What is a Cover Letter?

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job

A cover letter is an introductory document that is sent off with your CV or resume while you apply for a job. This one-page document is extremely important as it symbolises your interest in the job and gives you an additional chance to display your interest in the offered position and also your enthusiasm to work in the organisation. 

In this guide, we will explain in detail how to write a cover letter that will help you stand out from the other applicants and exhibit your passion and interest in the offered position. A well-written cover letter will not only demonstrate your writing skills and communication power but will also convey your professionalism and attention to detail. 

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn how to make a cover letter into a job-winning document. A good cover letter should be able to communicate some very important points namely:

  • Introduce you to the hiring managers
  • A detailed picture of your qualifications
  • Explain your interest in the position and organisation
  • Represent your candidature as the best match for the job
  • Explain job gaps or job hopping if any in a professional manner

Table of Contents

Expert advice-  As per the recent report, almost 41% of job applicants just recreate their resume in their cover letter which is a very big mistake. Your cover letter is meant to add and complement your resume, not be a replica of it.

purpose of a cover letter hero optimized 1

*resumegenius.com

Elements to Include in a Cover Letter

The first and foremost step in this process is to understand how to write a cover letter for a job that is inclusive of all the important elements. One thing that you need to remember is that a professionally crafted cover letter will follow a clean, basic structure and should include the sections provided below: 

  • The current date
  • The hiring manager’s name and title
  • The address of the company
  • The hiring manager’s contact details
  • An opening paragraph
  • The body of the letter
  • Closing paragraph
  • A sign off 
  • Your contact information

How To Furnish The Perfect Cover Letter?

If you are wondering how to write a cover letter that will not only impress your prospective employer but also showcase your prowess as a writer, worry no more. The below-mentioned will help you navigate the whole process step by step and will allow you to craft the perfect cover letter.

1. Conduct Thorough Research

When you craft any professional document remember being prepared in advance is the key to success. Giving proper time to research and understand essential details and information before you start the process of writing will not only help you save time but will also make sure that you put your best foot forward.

Before we get into the process of how to make cover a letter for a job look and read as interesting as possible, you must review the job description carefully and then compare it with your qualifications and professional skills. Once you do that, note down important pointers explaining how your experience and skills match the requirements of the job. Keep the following areas in mind when you make your checklist:

  • Significant achievements from former jobs
  • Include a mix of hard skills and soft skills that match the requirements in the job listing
  • Any volunteer work where you learn skills that can help you with the prospective job profile
  • Complete educational qualifications, including any certification courses or licences that you have been awarded
  • Awards and honours that are relevant to the job profile
 

Once you have your checklist in place, read everything you can about the company and try to get an idea about its work culture and workplace values. If you write a cover letter with company information peppered in between, it will not only show your genuine interest but will also give a very personalised touch to your cover letter. A thorough research will help you:

  • Get an edge over other applicants even before the interview as you can explain to the hiring manager why you are a great fit not just for the offered profile but also for the company in terms of its culture, mission and values.

  • Get updated on all the recent news and press releases, allowing you to learn about the achievements and also congratulate the key players while also explaining how you can be a contributor to the future goals of the company. 

Go for a Professional Cover Letter Template

Want to know how to write a cover letter that looks and sounds professional? Use a cover letter template. A professionally furnished template is vetted by experts, ensuring that your cover letter format is ATS (applicant tracking system)- friendly.  Remember that a well-crafted template can go a long way in impressing your recruiter and can even help you secure a face-to-face interview easily. 

Tip – As per LinkedIn, before reading your resume, 45% of hiring managers are interested in reading the cover letter of the applicants. 

Things to include in a cover letter:

1. Include Professional Header

Headers for cover letters follow the standard business letter format, which includes your name, address, phone number and email address. This information is placed at the bottom of the page, aligned to the left or centre.

2.Include the Hiring Manager’s Contact Information

Write the current date, aligned to the left side and then write the name, title, company’s address as well as the email address of the hiring manager.

Tip– Ensure that you follow any instructions provided with the job listing. For example- if the listing directs you to address the cover letter to the HR department, then always address the concerned HR personnel and use the information provided for the recipients’ address. 

3. Greet the Hiring Manager

Start your greeting while addressing the concerned person by name to make a personal connection. For example: Dear (Recipient’s Name)

In case you are sure of the person’s gender, you can address them as “Mr.” or “Ms” in your cover letter. Avoid using informal salutations or greetings like “Hi” or “Hello”. Also do not use outdated salutations like “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To whom it may concern”. 

To make things clear below are some examples of acceptable as well as unacceptable salutations:

Acceptable

  • Dear Jane Doe,
  • Dear Ms. Doe,
  • Dear Hiring Manager,
  • Dear Vice President of Sales,
 

Unacceptable

  • Hello there!
  • Dear Sir/ Madam,
  • Jane Doe
  • Hey Ms. Jones
 

Write an Interesting Opening

Remember that the opening or introduction of your cover letter will act as your elevator pitch and this is why it should be compelling enough to tell the recipient why you are the perfect fit for the job. But, how to make a cover letter stand out in a way that the hiring manager want to read more? Let us understand with examples.

1. Your opening should show-off passion, confidence and enthusiasm

  • Example- I was excited to see that XYZ- a company I respect for its tech innovation, has an opening for an experienced lead programmer.
 

2. Display your experience and skills

  • Example – With 8 years of experience in programming for leading tech companies in Bangalore, I have in-depth knowledge of cloud computing and cyber security.
 

3. Show you have done some research

  • Example- “When I saw that XYZ Services was honoured by Entrepreneur Magazine for being one of the most creatively inclusive companies globally, I knew I had to apply for the marketing lead position”.
 

4. Exhibit your accomplishments

  • Example- “As the lead app developer for XYZ, I created a tourist app that resulted in a 30% increase in our company’s business in 2019.”
 

5. Be Creative

  • Example – “Books have been my passion since childhood and I have been an avid reader and book collector. My love for books instilled an interest in me for writing and editing which has only intensified over the years and combined with my Degree in Literature as well as diploma in editing, I believe the senior editor position offered here is perfect for me”.
 

Write the Body of the Letter

The body of the letter should showcase why you are the best candidate for the job. You can follow the tips below to make the cover letter more engaging:

  • Give detail on your work experience and accomplishments using numbers to quantify the results of your actions.
 
  • For first-time job applicants, connecting the job opportunity with a school project or internship experience is intelligent.
 
  • If your ideals align with the company’s work culture, show it off! For example, if you enjoy volunteering to teach underprivileged children and you are applying to an organisation focused on educational programs for underprivileged kids you can explain why the company’s mission is meaningful to you. 
 
  • In case you are changing your profile, focus on your transferable skills. If you write a cover letter that shows off your transferable skills, it can display that you can perform the work with little or no experience.
 

2.Write a Compelling Closing Paragraph

The closing statement of your cover letter should emphasise that you are excited to work for the prospective employer and you are confident that you have the right expertise and experience for the job. 

Always thank the specific person to whom the letter is addressed. Ensure that you inform the recipient to follow up with you (e.g., “I look forward to further discussing my qualifications with you”.)

Examples of writing a strong cover letter closing are given below.

  • Thank you for your time and consideration. I am excited about the prospect of working for XYZ Educational Institute. I look forward to discussing what I learned in my year abroad as an English teacher and how I can apply those lessons to this role. Feel free to contact me any time.
 
  • I have attached my resume and creative portfolio with my application and I am confident that my skills and work experience will convince you that I have the technical skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the role of lead designer at XYZ. Please contact me any time this week to discuss my background in detail.
 

Sign off

What goes in a cover letter ending isn’t complicated, but you have to get it right if you want a chance at the job.

That means you must be respectful, polite, professional and formal. You can use the following:

  • Sincerely,
  • Kind regards,
  • Best regards,
  • Thank you,
 

Proofread your cover letter

Once you have written your cover letter you must proofread it at least once before you send it off to the hiring manager. Remember that typos and careless formatting mistakes can significantly reduce your chances of getting hired. Make sure that your cover letter is perfect in the following areas:

  • Clarity– The writing is concise, clear and easy to understand.
 
  • Relevance: The cover letter displays your experience and skills to match the job requirements
 
  • Grammar and spelling: The letter is free of any spelling and grammatical errors.
 
  • Tone: The overall tone is professional and matches the company as well as the position you are applying for.
 
  • Formatting: The cover letter is structured clearly and organised in the proper manner.
 
  • Positive impression: The letter is able to make a strong impression and communicates your enthusiasm and interest in the position.
 

Add Your Contact Information

Remember to add your complete name as well as your email address and phone number. Also, ensure that your email id is professional like “jane@email.com” and not something like “dreamer42@email.com”. Do not forget to include your LinkedIn profile as well as an online portfolio of your work in case you have one. 

Expert Tips 

This section provides detailed key elements to help you write the perfect cover letter. When you write your letter, keep in mind these important tips on how to write a cover letter that hiring managers will love: 

Follow the instructions provided by the hiring manager:  This is by far the most important tip that you need to remember and follow. Go through the job posting carefully and look at the instructions. For example, if the posting states that you need to send your letter as PDF, do not send a Word document. Moreover, if the posting states that you need to provide your cover letter as an attachment in the email, do not write the cover letter in the body. Following instructions shows how you pay attention to details, Moreover, not following these specific instructions can also lead you to lose the chance to be even considered for the job opening. 

Customise your cover letter according to the job listing: Most HR managers and experts in the hiring business know what a generic cover letter looks like and generic things do not pique their interest. This is why it is important that your cover letter is tailored for the specified job as well as the company you are applying to. Ensure that your cover letter shows off your qualifications and skills as per the job requirements and displays how well you match the job profile. 

Do not use a negative tone: Be careful and do not point out the skills or experience that you do not have. If you do not have the experience for a job but are qualified for the profile, do not apologise. Try to point out special skill certificates, diplomas, licences if any fitting the offered profile. You can also bring attention to college projects or internships you have done that are a good fit for the profile and highlight all your transferable skills. 

Keep things crisp and short: Although it is smart to explain any gaps in your work experience or the reason behind your career change in your cover letter, oversharing or giving out everything in detail is not. Try not to go overboard and share information like your political views, salary expectations as well as any irrelevant hobbies. 

Avoid coming across as desperate: While it is necessary to show off your enthusiasm for a job listing, coming off as overzealous can be very off-putting. Keep your tone extremely professional, showing off your genuine interest without sounding desperate. 

Tips to Enhance your Cover Letter 

  • Make it one page 
  • Personalize the greeting 
  • Target the company 
  • Be confident 
  • Include numbers
Conclusion

Securing a job that fits your interests and skills can be a dream come true and your cover letter gives you a chance to illustrate your professional expertise and abilities while also providing a glimpse into your personality. Take this chance to illustrate and play your capabilities to the max, while also coming across as respectful and considerate to the recipient’s time and attention.

FAQs

Q.1 What are the important points I need to remember while writing a cover letter?

Ans. A cover letter should include:

  • Context for your application
  • Qualifications and experience for the listing
  • Your interest and enthusiasm for the role
  • Your strengths and capabilities over other applicants
 

Q.2 What key points do hiring managers look for in a cover letter?

Ans. Hiring managers want the cover letter to be:

  • Relevant
  • Enthusiastic
  • Personalised
  • Professional
  • Focused, crisp and structured well
 

Q.3 Is a cover letter a mandatory requirement while sending a job resume?

Ans. A cover letter is not a mandatory requirement for most job listings. However, it is definitely recommended by career advice experts as well as hiring managers. A cover letter gives you an opportunity to showcase and highlight your qualifications, communication skills as well as your experience and to explain how you are a good fit for the job. Even when the job listing does not specify the need for a cover letter, writing one can show the recipient your willingness to go above and beyond to make a good impression. 

Q.4 Should I include a photo in my cover letter?

Ans. No, you should not include a photo in your cover letter. Adding a photograph goes against the professional cover letter template and format design and doing so can make you look unprofessional. If the listing requires a photo, attach it to your resume instead.

Q.5 Can a cover letter be two pages long?

Ans. No, a cover letter is a one-page document and you need to keep it specifically that way. A two-page cover letter is considered too long and is a sign that you are not focused. Your cover letter should be one page long, 250-450 words and 3 to 4 paragraphs long.

Q.6 Do I need a cover letter for an internship?

Ans. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement, experts advice that you write a cover letter for internship positions as well. Including a cover letter for your internship application allows you to highlight important details about your academic career, qualifications as well as skills. 

Q.7 Can I write an email cover letter for a resume?

Ans. Yes, you can send an email cover letter for a resume as nowadays many hiring managers actually prefer receiving job applications via email. Make sure that you use a professional email address and also include a clear subject line indicating your intent as well as the position you are applying for. 

Q.8 How do I write a cover letter for a teaching job?

Ans. A cover letter for a teaching job should include your teaching experience, qualifications and enthusiasm for the job. Tips that you need to keep in mind to furnish a cover letter for a teaching job are:

  • Highlight your experience

Ensure that you briefly talk about your teaching experience, qualifications and certifications that are in alignment with the offered job.

  • Tailor your cover letter according to the job listing

Customise your cover letter according to the teaching job you are applying for. Also research the school or institute well and make sure you address the specific values and needs of the employer to show you are extremely interested in the position. 

  • Write about your teaching philosophy

Include a brief section that talks about your teaching philosophy and how that compliments the culture and values of the institute or school. This will highlight how your candidature is a perfect fit for the offered profile.

Trending Blogs

Connect with us