How to Write a Cover Letter

1 minute read | 10 May 2022

Job hunting is a tricky process. For many, the most difficult part is getting their CV perfect (for our tips and templates click here), but for others it is the process of writing an effective cover letter which can be more challenging. A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit alongside your CV as part of your job application. Because we are your Career partner for life, we decided to put together our best tips and pointers on how to write a stand-out cover letter.

A cover letter is a supplement to your CV - not a replacement, so you don’t have to repeat or summarise what is already in your resume. The main goal is for you to introduce yourself and explain information not already mentioned in your CV. On average a cover letter should be from 200 to 450 words and never more than one-page.

There will be situations for example, when applying for a job online where you may not be able to include one, but whenever possible you should. Submitting a cover letter allows you a better chance of capturing the attention of the person in charge of the recruitment process and, if done right, it is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from all the other candidates as well as show the human side behind the CV.

Before writing your cover letter it's important that you do your research. While reading the job description thoroughly is essential, it might not be enough. To write the most effective cover letter you should research who will be reading it, the organisation itself and its culture, the industry, and the organisations goals. By knowing these points, you can craft something that is tailored to that job and company which will increase your chances of success.

Structure.

Like your resume, presentation is key. Make sure you use the same font and size and you used in your CV and that the document looks presentable and uncluttered. This is the main Cover Letter structure we purpose you use:

  • Header - Input contact information (name, phone number, email)
  • Greeting the hiring manager.
    If you're struggling to find a named contact, you can use a general greeting such as:
    • Dear Sir/Madam
    • Dear Hiring manager
    • Dear Human resources director.

  • Opening paragraph - Grab the reader’s attention with 2-3 of your top achievements
  • Second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
  • Third paragraph - Explain why you’re a good match for the company
  • Formal closing
Focus on the future.

While your CV looks back at your experience and professional and academic background, the Cover Letter should focus on the future and your professional goals.

Tailor it.

You should always rewrite you cover letter and tailor it to the position you are applying. Sending a generic letter rarely yields positive results so always make sure to tailor it to each position and company.

USPs.

USPs are unique selling points. In your Cover Letter you should highlight yours in a positive way. Showing what you have to offer while demonstrating why you’re the perfect candidate, increases your chances of getting the job.

Extra Tips.

Do:

  • Have a strong opening statement highlighting why you want the job and what you bring to the table.
  • Be succinct — a hiring manager should be able to read your letter at a glance.
  • Keep it short – one-page maximum.
  • Share an accomplishment that shows you can address the challenges the employer is facing.

Don’t:

  • Try to be funny — too often it falls flat.
  • Send a generic cover letter — customize each one for the specific job.
  • Go overboard with flattery — be professional and mature.

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