Apart from your CV, a cover letter is an important requirement for most positions young graduates compete for. Many recruiters will want to know why you chose to apply for a given position, and what you think makes you qualified for it. A cover letter is your chance to get that extra attention, which might push you onto the next round and one step closer to the desired position. Writing a good cover letter however, is very challenging because it requires you to market yourself in the short space of only three, maximum four paragraphs. Many students, as well as graduates, find it hard to prepare a convincing and enticing cover letter to impress their recruiters. Moreover, it is not always the easiest job to show yourself in the best possible light in a single page. This article gives you some good tips on how to write a good cover letter.
The cover letter is not a summary of your CV
Many essay and dissertation writing service websites also offer assistance with CV and cover letter writing. Most of them unanimously agree that a good CV should not summarise your resume. Applicants often get confused and carried away giving details, which employers are able to find in their CV anyway. Remember: a good cover letter is not a summary of your CV. You don’t have to give the chronology of your working and educational experience again – the employers already have these details. What they want to know is how your particular skills and experience fit what they are looking for. For example – if you have experience as a sales assistant in your university library, explain how this would match any of the job characteristics of the position you are applying for. If it is not relevant – then don’t mention it! Just like with CVs, cover letters have to show only the most relevant information, but this time you will have the chance to explain to your audience why you included this information, and how it will make you a desirable candidate.
Structure your cover letter carefully
Cover letters should be engaging, but at the same time they have to be easy, as neutral as possible, and with a very clear structure. Use simple language, but don’t be simplistic. Make sure you are straightforward, and restrain yourself from using idiomatic expressions, exclamations or metaphors.
A standard cover letter consists of between three to four paragraphs. This of course may vary, but generally you need one opening paragraph explaining how you heard about the position and why you are interested in it. The second paragraph is more extended, and if you are a recent graduate with little or no experience, start with some relevant skills you acquired as a student and explain how they are related to the position. If you already have some relevant experience, use this paragraph to show yourself in the best possible light.
The third paragraph can be used to show how the company and the employer will benefit from having you on board. Explain what makes you a valuable addition to their team, and how your skills, experience and career goals will help you fit in.
The last paragraph can be used to briefly tell about you from a more personal point of view. Mention your interpersonal skills, your ability to work in teams, and what others (colleagues and friends) say about you.
Wrap up your cover letter quickly, in an elegant manner, and show your willingness to be considered for the position, and to hear from the employer again. Remember to proofread and revise your letter before you submit it.
Tailor your cover letter
Just like with CVs, cover letters need to be tailored. The employer needs to feel that this cover letter is written specifically to match their requirements, and that you have taken the time and effort to research their company, and their industry specifics. Also, they want to feel that you are really interested in this position. Whatever you want your employer to grasp about you, make sure you write it with passion. In your cover letter, try to sound sincere and natural. This does not mean that the cover letter has to be too personal. On the contrary – keep the professional tone, but do not be afraid to show your passion and interest in the particular industry. Even if you are not a textbook perfect candidate, your ambition, your spirit, and your desire to learn and grow might impress an employer more than a full set of qualifications, and years of professional experience.