When it comes to cover letters, appearance and information is extremely important. It is usually the first thing that employers look at upon receiving your resume. This is the place where you can showcase yourself and all your amazing skills.
The purpose of a cover letter:
When writing a cover letter, you should:
- Introduce yourself
- Mention the job (or kind of job) you’re applying for (or looking for).
- Show that your skills and experience match or exceed the skills and experience needed to do the job.
- Encourage the reader to read your resume. Making it appealing and ‘fun’ but yet professional to read.
- Finish with a call to action (for example, asking for an interview or a meeting).
How long should a cover letter be?
Keep it short and sweet. A cover letter is meant to be a summary of your resume, so don’t write more than one page. A good tip is to not over complicate it, and in the process making it fun for the reader to read. In the case of it being more than one page, highlight only the most fitting skills and qualifications needed to fit the job you are applying for.
What to include in your cover letter:
Your name and contact details:
Put your name and contact details at the top of your cover letter. You don’t have to give your postal address, but you do need to include your email and phone number.
Your email address should create a professional impression. Don’t use an email address like email@example.com.
If you don’t have a professional email address, you can make one with a free email provider. Make it simple – something that includes your first name and your last name is a good way to go.
Their name and contact details:
Under your own name and contact details, you should include:
- The name of the person you’re writing to.
- Their position or the name of their company.
- Their contact details.
If you’re having trouble finding this information, you can call the company to ask who you should address your application to.
You can also use ‘To whom it may concern’, but it’s best to only use this as a last resort.
A list of your relevant skills:
Include a brief summary about how your skills and experiences match the job description. A short bullet list is fine, but if you can make it appealing and beautiful… even better!
If you’re answering a job advertisement, there may be a position description that lists essential skills and experiences. It may also have a list of ‘desirable/needed’ skills and experience. Your cover letter needs to respond to all of the items on the ‘essential’ list. You should also respond to as many items as you can on the ‘desirable’ list. If you have skills that you think will benefit the company and your application, definitely include them.
Remember that if you say you have a skill or experience, you need to show how you’ve used it or how you got it (for example, if you say you’ve got child-minding skills, mention some jobs where you’ve used them) or include references that they can contacts if needed.
A Reason of why you’re perfect for the job:
After listing your skills and experience, you should explain why you’re suited to the job (for example, ‘My ability to get along with anyone and my experience in solving customer problems in a retail setting make me ideally suited for this job.’) Sell yourself and your abilities.
Use a ‘call to action’ at the end:
Your cover letter should finish by asking the employer to read your resume. It should also ask them to contact you about a possible interview.
Try something simple like, ‘I have attached a copy of my resume. I look forward to hearing from you about this job/opportunity’.
Now that you know how to write the perfect cover letter, you’ll know how to attract the perfect job.