How to Write a Great Cover Letter
How to write a great Cover Letter
by Karin Singh 13/10/2017
Do cover letters still matter nowadays? YES! They are an additional tool that will help you to promote yourself more effectively when applying for a job. How to write a great cover letter? An interesting question! Every cover letter should include the following key ingredients: the company’s name and address, the date, a subject line, the salutation, the opening paragraph, the hook in which you highlight the reasons why you are the best candidate, the call for action (for the company, e.g. to invite you to the interview) and the closing paragraph.
First of all, make sure you personalise your cover letter 100% to the company and to the job. Don’t use the so called “good resume templates”. A recruiter can easily distinguish a standard letter from a customised one. You need to think that the company has a problem, a hiring problem! And you are not a job beggar but a problem solver, basically the company’s solution to their problem.
Now your challenge consists in writing a great cover letter, well formatted, with no mistakes and relevant information. Here are some smart steps that I would advise you to follow:
#1 – If you send your cover letter via email, make sure you don’t choose the traditional boring formulation in your subject line, such as ‘My application for Job ref. n. 3473’, instead think more creatively. I personally always write ‘10 Reasons why you should hire me as your (job position)’. What do you think gets more attention? You can use the same subject line in your cover letter, too. Think of your subject line as the headline of an article!
#2 – Address the hiring person by name (make sure you get the name right, otherwise your application might end up straight in the rejection pile!) and if you don’t know, call up the company and find out. It does make a difference, and by the way, everyone loves reading their name!
#3 – Forget writing in your first paragraph the date and source where you found the job and so on. Everyone does that! How boring and space wasting! Instead, grab the attention with a more creative start and try to convey your excitement and passion for this job, for joining this company and its team.
#4 – The next paragraph is the hook, this is the most crucial part in which you must focus on the reasons that make you the best candidate for this job. Look at the job description and the person specification details and explain how your education, qualifications, skills, experiences and motivation can add value to the company’s success. Avoid repeating the same qualities that the company mentions in their job ad, instead focus on few crucial job requirements and present relevant examples of your past performance with measurable results. If you tackle this part correctly, I bet you will get easily invited to a job interview. Recruiters love to hear past success stories, they want to hear relevant figures and the difference and impact you made on other companies. They assume that if you could achieve a certain success in the past for a company, you can achieve the same success (or even more) for their company too.
When it comes to closing your cover letter, differentiate yourself again from the crowd. Whenever I write my proposals or bids to clients I finish with “Enthusiastically” rather than ‘Yours sincerely’. Why doing always what others do? Think differently, stand out, be MEMORABLE!
Once you re-read your cover letter, ask yourself: Is every line that I wrote relevant and does it promote me effectively, or are there any weaknesses that need to be improved?
Don’t hesitate to show your cover letter to others and listen to what their opinion is. It could be an eye-opening experience and really help you to succeed quicker in your job search.
But also bear in mind that there are some recruiters who completely ignore cover letters. They think it’s a waste of time and thus, focus on reading the candidates’ CVs instead. Hence, make sure you have 2 impressive documents, your cover letter AND your CV.
Karin Schroeck-Singh’s passion lies in creating, translating and promoting content of high-quality in multiple languages (English, German, Italian). She holds an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and is the author of several ebooks. She gained more that 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Helping businesses to optimise their online presence is her priority, no client tr project is too big or too small for her.
Stop worrying. Start outsourcing! www.hirekarin.com
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