CONTENTS Introduction : What is a cover letter and why you need one
Step 1 : The heading
Step 2 : The opening
Step 3 : The main part
Step 4 : The ending
Step 5 : The checklist
Sending cover letters by email : How to do this
Mistakes : What you MUST avoid when writing your cover letter
Conclusion : Some final thoughts
INTRODUCTION What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a letter that is sent with other documents to provide additional information. This book is for cover letters that you send with a resume or C.V. You can send a cover letter when applying to an advertised job vacancy or if you are making general enquiries about possible vacancies within a company.
Why do you need a cover letter?
A well written cover letter will make you stand out from the competition. It will increase your chances of getting an interview. Imagine a company advertising for a position. They receive hundreds of resumes. They don’t have time to read all of them immediately so they read through the cover letters. They find a thoughtfully written cover letter that states exactly how the applicant is a perfect match for the position advertised. This person is more likely to have their application considered further. Your cover letter is just as important as your resume and can mean the difference between you being contacted for an interview or being rejected.
What does a cover letter look like?
Your telephone number
Your email address
The name of the person you are sending the letter to
The name of the company
The address of the company
Any reference number that you may have been asked to quote
Dear (person’s name)
You need to state what position you are applying for and where you saw it
advertised. If it is a general enquiry state what positions you would be interested in. The main part This is where you write about your qualifications and experience. You should show the employer that you are a perfect match for their requirements. This part can be written in paragraphs, bullet points or a list. You are not repeating all the information from your resume, you are highlighting the skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
End the letter on a positive proactive note. Let the employer know when you are available for interview. You could state that you will phone the employer to arrange an interview. As this is a business letter end in a professional way.
Leave room to write your name
Can you use a template cover letter? There are many template letters which are useful to look at as they give you a general idea of how cover letters are structured. I suggest that you look at those that are relevant to the kind of work that you are searching for. However, some employers receive hundreds, even thousands, of cover letters and they are aware of what the template letters look like. Although it takes more time and effort to write your own cover letter I feel that it is worth it as the employer will certainly notice. Also, when you are asked to go for an interview the employer may ask you to expand on the qualities and skills that you wrote about in your letter. It is much easier to do this if you wrote the letter yourself from scratch.
How do you set out a cover letter?
The most effective way is :
Using Arial, Verdant or Times New Roman in 10 or 12 font size. If possible use the same font as your resume. Make sure your cover letter fits on one page, not more. Leave spaces between paragraphs. Print out on white or cream paper. Don’t forget to sign it.