A cover letter is the ideal place for you to highlight exactly what you have to offer to potential employers. The idea is to show your ability to add value to an organization unlike any other candidate applying for the same post. However, as we all know, sometimes attempting to “stand out” from the crowd can end up doing so by putting us in negative light rather than the positive. Luckily for you, we have devised a simple 5-step process to help you write the perfect cover letter!
STEP 1: NAIL THE BASICS
You need to ensure that your email is addressed directly to the hiring manager(s). You would want to make some extra effort to find this bit of information if it is not easily available online, though most of the time, Google will have your back!
Remember to be concise, after all it’s a cover letter, not a cover thesis. Don’t let this exceed a single A4 sheet – that’s stretching it already. If you haven’t managed to reel in the recruiter in the first 100 words, it’s unlikely you’ll succeed in the next 900.
STEP 2: DEMONSTRATE INTEREST
Show your interest in the position you are applying for. Demonstrate your eagerness, your drive. Learn about the organization, its structure and its culture. Give a compelling reason about why you would fit those researched parameters – link them to your previous experience to conclusively wrap your argument. Show that you understand their unique setup and how you can add value to the company.
STEP 3: IDENTIFY KEYWORDS FROM THE JOB DESCRIPTION
Hiring Managers get hundreds, sometimes even thousands of applications per job opening. Their initial screening of your letter will involve a quick scan for choice keywords – you should ensure that you incorporate them to survive the first shortlisting.
You would want to make it easier for the recruiter to identify you as an ideal candidate by scanning the posted job description for keywords defining the job, the industry, the job role, and integrating them in an accessible and easy to skim manner. You’ll greatly increase your chances of making the first cut!
STEP 4: END ON AN ACTIONABLE ITEM
The sign-off is critical! You need to reiterate your interest in the position, while also inviting interaction from the recruiter. This could be in the form of a simple expression of interest in a follow-up conversation to further discuss how you would make for the perfect candidate to fill the gap being addressed. Make sure to make your point while keeping in mind not to come off too strong!
STEP 5: PROOFREAD
You do not want to overlook this part – we can not emphasize this enough. Ideally, you should proofread at least two times, but we would recommend getting someone else to do it for you as well, getting a fresh pair of eyes is never a bad idea – you do not want to leave any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes of formatting blunders in the final version of your cover letter!
In summary: Be brutally concise, be interested, be vigilant for mistakes in the language – if you can follow all of steps mentioned above, you’re well on your way to getting shortlisted!