Detailed Guide on How to Write a Cover Letter for Resume

When searching for a job, people usually have plenty of questions and doubts about their minds. What is a cover letter for a job? Will someone actually read it? What is the point of writing one if I include all the essential information in my resume? How to write a cover letter for a resume to increase the odds of getting hired?

In fact, cover letters do get read by potential employers. Moreover, some recruiters consider this document to be even more important than a CV. While resumes contain all the important basic details, cover letters provide an opportunity to tell what kind of person you are and help you stand out among other applicants.

In this guide, you will find detailed information about the crucial elements that your cover letter should include and learn how to make it unique and compelling.

What is a Cover Letter and Why It is Important

So, what is a cover letter? Is it similar to a resume? To answer these questions, let’s start with the cover letter definition. A cover letter (sometimes called a covering, motivational or accompanying letter) is a concise document in which you present yourself to the potential employer or a recruiter memorably and originally. It is designed to convey your individuality and prove that you are an excellent candidature for the job. This document is crucial when it comes to applying for a job. Well-written letters go beyond the brief facts presented in your CV and expand information about professional achievements and skills. It is a great opportunity to distinguish yourself among other candidates and convince your potential employer to hire you.

There is no standard format for cover letters and no typical information you should provide, but your document should be visually organized and orderly structured. It is crucial that your writing matches the company or the industry in terms of the format. Read further and find out how to write a compelling and memorable cover letter.

What to Put on a Resume Cover Letter

There is no use in trying to insert your whole biography and professional path in this short document. Thoughtfully select what is worth mentioning and what can provide a clear idea of you as a person. Your goal here is to prove that you can bring value to the company you are applying to. Here are the most important aspects that should be included in covering letters:

 

  • Mention how your professional experience meets the organization’s requirements and standards;
  • Prove that due to your unique set of skills, you are a great candidate for the job;
  • Explain why you want to join this company’s ranks and why this specific job is important to you.

All of this information should persuade the recruiter that you are the person they need in their company. To determine the content of your cover letter, focus on the job requirements, and implement the best practices:

 

  1. Prove that you know how to cope with problems and challenges. Just stating that you have brilliant problem-solving skills is not enough. You need concrete examples as evidence. Describe a specific problem that you resolved on the previous job and explain how you did that by employing your skills and abilities.
  2. Be honest and sincere. Dishonesty is not a good tactic when it comes to a job application. If you state that you have some skill or knowledge that you don’t possess in reality, you may find yourself in an unpleasant situation in the future. Imagine that someone asks you to use that skill, and the truth about your incompetence comes out.
  3. Try to be original. Avoid sounding like everybody else. Just think about how many covering letters job recruiters deal with regularly. If you insert standard formulas in your letter, there is little to no chance that you will make a positive and memorable impression on the reader. If it is too dull, the recruiter may not even read it till the end! Try word variations that sound original and novel.
  4. Use an appropriate tone. Be yourself, but choose the proper tone and voice depending on the organization you plan on applying to. Thoroughly research the company and determine the tone they would expect to see in your writing.
  5. Read your motivational letter several times. Check if your writing is free of any grammatical, punctuation, spelling errors, and typos. A good idea is to ask a friend or someone from your family to read the document and provide feedback.

Now you know what to put on a resume cover letter. With these guidelines, you don’t have to worry about making the right impression. However, there are still many other things to discuss. Read on and learn more powerful tips!

How to Start a Cover Letter to Make It Interesting for a Hiring Manager

At this point, you may wonder how to start a cover letter and make the recruiter want to read it till the end. First of all, you can skip mentioning your name in the beginning — it can be found on the resume. It is worth mentioning the position you apply for as the recruiter can be looking for candidates for many positions. Try introducing yourself with a lively, attention-grabbing sentence that shows excitement about the company and your passion for the job.

If you are sure about the recruiter’s full name, include it in the beginning along with “Ms.” or “Mr.” (for instance, “Dear Ms. Olivia Parker”). If you are not sure about the title because of the name, better skip it and address the reader with something like “Dear Business Analyst Hiring Manager.” It is recommended to avoid such archaic and stiff constructions like “Dear Sir or Madam.” Your document should be customized and free of generic salutations.

The Optimal Length for Your Cover Letter

Another important question is, “How long should a cover letter be?” Well, we recommend keeping it short and to the point. Normally, cover letters do not exceed one page. According to surveys, most employers prefer motivational letters that are half a page long. About 300 words would be enough.

If your cover letter is too long, you can always try cutting it down instead of rewriting. Read the document a few times and underline wordy explanations, sentences, or phrases that aren’t very informative, and then remove them.

Cover Letter Tips That Will Help You Get Hired

Want to make the right impression on your potential employer? Here are some useful cover letter tips on how to create a compelling letter that is interesting to read:

 

  • Do not exaggerate with your enthusiasm.

It is better to avoid such phrases as “I am absolutely overjoyed with the opportunity” or “I am very enthusiastically applying.” Show your personality and some excitement, but go easy on it and don’t be overly emotional. Remember that you should sound like a normal grown-up person.

 

  • Research the company before you start writing.

Demonstrate that you are well familiar with the values and culture of this company. Devote some time to thorough research: check their website and social media pages to read as much information as possible. This will help you get in the right mindset and provide an insight into the company’s tone, philosophy, and culture.

 

  • Avoid being overly formal.

Surely, to create a professional cover letter, you need to sound official and discreet. But if your tone is too formal, it makes your writing insincere and creates an impression that a robot composed your document. Instead, your hiring manager expects you to be approachable and friendly. Be genuine and prove that working with you is a great pleasure.

 

  • Do not apologize for the experience you lack.

Even if you don’t meet all the requirements, set the apologies aside. Avoid phrases like “Though my knowledge in this field is very limited…” or “I don’t have much experience in sales…” Why draw attention to your weak points? Highlight your strengths and applicable skills you possess.

 

  • Do not focus on education.

Your educational background shouldn’t be the point of focus. A hiring manager is likely to pay more attention to your work experience. Focus on the skill set that can be useful in your future job.

 

  • Give them some numbers.

Any recruiter will be happy to find some stats and concrete numbers. This is your opportunity to prove that you had a measurable impact on a company. It doesn’t necessarily mean doubling revenue on a previous job. Maybe you attracted more customers than your colleges or organized a remarkable number of events for a company? These numbers tell a lot about you as a potential employee and help you stand out among other applicants.

How to End a Cover Letter without Banal Phrases

Upon finishing the main body, you start thinking about how to end a cover letter. An original ending is as important as a good introduction. Do you know the phrase “I look forward to hearing from you”? Well, better, forget about it. The closing paragraph is the last opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in the company or explain why you can do this job better than anyone else. Try something like, “I feel enthusiastic about your organization’s purpose and believe that my [insert your skills] will be beneficial on this position.” Another option is to provide important details in the end. For instance, you are ready to relocate for this job.

How to Write a Cover Letter with No Experience

Surely, a rich professional background adds confidence and makes the process of writing easier. But how to write a cover letter with no experience and prove that you are a worthy candidate? Rest assured that even if you don’t have relevant experience in the field or any work experience at all, it is still possible to create an impressive cover letter. While motivational letters usually focus on prior work experience, another option is to emphasize soft skills you’ve obtained during extracurricular activities, volunteering, or educational programs.

Soft skills are difficult to teach – they are usually developed naturally. Many employers appreciate them more than expertise and hard skills, which are developed in the process of training. Apart from soft skills, tell about your willingness to obtain new skills in the position. This proves to the hiring manager that even though you don’t have expertise in the field, you are ready to learn and grow professionally by dedicating yourself to the job.

How to Write a Cover Letter Example Template

Use the provided example as a guide that helps you create a unique and compelling personal story that is interesting to read:

[Your full name]

[Your phone number]

[Your e-mail]

[A link to your portfolio or social media page]

[Date]

[Your potential employer’s name]

[The employer’s mailing address]

Dear [recruiter’s name],

[Address the hiring manager and indicate the specific job you are interested in. Tell how you found this company or position and show enthusiasm for work. If a friend or college told you about a vacant position, you can include this information.]

[In the second paragraph, tell about the skills you’ve obtained in a previous job or educational courses. Explain how you can use them in the position you are applying for. List your responsibilities and projects you participated in. Explain what impact you had on a previous company. Don’t be shy to mention your accomplishments or awards you received.]

[In the next paragraph, convince the reader that you are a perfect match for the offered role. Mention the information you found on their website that overlaps your values and motivations. Demonstrate your willingness to learn more and develop new skills relevant to the new job.]

[Show your excitement and enthusiasm in the closing paragraph. Thank your potential employer for devoting time to your candidature and reviewing your job application. Mention that you hope for a future call or interview.]

Sincerely,

[Your name and signature]

Hopefully, this “how to write a cover letter example” will help you a lot in your job application process!

How to Write a Cover Letter 2020

Now you have all the necessary information on what to mention and what to avoid in your application. Let’s summarize it and determine the key points:

  • Your cover letter should not include more than 250-400 words;
  • This document should convince the hiring manager that the vacant position was designed just for you;
  • Write an attention-grabbing introduction and a compelling conclusion to make your application memorable;
  • Explain why you are perfect for the job and demonstrate your passion for the company you want to be a part of;
  • Avoid generalizations and inessential details — be factual.

Writing a cover letter becomes easier once you have all the necessary information and guidelines. If you still have questions concerning how to write a cover letter 2020, contact us and get professional help.

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