How to Write a Cover Letter
Published on December 11, 2020
Yes, add that cover letter to your resume.
Do cover letters still matter in job applications?
In the days of yore, when applying for jobs was not as convenient as it is now, writing a cover letter was crucial to getting the attention of recruiters. It was how candidates like you introduced themselves to the company, in the hopes of getting a chance at employment.
Similar to your CV but in a more conversational (although formal) format, your cover letter allows you to give recruiters a deeper look into your career. You include one to highlight skills, character, and experience that cannot be outlined in your resume. Writing an insightful cover letter helps recruiters see that your career experience matches the requirements of the job you are applying for.
To put it simply, adding a cover letter to your CV gives you a higher chance at getting hired.
Now, how do you write a cover letter?
To help you craft your own, apply our tips below.
5 tips on how to write a cover letter
1. Skip the generics When addressing your cover letter, please do not use “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir or madam.” Give it extra effort and research on who the hiring manager is, and address them properly. If after intense research or asking around you cannot find the hiring manager’s name, you can address your cover letter to the department head. This shows that you are serious about the position you are applying for and are willing to do the work to get things done the right way.
Still cannot find names? You can still be specific by addressing your cover letter to the role of the person who is most likely to review your resume first. You can write “To the hiring manager” or even “To the marketing manager.” Starting your cover letter this way adds a more personal touch and is not as offensive as a generic and effortless to whom it may concern.
2. Hook the recruiter with a great opening paragraph As they may have several vacancies, don’t forget to mention what role you are interested in. After an opening line of, “I am writing to you about the [job opening] you posted on [where you saw the job ad],” get their attention by diving right in to introducing yourself. Relate your skills and work experience to the role you are applying to. This is also your chance to prove that you know about the role and the company—include relevant facts and make it relatable. Show that you did your research!
Cover letter sample introduction: As a long-time user of ABCDE Graphic Design Firm, I knew I had to apply for the Digital Media Artist post when I saw it. I’ve been a graphic designer right after graduation, and in my previous role I was able to create branding designs for leading brands. I’m positive I can bring my best to this role and help your team make design services more accessible.
3. Show that you are more qualified than the rest of the candidates
More often than not, all applicants will be qualified for the role they are applying for. The question is, what makes you stand above the rest? Why should they hire you? Your cover letter elaborates this part of your job application.
Give real life examples of what you have done for your previous work and how you can use the same—or even better—at the company you are applying for. Even though you are including a list of skills, you can make it more personal. Find a fresh way of saying, “I have skill 1, skill 2, and skill 3.” People like hearing stories, so share your skills and qualifications in story form rather than a listicle. There’s a way to lighten up your cover letter even if the tone is formal.
4. Use your cover letter to expound what you cannot articulate on your resume
Research on the company culture and match the tone of your cover letter to it. Took a work gap? Take this chance to explain why you were not employed for a certain period of time. Emphasize experiences but avoid oversharing. Keep it short and sweet so they would want to know more about you.
5. Wrap up your cover letter sincerely
Skip the cookie cutter! As you have started your cover letter strongly, wrap it up sincerely as well. Summarize what you are bringing to the table in two sentences and entice them to invite you for a job interview.
Apply these tips on how to write a cover letter and be well on your way to your job application, confident that you are doing everything to stand out among other candidates.
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If you need more helpful job application and career advice as we navigate our new normal, visit our Career Tips Blog.