Writing The Excellent Cover Letter

Writing The Excellent Cover Letter

What is a Cover Letter?

A covering letter is a letter of intro accompanying any written communication that requires explanation. A covering letter is your first and best chance to explain why you are perfect for the position in job-seeking terms.

A good covering letter can be of even greater worth than a suitably formatted CV. Though you should undoubtedly be tailoring CVs to the position on offer, a cover letter allows you to specifically highlight the skills that are most suitable for the job.

It’s also the perfect platform for showing why you’re applying for a role with that company instead of any other: this information rarely falls within the remit of a CV. A great cover letter should contain:

What to Include in a Cover Letter?

As with most writing pieces, the key to making an excellent cover letter is to have a strong beginning, middle, and end.

Introduction

Capture the reader’s attention by keeping it to the point. For example, state the actual position you’re applying for if you’re replying to a specific advert, or justify why you’re applying to that particular company if you’re applying speculatively.

Experience and Skills

This section explains how your talents fit the advertised role using the job spec for structure. Concentrate on transferrable skills if the job you’re applying for is in a distinct sector to the one you’re presently working in.

The Company

Reveal your passion for the company you’re applying to by describing how you fit with and can contribute to its successes and values.

The Sign-off

End on a positive note by describing that you’d welcome the chance to satisfy the people you’re applying to and discuss your suitability in more detail.

Sample Cover Letter

The following is a traditional example of a covering letter, the type you would wish to send for a business, accountancy, or retail job. Some sectors – especially in creative industries – would discover this letter too formal.


A Cover Letter, Your CV's Wingman

Cover letters appear straightforward enough, but there is an art to creating them stand out. It is your first prospect to make a good impression and impact. A cover letter is not always mandatory. However, these days, with job applications via media such as LinkedIn, it's less common. Nevertheless, we recommend attaching a cover letter when emailing a job application, as this is a formal and polite way of presenting yourself via email.


Cover Letter with CV

Having spent the time perfecting your covering letter, your CV must deliver on the promises you have made. Both documents should be tailored to their audience and the job that you’re applying for, and they need to work in harmony:

  

Never mention anything about your talents that aren’t also in your covering letter.

  

Ensure everything you highlight in your covering letter is relatively easy to encounter in the CV you submit.

  

Using the same font and formatting in both documents will look, extra professional.

  

Aim for consistency in the formality of both documents

  

When emailing your application, include your CV as an attachment, but put your covering letter in the main body of the email.

  

Follow the Office Angels guide to writing a tip-top CV for best results. Within the same area of our website, you will also find advice for other aspects of your job search, such as best practices for interviews.

  

Remember, you can always talk to our friendly and highly skilled recruitment advisors for advice when applying for your ideal job.





Things to Avoid When Writing a Cover Letter

A Cover Letter, Your CV's Wingman

Cover letters appear straightforward enough, but there is an art to creating them stand out. It is your first prospect to make a good impression and impact.

A cover letter is not always mandatory. However, these days, with job applications via media such as LinkedIn, it's less common. Nevertheless, we recommend attaching a cover letter when emailing a job application, as this is a formal and polite way of presenting yourself via email.

  • Not following instructions
  • Using the wrong format
  • Mentioning why you are looking for a new job
  • Utilizing the same cover letter for every application
  • Writing without researching the company and position
  • Discussing irrelevant work experience 
  • Avoiding to highlight your most vital or most relevant skills
  • Focusing on job duties instead of achievements
  • Talking about salary expectations
  • Repeating details from your resume
  • Forgetting to proofread before submitting your cover letter

It is essential to follow the employer's instructions. Employers often deliver specific instructions for what your cover letter should include. Your cover letter should be easy, and it should provide the information. Use this opportunity to provide all the required information to the hiring manager.

What to do:Read the job post carefully and make sure you include all the information in your cover letter. For example, if the job post requests a PDF, make sure you save your files as PDF. 

Selecting the proper format for your cover letter completes it easy for the hiring manager to read. While you like your cover letter to be unique, evade being too artistic or wordy. Breaking large blocks of text up into short makes it easier for the hiring manager to skim through your letter. And it will also help to find the essential information. Limiting graphics and color allows you to focus on your most important points.

What to do:Select a perfect cover letter template and then customize the template as required and make it stand out from all the other candidates. Always make sure your cover letter should be maximum of one page long, with one-inch margins and a space between each section.

There is no need to explain why you are looking for a new role in your cover letter. Instead focus on discussing why you are interested in the role and company you are applying for and how you will be an asset if they choose you for the position.

What to do:Keep everything in your cover letter positive and focused on your future. Describe your skills, strengths, talents, and accomplishments from the previous roles.

Even if you use a template to get a suitable format, the content of your cover letter needs to be updated and relevant. Writing a great cover letter requires you to tailor the content to the specific needs and requirements of the position and company you are interested in. Therefore, your cover letter should be updated every time you submit it to a new role.

What to do: Always begin your cover letter by addressing the hiring manager. First, make sure your cover letter mentions the specific title you are applying for. Then, discuss how your skills and talents are an asset to the company and how your values align with the company's culture, mission, and vision.

Writing a cover letter tailored to the essentials of the position and the company needs research. Researching the company allows you to identify the things that matter most. It will help you determine what information to include and shows how you are the best candidate for their company.

What to do: Companies often highlight the necessities to the specific role or about themselves. So read the job description carefully and identify the information required to include in your cover letter. Next, review the company's mission and vision statement and look through their website for further details. Then only prepare your cover letter and make sure all the necessary information is added according to the company.

Another common mistake is using your cover letter to explain why you are missing appropriate experience. While you may want to ease any concerns the hiring manager has about your experience you want to avoid making it obvious that your experience is irrelevant.

What to do: Focus on highlighting how your experiences helped you be the best candidate for the particular position. Discuss the things your experience has led you and how it has guided you to the role you are applying for. Ensure you explain how you intend to transfer the skills and knowledge you learned from the experience or previous role to add value to the company and succeed in your new role.

You may also need to make your cover letter explain why your resume doesn't list specific talents the employer included in their job description. As mentioning irrelevant experience, you need to avoid making a weakness or missing skills. It is vital to make sure your cover letter highlights the skills that are your greatest strengths and most relevant to the role you are applying for.

What to do: Begin with reviewing the job description and uncovering the skills it asks for that match your greatest strengths. Then, think about the experiences and accomplishments to prove these skills are your strength. Avoid listing irrelevant skills that will not help you succeed in the role, even if those are your strength.

Your resume will list the tasks and responsibilities you had in your previous roles. Your cover letter should explain those duties by discussing professional achievements or how you went beyond the expectations of your position.

What to do: Talk about any professional achievements only, such as awards or special recognition. If you have had several professional achievements throughout your career, pick the ones most relevant to the position you are applying for, and they should be most impressive.

What are you supposed to put in your cover letter?
Your hiring manager will looking for some specific information in your cover letter. So always make sure your cover letter includes:

  • Your contact information
  • A professional salutation
  • An introduction to the hiring manager
  • Your most important qualifications
  • A strong conclusion that motivates them to take action
  • Your signature

Besides the details listed above, your cover letter should contain only the details you need to make the most compelling argument for why you are the best candidate for the role.