How to write a cover letter

When it comes to job hunting the biggest hurdle for many is the dreaded cover letter. Generally, information in a CV is longstanding and can be tweaked with updates, however, cover letters should be tailored per job application.

Experts continue to say, you should always include a cover letter as it is the best chance to get the attention of HR or the hiring manager and differentiate yourself from other applicants.

So where should you start? Particularly when starting from scratch, a guide, like we’ve put together below should be very helpful!

Intro: How to write a Cover Letter

A cover letter is a great way to add a personal touch to any job application and make sure your CV doesn’t get overlooked. It serves as your introduction to a potential employer – if you use the position description or job ad as a base, you can connect your skills and experience to what they are looking for upfront before they even get to your CV. Your cover letter should be concise, well written and intriguing for the reader – if it is they are more likely to read your resume. A tailored version also shows enthusiasm, organisation and most importantly, sincere interest in the position.

Start with: Structure & Heading

Get the basics right first, make sure you include the following key information:

  • Full Name (& Preferred name if you have one)
  • Home Address
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Date: day/month/year

Cover letters should be addressed to an individual rather than to Sir or Madam, so try to research and find the contacts name on their company website or via LinkedIn. If you are unsure call the company directly and ask for a specific name of the hiring manager.

The First Paragraph
Provide a short introductory paragraph on why you are applying detailing your interest in the position. Also briefly introduce your background and experience – keep it top line though, just summarise why you fit the brief of what they are looking for as per their advertisement. It’s important to get some of this key info in early as it entices the hirer to read on.

The Body
The body should be one to two paragraphs long and expand on your specific experiences/skills relevant to the position. You can also detail here what interests you in the role and why you are interested in working for their company. Do some research about the company so you can understand their core services, values and mission statement and try to showcase this knowledge. Point out what value can you bring to the team and business, remembering to expand on your key experiences they have asked for in their job description.

Eliminate the Fluff
A cover letter is not the time for fluffy, longwinded sentences or your life story – you have a short period to grab the person reading its attention so keep it concise and get to the point. You can still use expressive language to showcase your passion but use evidence/facts where possible and focus on quality over quantity.

Write in a direct manner
se strong and confident language such as ‘I believe I would be a valuable addition to your business’ – steer away from phrases like ‘I think I would’ – don’t give them any doubt that you wouldn’t be perfect for the job.

The Closing
Make sure you end with a closing paragraph that summarises your skills/experience and why they meet the brief. It’s serves as a quick recap and reminder. Then thank the employer/hiring manager for taking the time to read over your CV and consideration of you in the role.

Sign off
We suggest you sign off with formal language such as Sincerely, Regards, Best, Best regards, Kind regards or respectfully – and makes sure you add a signature.

Every cover letter should be tailored to the job application but this template/guide will provide the framework needed to much putting it together much easier!

Good luck!

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