I used to have this problem every time I applied for a job, it would come time to submit my CV and I would have to attach a cover letter. A cover letter? What on earth does that mean? In my mind, this was a one page essay about my life and why I’m perfect in every way for this specific job.
Turns out, people don’t always have the time to read your cover letter, so an essay is not ideal. From my experience in cover letter writing, here are my tips:
- Customize. Cover letters are always different, they change based on the job you apply to. You can keep the same format but remember to customize it every time. Your skill set for one job may not be relevant at another.
- Keep it clear and concise. Avoid long run on sentences. It is easier for your reader and makes your cover letter look more organized. Also, make sure it reads professionally! Typos, grammar errors and misspelling someones name are huge no-nos.
- Summarize. Don’t give away all of yours cards immediately, leave some for the resume. For example, if you have 5 past jobs that would relate to this one, maybe mention the past 2 and leave the other 3 to be discovered in your resume.
One last helpful tip for a cover letter, the format.
Start off with your contact information and their contact information at the top of the page. Be sure to address them properly (Mr, Ms).
Following that, there are 3 sections, or paragraphs to the body of your cover letter:
- Who you are & what position you are applying for. Add to this section any other relevant information, like how you heard about the position.
- What skills & values you have that make you the perfect candidate, as well as any past experience that showcases this.
- Conclude. Mention that you have attached your resume, give specific details on contacting you and writing thank you for the opportunity and their consideration.
Then your signature .. and you’re done!
When cover letters are short and sweet, that’s when they are the best. It’s essentially a preview to your resume, that’s why you don’t give them all of your information, just a little bit to pique their interest and ensure that they look at your resume.
What is your best practice when writing a cover letter?