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Writing a well-rounded cover letter is an essential part of almost any job application process. It’s a chance for you to not only impress your potential employer but also give a voice to your capabilities as a professional. A cover letter can be the difference between being looked over and being invited for an interview. So, let’s find out how to write a cover letter an employer would want to read!
Maintain a clear structure
A strong cover letter is clear, concise and easy to read, all of which can be achieved through a set structure. Typically, you should start with a salutation like “Dear Ms Smith” or, if you don’t know the name of the person you are writing to, “Dear Hiring Manager,” or “Dear Recruitment Committee,”. You then move on to the body of the letter which can be split into three plain paragraphs: opening, middle and closing. At the end of your letter, remember to sign off formally with a “Yours sincerely,” or “Best regards,” followed by your name in the next line.
The opening paragraph briefly introduces your profile, which job or role you’re applying for and what makes you stand out from the other applicants. Your goal is to grab the attention of the hiring manager so they will want to read on.
The middle section focuses on why you’re applying for the job, why you’ll be a good fit and the impact you made in your most recent employment or workplace. This solidifies your credibility and candidacy for the job.
In the closing paragraph, summarize your skills, emphasize your motivation and state how you can positively contribute to their organization. Before signing off, be sure to thank them for their time and tell them you look forward to hearing from them.
Complement your CV
A common misunderstanding when writing a cover letter is that you should merely restate the skills, qualifications and experience listed in your CV. But a good cover letter takes the most relevant skills, experience and achievements from your CV, and elaborates on them. Look at the cover letter as a chance to explain to hiring managers your selling points, qualities and potential in more detail. For example, if you wrote in your CV 'Led a team of five local salespeople', you might say in the cover letter, 'In my two years as sales manager, my team of five salespeople increased sales by 40% and reported higher levels of well-being and motivation.'
Address the job requirements
No matter how many cover letters you send out, you should always try to personalize each one.
The key is to match your qualities and experience to the requirements of each individual job.
Very often, applicants will have one generic letter that they send out to many employers and thereby neglect to address the nuances and specific requirements of each job. Most recruiters and employers have a nose for sniffing out such letters and thus are unlikely to invite you to a job interview. So, even if it takes you a little more time, make sure all your cover letters are unique and speak to the job you are applying for.
Tone of voice
Aside from the structure and content of your letter, it’s also important to pay attention to the way you write. Write in a direct manner as you would if you were answering questions in an interview. And unless otherwise necessary, avoid using technical jargon. Finally, you want to write in a positive and confident tone, but be careful not to overdo it.
Keep these things in mind when writing your next cover letter.
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