Fresh out of college and a world of opportunities await you! With so many firms and job portals to apply on, why stutter at the most basic of skills that you need to acquire anyway? Indeed, it is the much-dreaded task of writing cover letters, and we know just how confusing it can get.
From whom you write it to, and to how you sell yourself without sounding too pushy is actually an art that not many can master. But that is exactly the issue that this post aims to address.
Cover letters matter far more than you know, and well-written ones are guaranteed to get you climbing up the employers’ priority lists pretty fast. In fact, an impressive cover letter is just as important as a concise and crisp resume, and the perfect combination of both will land you the job of your dreams in no time!
Awesome tips to nail that cover letter
Let’s face it. Employers around the world receive thousands of job applications every day. But you can stand apart from those mounds of applications with a dazzling cover letter that compels them to shortlist your CV. That is where half of the battle is won, frankly. The rest needs to be taken care of on the day of the interview, but let’s focus on overcoming one hurdle at a time.
Always remember, an impressive cover letter has the potential to become the metaphorical key that unlocks a door of awesome opportunities. Here are 9 amazing tips on how to write a cover letter that never fails to impress, no matter the firm or the position that you are applying to.
1. Know What You are Writing for
Is it a specific job position or a letter of interest expressing your intent of applying for a job? Choose the type of cover letter first. For specific job positions, you would need to mention so in the opening line of your cover letter. In case of a letter of interest, however, you need to detail all your skills and express your interest in associating your professional self with the company in question.
2. Keep a List of Your ‘Pro’s Handy
We all know what we are good at. But human brains are weirdly wired, and sometimes it may even take days for a specific piece of information to resurface on our conscious minds. So when you are writing a cover letter, get done with the jittery task of listing out everything that you are good at. This way, you will be able to make faster progress when actually writing the cover letter.
3. Think Beyond Your Resume
Your cover letter needs to be the window to your professional self. While your resume is just a factual representation of who you are professionally, cover letters take a slightly different approach. Readily used technical jargon should limit itself to your CV or resume. Spruce up your cover letter by showing the employers what else you can bring to the table, and they are sure to take note.
4. Learn a Thing or Two about Structuring
Structuring a cover letter is pretty basic. Here are the primary elements that you must know about the structure of a cover letter. You can break away from the mould only if you deem the position or the company fit for it. For all other cases, try and stick to the following structure for your cover letter.
Heading: containing the name, designation and professional address of the recipient
Salutation: greetings (in the form of “Dear Jennifer/ Dear hiring manager)
Introductory paragraph: a brief overview of the purpose of writing the letter
Body paragraph 01: why you are perfect for the job/ firm
Body paragraph 02: why the firm/ job is perfect for you
Closing paragraph: signing off on a positive note, preferably with a CTA
Signature: formally signing off with your name, current employment and contact details
5. Create a Phrase for Each Strength Point
In your mind (or in the first draft), create meaningful phrases or sentences for each of the skills or strengths that you have listed about yourself. They can be anything, ranging from communication skills to problem-solving skills. Include those in your cover letter, but do not make it too long-winded either.
6. Never Write about Your Weaknesses
We all have our fair share of weaknesses or skills we wish had a firmer grip upon. But a cover letter is certainly not a place to vent out your distress at not having a particular set of skills. No matter how well you manage to gloss over the weakness with five other strengths, employers do not take pessimists or self-doubting into consideration when selecting prospective employers.
7. Use Short Paragraphs and Shorter Sentences
Use active verbs to show and not tell. Use short sentences to keep the flow smooth. Finally, keep your paragraphs short too. Your cover letter should be easy on the eye and ideally not cluttered with too much information or redundant pointers. Use bullet points if needed, but stick to a simple and short format that gets the job done without much ado.
8. Never Forget to Revise and Edit
Do not click on send before you have revised your cover letter at least five times. Be sure to eliminate all grammatical and spelling errors, and give it a thorough read a few more times just to be sure. Employers won’t cut you the slack over poor grammar and horrible spelling, so ensure that you submit a flawless one.
9. Format Your Cover Letter with Care
Finally, choosing the right font type and size is also important when it comes to writing an impressive cover letter. Go for an official font like Calibri, Constantia or Arial Narrow, and you will be good to go. Avoid hard-to-read and too tiny fonts. Ensure that the ones reading it find it legible too, and never go over the top just to be creative.
So that’s all there is to writing a cover letter that is sure to leave a great impression. Genuine efforts at putting together a carefully composed cover letter are sure to show, so why miss the opportunity of getting noticed by the employers, all thanks to your unique approach? Keep the tips discussed in this post in mind when you set about the task of writing a cover letter, and you will be sure to grab the attention of your (might-be) prospective employers right from the opening sentence! Good luck with your future endeavours!
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