Job hunting can be hard work. From searching for jobs that match your skills, to shortlisting jobs, and then going through job interviews, it is both nerve-wracking and time-consuming. Writing an effective cover letter is one way to go above and beyond the recruiter’s expectations, improving your chances of securing interviews, while showing your genuine interest towards the job.
Discover how to write a cover letter for a job application so you can succinctly communicate your professional expertise and experience. You only have one opportunity to make a good impression, so make it count.
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Why Do You Need a Cover Letter?
Not every job application will require a cover letter. This leads many to an important question: is it even necessary?
The answer is yes. A cover letter is a single page document (you have to keep it short and concise) that you submit as part of your job application, together with your resume. It is important to your job application because it will provide a brief summary of your professional background. It is also a tool you can use to express your desire to get the job and why you’re a good fit.
When written well, your cover letter can capture the attention of the HR manager. Leaving an impression is crucial, especially if HR managers have to go through numerous applications for that job position.
How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job Application: Structure
Now that you know the importance of a cover letter, the next step is to write it. You need to follow a specific structure when writing this letter in order to cover all the essential information you need.
Here is a tried and tested format when writing your cover letter:
- Header – This section contains the job applicant’s basic and contact information.
- Introduction/Greeting – This section must be carefully written so as to capture the HR manager’s attention. Keep it professional.
- Opening paragraph – This section will briefly summarize why you pursued the job position and why you’re a good fit.
- Body – This section is where you will detail your skills, educational background, and previous job experiences. This will serve as a supporting section for the statement above.
- Formal closing – This section is where you show gratitude to the HR manager for reading the letter and provide your contact information (if you haven’t already).
How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job Application and Get Hired
When it comes to knowing how to write a cover letter for a job application, job seekers have a lot of questions. You already know the ideal structure of a cover letter. The information that is contained in it is what is most important. The best way to impress HR managers and recruiters is through your skill set.
You need to hook them with a strong introduction. Be concise and straight-forward. It shows confidence when you address them directly but in a professional manner. Use this opportunity to show your passion and add some personality into it.
How do you do this? You can highlight a past achievement that is relevant to the job description. You can express your love for the company – why you want to work for them. Or better yet, you can express your passion in this particular field.
It is also crucial that you prove you are the best candidate for the job. This part is all about selling yourself. You need to be confident but not arrogant. When you convey confidence, make sure you have the skills and experience to back it up. Resist the urge to embellish; you should never stretch the truth.
Demonstrate why you are the best fit for the job by providing details of your previous job experience that is most similar to the current job you are applying for. Focus on the results and the methods you used to deliver those results.
Lastly, you should avoid irrelevant information. Focus on the job position and the skills that you want to present to your future employer. Do not waste their time with unnecessary information that has nothing to do with the job, even if you think that a particular skill or job experience is impressive.
Whatever you do, it is important to avoid sending a generic cover letter. Experienced recruiters will be able to see right through it. Nothing is as unimpressive as a cover letter that is not tailored or lacks enthusiasm. When you compliment the company, avoid going overboard with it.
Expert Writing Tips
In addition to the technical writing tips above, there are additional ways to write your cover letter that will make your job application stand out. Here are additional tips that you can use to gain that edge.
- Research about the company. It is important that you have some knowledge about the company you are applying for because it shows your sincerity in landing the job.
- Research the job you are applying for. Read through the job description and identify the skills they want. You can use the company website and read their About Us page to learn more about the team. If you can check the executives’ social media accounts, do that. This will help you to get a sense of the company culture.
- Check the company website to learn about their products and services. The more you know about what the company does or offers, the more you can tailor your cover letter to match the expectations of the company.
- Write about the future. Even if you are presenting your past experiences and former jobs, it is important to address the company in the future when writing your cover letter. It is important that you present yourself as being part of the company and what you hope to achieve there.
- Offer personal value. Drawing on the information you have gathered about the company and the challenges it faces, offer yourself as one of the possible solutions. Let them realize your value as an addition to the team.
Knowing how to write a cover letter for a job application is only one step towards landing your dream job. It’s no guarantee that you will get the job. However, it is crucial so you will get a shot at being interviewed.