Writing a Cover Letter
Writing A Cover Letter
Many people believe that a strategically targeted cover letter is the key to gaining that interview. There are two reasons for this:
The cover letter allows you to target the job and the employer in a very specific way, giving more detailed information on why you are qualified for the job you are applying for.
The cover letter should not just repeat the same information as in your resume, but should also tell the employer what is attractive about the job which you are applying for. You should include your unique skills and the qualities which you can bring to that job and to the company which you are applying.
So, what is a cover letter?
A cover letter usually accompanies each resume you sent out.
There are three different types of cover letters which you can use:
- Application letter - responds to a known (or advertised) job opening
- Prospecting letter - enquiries about possible positions
- Network letter - requests information and assistance in your job search
Writing a cover letter is not a simple task - it requires thought, knowledge and understanding.
Many employers will read your cover letter before even looking at your resume, so it is a very important document. You will need to do research of the company which you are applying. Your letter should also be written in an engaging style using keywords applicable to the job position you are either applying for or hoping to gain.
What should be included in your cover letter
Contact Details - Your contact details should always include your contact details so the employer knows how they can contact you. It should include your full name, address, phone number and email.
Date - It is vital to include the date you wrote the letter. It gives employers an indication of when the letter was written and sent.
Employer Details - Underneath date, you enter the employer's details, include: company name, contact person and their title, and address. This ensures that the letter arrives to the correct address and person.
Cover Letter Salutation - It is important to include the appropriate salutation to the letter. If you know the contact person's details then direct the letter to them. If you do not know their name, then 'To whom it may concern' will be appropriate.
The Body - The body is where you explain why you are interested in the advertised job. You should highlight your qualities and strengths and include the qualifications and experience you have for the advertised job position. In this section, you are using persuasive writing to convience the employer you are the right person for the job. Remember, you are selling yourself as a possible candidate to the reader. It is important to be specific so the reader can relate it back to the job position.
- First paragraph - should include information on why you are writing and applying for the job. Mention the job position which you are applying and where you saw it advertised.
- Middle paragraph - describes what you have to offer the employer and company. Make strong connections between your qualifications and experience for the position requirements. Mention your skills and strengths and match these to the job you are applying for. If your skills and previous experiences are numerous to mention, consider 'bullet points' rather than large blocks of text. This will make it more reader friendly and easier for the information to be absorbed.
- Final paragraph - conclude your cover letter by thanking the company or employer for considering you for the position. You could end on a nice note of mentioning you 'looking forward to hearing from you soon' or 'looking forward to your reply'.
Complimentary Close & Signature - End with a polite sign-off and write your name. Leave a space or two between sign off and name which allows you to enter your signature to close off the cover letter.