You've literally found the job of your dreams and from the requirements, you're so qualified for the job role. You are certain that once you're interviewed, the recruiter will not take a second guess at whether to hire you or not. However, the call for applications states clearly that you're to send a cover letter for your CV. Now you're stuck wondering what a cover letter could be.
Well, if you're anyway in this shoe, we want you to know that we've got you. You're at the right place, and at the right time. In the next 5-10 minutes, you're going to understand exactly what a cover letter is, its purpose, and how you can come up with a badass cover letter on your own. Stick around and let's begin!
A cover letter is a document added to a job application that gives the recruiter concise information about who you are, what you do, how good you are at it and your motivation for wanting to join the organization. It is simply a summary of your CV but with a bit of personal marketing.
Check out this article to know the difference between a cover letter and a resume.
You’ve probably asked yourself at some point, “If I’m going to send my CV for a job opening, why do I need a Cover Letter anyway?” Well, here are a few reasons the recruiter still asks for a Cover Letter alongside your CV while submitting an application.
It gives an interviewer more personal information about you. It also helps the interviewer connect with you on a personal basis.
It makes you stand out from other applicants.
It gives you room to share your knowledge about the company and what value you can bring on board which is unique to the company.
It helps you compel the recruiter to go through your CV and also invite you for an interview.
It serves as a supplement to your CV, giving creative information about you to the recruiter.
Now that you know how important a Cover Letter is, let’s get to it. Below are simple but necessary steps to get the best Cover Letter there is.
Just like your CV, your Cover Letter should begin with your contact details and information about you. Your name, contact address and numbers, email address and also your job title should all be included in your header.
The next thing you would want to do while getting your Cover Letter ready is to address the reader who will most likely be the recruiter. Keep in mind that it is totally okay to try and get the name of the hiring manager for the firm and address the letter directly to him/her. LinkedIn is one good way to find out the name of the hiring manager, or you can look at the opening to know if the hiring manager attached his/her name to it. Once you get the name, your address will look like this.
Dear Mr Kungawo,
Pretoria, South Africa.
However, if you are not able to get the name of the Hiring Manager, you can have an address that says:
To the Hiring Manager,
Pretoria, South Africa.
Never make the mistake of having “To whom it may concern” on your cover letter. It isn’t a professional thing to do.
In addition, some cover letters are written as the body of the mail when submitting an application. In such a situation, it may not be suitable to use a formal letter addressing. A formal letter approach is most suitable when the cover letter is being submitted as a document.
When you’re done with the address, you then introduce yourself properly. Just this introduction will determine if the hiring manager will invite you for an interview or not, so it must be engaging. This is where you talk about why you are a good fit for the company. For example:
“As a Project Manager with over 5 years of experience, I was excited to see your opening for the role of a Project Manager. I have worked on and managed several projects ranging from campaigns to launch projects with strict budgets. I am positive that with my skills I can help XYZ services manage and execute projects seamlessly.”
The next thing you should do would be to let the recruiter know why you are a good fit for the company. What are the transferable skills that you have? What have you been able to accomplish in the past? What ideas do you have that you can implement in the new role? These are the things the recruiter will be looking for in your cover letter. Here’s an example:
“In my current position, I have been directly involved with the digital marketing strategies of the brand. I have created campaigns and launched projects which have helped sell the brand product to clients. Currently, through the marketing campaigns I spearheaded, we have converted 35% of our audience to customers in the past 3 months. We have also had an increased lead generation by 50% in the past 4 months across all marketing platforms.”
At this point, you will have to let the hiring manager know you want this job, and just any job. This part of your cover letter will dwell on the experience you believe you will have while working with them. After all, every employer wants you to enjoy working with them, because that way, you’ll stay longer. Here’s a motivation that works:
“Having studied the ABC company and having a clear understanding of the organizational goals, visions and culture, I am certain that I would truly enjoy my stay as a part of the organization. I am also certain that the work environment will enable me to give my very best to the company as we achieve our corporate goals.”
End the letter with a promise of sharing your ideas and thoughts to meet the company’s needs once you are invited for an interview. This way, the hiring manager begins to look forward to a productive conversation with you during an interview. Also, keep your closing salutation formal at the end of the letter. The following words can suffice;
While you’re working on having the best cover letter to send in alongside your application, there are some things you should keep in mind.
Don’t use the same cover letter for multiple job openings. It’s always better to tailor your cover letter to the applications as they come.
Don’t make your cover letter too long. Let your CV be more elaborate, but a good cover letter is short.
Avoid typos and errors in your cover letter. Too many errors communicate that you struggle with written communication and that may not sit well with the hiring manager.
Don’t just repeat everything on your CV in the cover letter. Be creative about it. Your cover letter is only a supplement to your CV, not a replacement.