a .5” (or 5 spaces) introductory gap. Maintain a uniform layout throughout the cover letter.
- See that the cover letter should be free from grammatical, punctuational, and spelling errors.
Cover Letters Tips:
- Personalize your cover letter.
- Be clear and to the point.
- Send the letter to the appropriate person
- Outline qualifications with positive information
- Don’t use the word “I” more than 3 or 4 times.
- Use some keywords and phrases from job descriptions.
- Use examples of real accomplishments,
- Mention you are available for an interview.
- Type your letter using the basic font (ex: 10-12 point font).
- Use bold fonts only for emphasis.
- Sign your cover letter (if not emailing).
- Spend time writing your cover letter and have someone else proofread.
- Match the style of your resume.
- Use a strong opening sentence in your cover letter.
- Spell out all words and avoid using acronyms and abbreviations.
- Use appropriate email addresses.
- Keep the cover letter to one-to-two pages.
- Use white paper (prefer bond paper).
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