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How to write a cover letter

Each time you apply for a job, you will need to write a cover letter. This is the first document that hiring managers will see about you. It creates an impression of you (either positive or negative) and will be the deciding factor whether your application moves past the skimming stage. You want to convince the hiring manager to read your resume.

You should write a new covering letter for each job you apply for because you need to tailor the letter to the job.

So, here are a few tips for writing your cover letter:

  • Address it to the right person: A cover letter is your chance to speak directly, and personally, to the person who might read your resume. If you do not have a name, try to find one. You could check on LinkedIn or ring the company directly and ask for the name of the head of recruitment.
  • Introduce yourself and the job you are applying for: the opening paragraph should be one to three sentences long. State what job title you are interested in. Then state one key, standout reason you’d want to work for this employer. This shows that you have done your background research on the company.
  • Why you are the perfect fit for the company: In the next paragraph, explain why you are the right person for the job. Do this by taking the key requirements from the selection criteria and describing 2-3 examples of relevant experiences or achievements from your work history to illustrate that you have the qualities and relevant skills.
  • Why the company is the perfect fit for you: In this paragraph explain why you have chosen to apply to this company. Perhaps one of their recent projects aligns with your values, such as a charity program they run. Perhaps you have seen a recent story about them in the media.
  • A strong conclusion with a call to action: Finish your letter in a confident way that encourages the recruiter to move you to the next stage of the application process. Say that you are enthusiastic and looking forward to the opportunity to discuss it further. Include your phone number and email address and use a formal sign-off such as “Yours sincerely”.

Make sure your letter is free of spelling and grammar errors. Ask someone to review it before you send it.

Finally, if you need help in writing a good cover letter, contact us at Words Matter.

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