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Best Ideas on How to Write a Cover Letter
No matter how long you are going to ignore the need to write your cover letter, this day will come. Don’t worry, you are not the only one experiencing problems with this document. While it looks so simple, you have to do your best to include everything your future boss wants to see there. You have a chance to learn how to do it.
What Is a Covering Letter for a Resume?
The covering resume letter is something that your future employer may require from you. It is only one-page long and has to be attached to your resume or CV. You don’t need to get into details of every year of your life. On average, covering letter format is up to 400 words. The document requires a brief description of your previous working experience, your main skills that might be helpful, and the benefits you can offer the new company.
How to Write a Cover Letter: Step-By-Step Guide
A cover letter is what ignites interest in you and provokes HRs to read the resume you send and contact you. Consider it as an appetizer you have to provide in the form of a 250–350 word message. Learn how to write a cover letter with this step-by-step guidance:
1. Find the most suitable template for the resume.
It is highly unlikely you want to start from an empty page, especially if it is your first CV. Don’t worry, there are plenty of universal templates you can use to ease your life. You may find them either using Google search or simply by opening the PDFLiner editor, where you can also complete this template thanks to the wide range of tools. These templates are already formatted and designed. You may choose a design that suits the company or area of your interests;
2. Complete the Header.
If you don’t know where to start, begin with something simple. You have to complete the Header with your contact details. Make sure you still use the email you provide and that your phone is available 24/7 for your boss. It is better to be specific in this section and to share only the address, phone, email, and social media page where HR can reach you. If you are writing to the specific HR manager, include the name and position of the person, name the company;
3. Always start with a polite greeting.
Every high-quality cover application letter for job includes a personal greeting with the name and surname of the hiring manager. Forget the standard “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir.” Using a person’s name will show your interest in the position and your ability to spend some time digging for the information.
If you send your letter to 50+ positions in different companies, it is up to you, but make each letter sound personal. It is easier for HR managers to consider your person if they believe you are interested only in their company. Do a quick research on LinkedIn. If you have not found the name, go for “Dear Hiring Manager”;
4. The introduction is key.
The first paragraph is crucial for the first impression you make on HR. Usually, managers have to read dozens or even hundreds of applications every day, based on the company’s popularity. This is why they can easily put the letter down after the first paragraph if it is not interesting enough. It is better to catch the attention of HR in this paragraph;
5. Prove that you are the perfect employee for them.
Make sure you mention the skills this job requires. Let them understand that you are the best candidate with the right set of skills.
Tips for a Good Cover Letter
A wide range of tips can make covering letters for resumes look advanced. You have to check them out before you start writing anything. For your convenience, let’s focus on what you can and can’t do in the resume.
Do try this:
- Create the header based on the format of your application. If you are using an online submission form, you don’t need a header, since you have probably provided all the information in the specific sections. If you send it in the letter, make sure that the whole format of the document is the same and matches the interests of the company you are applying for;
- Make a positive first impression from the very beginning by writing an interesting intro. You can provide details on your skills, highlighting them with curious examples from your previous work;
- Try to be brief. Keep in mind the 400 words limit when you are writing a cover letter. You can name all your positions and extra skills in your CV;
- Always check your grammar. No matter what position you want to apply for, you have to double-check the letter for mistakes. Many HRs can switch to another letter once they notice spelling or punctuation letters. They believe that such letters simply show them disrespect and the fact that the candidate is not serious about the position;
- Be grateful. You have to sound grateful for the opportunity to receive the job. It means you need to be polite. Don’t sound too needy, but make sure the HR understands that you are really looking for the position in their company.
Don’t do this:
- Never retell all your life in a cover letter. Nobody wants to hear the story of your life, no matter how curious it is when they are looking for a new employee. You may keep these stories to entertain your new colleagues during the launch break once you are hired;
- Don’t mention the skills you have that are unrelated to work. For example, your boss in the construction company does not have to know about your singing or dancing skills. However, you can mention your patience and the need for perfection in anything you do;
- Don’t sound arrogant, no matter how much experience you have or how great your last work was. Start with the new page and keep moving forward. Think about what you can offer, but don’t try to diminish the work of the previous employee;
- Never leave your cover letter unfinished. You have to provide something like a conclusion at the end. Sum up your story. Create the feeling of the complete text.
Cover Letter Examples and Case Studies
The best way to learn how to write a great letter is to check out cover letter examples. You will find lots of them on the Internet. Yet, not all of these letters are equally good. It is better to understand which letter works and which is not. This is why you have to read examples from both “sides.”
Case Study #1 Bad Example
Let’s start with something that does not work, so you can understand the forbidden area. This example is a work of fiction, but it contains all the most popular mistakes. Try not to repeat them in your own template.
“Hey there, I am Nick, and I really think your company needs me as your PR Manager. I’ve been the top manager in *** company for over 10 years, and I’ve received positive experience. I think I can fit into the company real nice.
I find your company interesting due to the friendly working atmosphere and benefits. Since I have always been a friendly and open-minded person, I think I quickly become a part of the team. A friendly atmosphere was something I wanted for years. It can inspire me to work better. I can offer you my theatrical experience which will be a great addition to your corporate gatherings. I have read your official statement and I think that my values totally match your policy.
My previous experience in a similar position is 10 years, which I spent in ** Company. I had to provide the next services, including… I stayed in this company for many years, increasing my experience and skills. Now I want to try something new, and get new skills and new experiences. I know you may be wondering whether I am good enough for it or not, and I want to underline that I am really persistent, hard-working, and not afraid of challenges. Besides, you will not need to teach me from the beginning since this position is similar to the one I had before. It is like you hire a specialist with all the experience you may need.
I hope I have not bored you to death:) My main priority is to make other people happy and become a valuable asset to your company. I hope you will consider my person as the right candidate for this position.
Best of luck,
So, what is wrong with this example? Do you feel the lack of politeness there? Nick does not understand the basics and is highly unlikely to check the letter twice. It looks like he has never opened the website of the company and uses the same standard template for every HR.
Don’t be like Nick. Try to mention the skills that really help. Avoid poor jokes or smiles if you can. Make the first paragraph work for you, and always finish your letter appropriately. While you have to sound like a professional, you don’t have to be self-observed. Make the company an offer that they can’t refuse.
Case Study #2
You have to learn from the best cover letters on resumes as well. This is a good example of the first letter your future employer receives from you. Make sure that you know the name of the person you are writing to. Read the blog or website of the company to understand its goals and sphere of interest. This helps you describe your own experience in a way the company may find beneficial for them. While showing your own professional skills, HR thinks about how these skills will be implemented in the new work.
“Dear John Smith,
I am interested in the open position of content writer at Simple Solutions. I have been a devoted reader of your blog and I think my skills will be a great addition to the project you create. Recently I’ve noticed that Simple Solutions is opening several positions, and I match the content writer job demands mentioned in the description. My skills in writing, editing, and promotion can help make the blog even more captivating and improve statistics. As a true fan of your company, I am delighted to offer you my experience and skills, hoping to help you achieve new highs.
As a senior content writer at Difficult Way for the last 5 years, I was a leader of the content-writing team, responsible for top news, editing, and promoting the company through ads on social media. Before that, I was an editor in the Rose and Stone editing house, where I mastered my skills in double-checking and polishing the texts of many talented writers. However, I started my career by working as a journalist for Stockton Bulletin, so I have experience in writing as well. I helped to highlight numerous events in the life of Stockton, raising the number of active readers up to 40 percent.
Luring more people into reading is my lifetime priority and I am always learning how to do it from the multiple writing/editing courses, books, journals, and my talented colleagues. I am ready for any challenges, and I hope I can help Simple Solutions succeed in its plans. I enjoy writing blog posts on topics related to your area of interest and I enjoy editing and proofreading other writers’ articles. I hope my skills in SEO may raise the company’s recognition and attract new clients. I am ready to improve my skills based on your recommendations.
Eagerly waiting for your reply,
This cover letter starts with greetings and ends with a proper conclusion. Andrew underlined his interest in the specific position. You can’t mention any job, you have to tell which one you are interested in and how you can help this position in your company based on your skills, previous experience, or intentions.
If you lack experience, you can compensate by mentioning your studies and achievements. They all must be related to the future profession. If you have worked before, you could describe how your experience there helped the company. Check out the rise the company had during the years of your work.
Get the Job of Your Dreams
If you find yourself searching for a new job in a market that is overcrowded by unemployed people, don’t worry. Consider it as a challenge you can prepare for. Your main arsenal here is your professional CV and a cover letter. Usually, HR managers read a cover letter first since it contains your vision and the personal touch.
Make sure it can interest the company you apply for by digging for information about them in the first place. Make a plan before you start building or editing the template. Find the name of the HR you are sending your letter to. If you don’t have experience, compensate for it with your abilities and eagerness to work.
If you still have issues you'd like to clarify, check out the most common questions below.
Should I combine a cover letter and resume?
Yes, you have to attach a cover letter to the resume. It is ok to repeat the information about your previous job, but in the cover letter, you can also bring stats or add a brief description of your working routine. You have to name the skills you have and the services you’ve provided. You can add the cover letter to your CV as well.
Do you mention a referral in a cover letter?
Yes, if you have a referral, you can mention it. Yet, the person who provides you with it must understand that you include it in the cover letter. You can add the referral even in the first paragraph of the text. It is better to highlight it. Explain why you add it briefly and how it may interest the company.
Do you end a cover letter with sincerely?
Yes, it is better to add the formal closing at the end. You can add either “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” or “Regards.” This way, the message will sound complete. You have to separate it from the closing paragraph. Write it in the capital letter and add your name under it. You have to put a comma after the word.
How to style a cover letter?
There are lots of templates you can use as an example. Check them out in advance before you create something on your own. The style must be simple but friendly and attractive. You have to look like a real professional.
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