One of the main problems a lot of job seekers face; “how to write a cover letter” is demystified below. With this paper, you will experience a huge difference in your job seeking adventure when you implement the ideas presented below.
What is a cover letter
A cover letter is a letter that highlights your experience, objectives, skills as well as your achievements usually in a one-paged document – sometimes more. It is often required by recruiters and hiring managers to come along with your CV. A cover letter is one of the most important documents that you need as a job seeker apart from your CV. Your cover letter should ideally not be a one size fits all document as several jobs or career interests may require you to adjust and narrow your skills and experience that are relevant to the open position.
Why do hiring managers request cover letters?
Oftentimes, we have seen vacancies where applicants are required to attach a cover letter along with their CV. This is because your CV does not tell a “story”. Recruiters or hiring managers are trying to understand why you changed your last job or why you got a promotion twice in a year or why you moved from sales to tech.
See it as a way to meet with you before they meet with you. This is why you need an amazing cover letter that will present you as a potential employee who is going to be a valuable addition to the team.
Every employer wants a problem solver and your cover letter should present you as a solution to the problem.
Why should you include cover letters?
As identified above, you now understand why hiring managers request cover letters. It is however important that you also understand what advantage it presents for you among other applicants. Truth is, you do not need just a cover letter but one that is tailored towards the job and equally highlights your career journey.
Your cover letter is an amazing way to market yourself and improve on what is already written on your CV to the hiring manager.
Do I need to always send a cover letter? No!
If you are filling a form online and it is not required, then you do not need to worry about it. If you are applying via email, however, it is not harmful as it is more advantageous to add it than not to.
Here is a snippet of a discussion I had with an HR Manager
“Here is how a cover letter got me my first job.
I had recently graduated from school and served in the compulsory one-year youth corp service for all graduates in Nigeria two years earlier. I was not prepared and I did not understand how to go about getting a job. With the unemployment rate at 80 million according to nigerianstat.gov.ng at the time, most of my applications were a pin drop on the beach sand.
What did I do differently? I started to understand what was wrong and what I could do differently. So I engaged the service of a professional CV writer, got a coach, and added a cover letter with all my applications.
A job I was interested in at the time was advertised and it was at the period when e-commerce was booming in Nigeria – so it was a new industry. I was inexperienced but I applied and attached a cover letter highlighting what I could do, what I have learned about e-commerce and the amazing things that can happen in the country with this new industry. The hiring manager was curious about me so she called and a conversation ensued which led to me being hired the next day.”
In the above story, a few practical things should be learned:
- The person understood the challenge
- Engaged other professionals
- Beyond getting professional help, improved personally and studied
- The cover letter got the person a call but also maintained the momentum that the cover letter created by being ready.
Do you need to write a professional cover letter? Please follow these tips:
The goal is to make it a simple but memorable letter so that the recruiter can separate you from the other numerous candidates. If it’s difficult, use Reventify to access cover letter templates.
Keep it really simple
Limit repetitions and don’t make it too long. According to a study by Microsoft, the average human now has an attention span of eight seconds. What does this mean for a job seeker? To ensure that information on your CV, letters captures the important things immediately.
Highlight the important things first
To put it better, get the recruiters’ attention with your first paragraph.
Tell it like a story
Recruiters go through tons of CVs and letters daily and yours is not going to be different if it follows the same format. Make your CV, letters to tell a story.
Example; Dear James,
Good afternoon and trust work is going on well.
Permit me to tell you why you would like to have an interview with me for the position you advertised on LinkedIn yesterday at exactly 2:56PM.
Firstly, I have had my notification turned on so I can get notified when anyone from your team posts on LinkedIn…
Ensure that you greet the person you are addressing professionally.
Dale Carnegie said; the most important feeling to every human is that feeling of being respected.
Make a case.
Everything is a game of numbers and some business partners (HR) see everything as sales and marketing. What this means is that you are going to be hired to solve a problem or at least help the company get better in areas they are having challenges.
Your cover letter is an opportunity to tell the recruiter why you are the right person.
Choose a good font.
It’s advisable to use professional fonts such as San Serif instead of something too fancy. You don’t want to make it any harder for the recruiter to read your document.
Proofread the letter
Ensure to read the letter two times to identify errors and unnecessary information that are not relevant especially to the job.
Justify your letters.
Close the sale
Pick the curiosity of the recruiter. Some people call it a post-script.
I look forward to discussing with you how I was able to reduce my company’s
attrition rate by 7% within 6 months and how we can equally achieve this at your company since this is one of the most important highlights of the job description.
End the letter professionally
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
- With best regards.
For a more professional template for your resume and cover letters, check Reventify.
Cover Letter Templates:
The example below is for a new graduate who does not have relevant experience to get into the job market.
The reality is that 9 out of 10 vacancies posted require someone who can hit the ground running and the below cover letter is created for graduates without experience in order to find jobs.
Usually, it is advised to pick up internship roles that will prepare and give you the relevant experiences, but sometimes, having a written cover letter may be all you need to break in.
Many times, people get jobs that are meant for professionals simply because their cover letter earned them an interview and it did because it highlighted what they have done, steps they are taking, what they have learned, and what they are willing to do to be a championship player.
Reventify (a Smart CV platform) recently advertised a position for a junior recruiter and the below was received from a student of the University of Lagos:
The candidate was an interesting one because the candidate potentially has been doing what an experienced recruiter does daily and thus caught Reventify’s attention.
Use the below letter as a guide in identifying what is important as a student, a job seeker, or seeking a new job.
Take a look at a cover letter sample for a recent graduate.
Take a look at a cover letter sample for an experienced hire.
Land more interviews by using these steps and implementing all that is shared but remember, don’t use a one-size-fits-all cover letter or resume: Tailor your applications to the job always. Get a professional CV, Cover letter writing help by either subscribing to the career blog on Reventify or using its suite of services. Be courteous and professional: Use professional fonts, justify your letters, and remove all informal language.
This post is part of the dream job course, an 8 part series guide on landing your dream job.