Cover letters are a staple of the job-hunting process. The idea is to explain why your resume should be considered and showcase your personality. You can write cover letters on your own or hire a professional writer, but it’s always good to have one in hand. Here are some tips for writing an effective cover letter:
Start With A Template
A cover letter template is simply a sample of what you should be writing so that you can create your own and have it look professional. It’s important to use the right template for the job and company you are applying to (if they provide one).
This will ensure that your cover letter looks like all other cover letters they receive. The reason for doing this is because recruiters and hiring managers tend to only read the first few sentences before deciding whether or not they want to continue reading. If yours doesn’t read well, it won’t get read at all!
Keep It Short
The best cover letters are short and sweet. They give a brief overview of your skills, experience, and accomplishments. If you’re applying for an entry-level position, keep it simple; mention what you can do for the company and how it will benefit them to hire you.
If you’ve got more experience under your belt (and thus more to brag about!), use this opportunity to prove that you bring value to any situation.
Don’t be afraid of getting specific about exactly what it is that makes someone stand out from their peers or competitors whether that’s through hard work or innovative thinking or some other unique accomplishment. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering just show off one thing in particular that makes them different from everyone else who applied.
Organize The Layout
The next step to a great cover letter is organizing your layout. The goal of this part is to make the reader want to read on and fully understand what you are saying. When writing a cover letter, it’s important to remember that not all people have the same skills or experience as you do in the workforce.
Some might be less familiar with certain topics than others so it’s important to keep everything very clear and concise throughout your entire document.
You can use templates that are available online or download them from various websites such as Microsoft Word or Google Drive (there are many more). They’ll help organize your layout into sections such as Contact Information, Summary/Resumé/CV, Experience, and Education.
Use 5-8 Sentences
When writing a cover letter, it’s important to choose a tone that matches the job and company. Most applicants use five to eight sentences in their cover letters.
Using five sentences can indicate that you are new to professional writing. You want to make sure your tone is friendly and welcoming but not too casual so that it doesn’t come off as unprofessional or uninterested in the position being offered.
Using more than seven sentences may indicate that you’re trying too hard to impress the employer by listing off your best qualities without showing how those qualities will benefit them specifically if they hire you for this role, which makes you appear desperate rather than confident in yourself as an applicant.
If using fewer words seems challenging, remember there’s no need for flowery language or excessive descriptions when describing yourself or selling yourself on paper simply be direct with what makes you unique!
Write Like A Human, Not A Robot
Use contractions (like don’t, can’t) and common slang where appropriate. Don’t sound like you’re writing your cover letter from the Victorian era!
Correct grammar (e.g., “There” versus “Their”). The same goes for punctuation: don’t confuse an apostrophe with an ellipsis, and don’t leave out commas where they’re needed.
Correct spelling of words that should be spelled correctly for example: “their,” “there,” or “they’re.” If there’s any doubt in your mind as to whether or not a word is spelled correctly, look it up before proceeding! If necessary, ask someone else to proofread your work before sending it off into the world (or uploading it online).
Formatting errors are another easy way to make yourself look unprofessional and they’re also easy enough to fix if you just put some effort into making sure everything looks right before sending it off!
For example: do not use all capital letters; avoid too much boldface text; avoid italics unless necessary; do not underline headings; use only one space after punctuation marks such as periods/commas etc.; only highlight important words when needed (i.e., don’t highlight every single word); use bullet points instead of dense paragraphs full of text
Change It Up
Use different cover letters for different jobs. Don’t use the same cover letter for every employer, and don’t use the same cover letter for every job application.
We all know that it’s important to present yourself in a way that makes you stand out from other applicants, but if you’re sending out hundreds of applications, then your efforts will be useless if they’re all written the same. That being said…
Use A Conversational Tone
A cover letter is a written introduction to a company, so it should have the same tone as if you were speaking with someone in person.
Use contractions (you’re, can’t) and informal language (instead of trying to use an overly formal tone). Don’t talk down to your reader by using words like “please.” Instead, use a more casual voice that matches the environment of your workplace or what’s appropriate for the situation.
For example, if you’re applying for an entry-level position at a small business where everyone knows each other well and calls each other by first names all day long, then you would want your cover letter to reflect that kind of informality on paper too!
But if you’re applying for an entry-level position where everyone uses titles such as Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc., then instead of calling them “John” or “Sue,” call them Dr. Smith or Mr./Ms./Mrs. Doe instead!
Address The Hiring Manager Personally
The best cover letters will always address the hiring manager personally, rather than simply “Dear Hiring Manager.” This shows you know who you’re writing to and are confident in your approach to the job search two qualities every employer wants to see in a candidate.
If you don’t know the name of your potential supervisor, use LinkedIn or Google and find out who it is! You can also ask a friend or family member who works at that company if they might be able to help you figure it out too.
Include Your Contact Info At The Top Of The Letter And Underneath Your Signature At The End
You should place your contact information at the top of your cover letter, next to where you write your name. This is the easiest place for hiring managers to find it. Also, include your contact information at the bottom of your letter and in a signature line at the end of it.
There are other places where you can leave this information as well: it makes sense to include them in footers and headers as well, but don’t put it all over yourself!
Give Proof That You’re Qualified For The Job
The first step in creating an effective cover letter is to give proof that you’re qualified for the job. It can be tempting to only list your most recent experience but don’t forget about what made you valuable in previous positions. If you have a long track record of success in a variety of different roles, this will help show why you’d be able to succeed in the new role as well.
You should also use this section as an opportunity to highlight any additional qualities or qualifications that make you particularly suited for the position above other applicants (e.g. if it’s a small company where everyone needs to pitch in on sales calls).
Customize Each Letter To Each Job Application You Submit
It’s a good idea to change the name of the company, the name of the job role, and even the location in which it operates. The hiring manager will likely scan your cover letter and resume before they decide whether or not they want to talk to you further, so why waste their time by including information that won’t interest them?
Explain Why You Chose That Company Specifically
You should also explain why you chose that specific company. Your letter should be more than a generic, “I am applying for the job of [position] at [company].” Instead, it should explain why you want to work for them in particular. This can be done by explaining what about their company interests you or what your experiences have been with them (e.g., interned there once).
You want to show that your goals align with the company’s goals and mission statement. If they are looking for someone who is driven and eager to grow within the organization, show how much this aligns with your aspirations.
You can also use this section as an opportunity to demonstrate how well-suited you are based on their needs (e.g., if they are specifically looking for someone who has experience in project management).
What does all this mean? It means that if there is anything about the position or department that would appeal especially strongly to you then now is the time when it’s appropriate to mention it!
Proofread Carefully And Ask Someone Else To Proofread As Well
Proofreading is always the best way to find mistakes. Be sure to:
Proofread carefully and ask someone else to proofread as well. Spellcheck won’t catch all errors, so take time to read over your resume carefully and look for grammar problems (also called “spelling errors.”) A quick read-aloud can also help you spot awkward wording or phrases that don’t flow well together and remind you of words you’ve forgotten.
Always have someone else proofread your resume especially if it’s been a long time since they’ve seen it! You’ll see things differently than they do, making the chances of catching any tiny slip-ups much higher when someone else reads through with fresh eyes.
Furthermore, asking another person for feedback can help make sure that what’s important about yourself comes across clearly in your cover letter.
Avoid Swearing, Even If It’s Casual Swearing In Your Daily Conversations
Swearing is not appropriate and can be seen as unprofessional. It’s best to avoid swearing in a cover letter, since it may turn off potential employers and make you seem less professional.
Specify How You’ll Follow Up
If you’re going to follow up, do it in a way that makes the hiring manager’s life easier. A good way to do this is by setting a specific time frame for your follow-up and then sticking with it. If they don’t respond by then and you still want their job, send another email or call them back to see if any issues are getting in touch.
You should also make sure that when you contact the hiring manager again after asking how they think things are going with the position, ask specifically whether they would like more information from you or not.
If they say no but indicate that perhaps later on down the road there may be room for growth and development at the company where they work (which would mean more opportunities for someone who had already applied), then ask if there is anything else specific about yourself or your experience that could benefit them during this period
until something comes up again with potential roles within their company’s organizational structure as well as areas of interest/career path development opportunities outside those currently available from management level positions within other departments across all divisions/sectors under which these companies operate globally today.
In conclusion, cover letters are a great way to sell yourself to the hiring manager. They show that you’re serious about getting the job and have taken the time and effort to customize your application for their company.
But at the end of the day, these documents aren’t meant just for recruiters or HR departments they’re written specifically for hiring managers. So make sure that you tailor each letter according to what type of position it is (and who’s applying for it), so that when they read through each one carefully before making their decision about whom gets an interview!