Lesson 3 – How to Write a Perfect Cover Letter in 6 Steps (with Example)

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If there is something you can do to increase your chances of getting that dream job by about 90%, you would pay attention, wouldn’t you? Well there is now…Your CV… I hope it looks good and when you get to the interview, pretty sure you’ll make a good impression.

But, it’s that cover letter which is crucially important. Unless you have a good cover letter, few recruiters are even going to open your CV. Which means you won’t get the chance at the interview. So we are going to show you how to write a great cover letter that will engage the reader and help you land the job you want.


How to Write an Amazing Cover Letter

Now, we’re going to look at how to write an amazing cover letter or covering letter as it’s sometimes called. If this is not your first language, we have some tips about this too. Now the cover letter is crucially important on so many levels. A CV or resume isn’t about facts about your experience or your educational background.

Yes, you can make it look good and you can make it sound impressive, but you can’t lie about your experience or your qualifications. It is to some extent fixed. On the other hands the covering letter is the first interaction you will have with a recruiter and as you know first impressions count. So it’s important. It’s vitally important to get it right and furthermore the cover letter, unlike the CV is the chance to get your personality across.

The objective of the cover letter is to make the reader (the hiring person) curious enough to read your CV. Recruiters and Human Resource staff are busy people and if they are receiving hundreds of applications a day they won’t have time to read each one in great deal.

Most of them will first look at your covering letter and read that for about thirty seconds and if they are impressed they will move on to your CV. If not it will end up in the bin. The fact is that 90% of cover letters are either average, bad or very bad. So just making a small change can increase your chances of getting to the interview by a significant amount.

Now, here are some general points including things you should and shouldn’t do. And then the step-by-step guidance about what you need to do with an example of a cover letter will walk you through.


What You Shouldn’t Do in A Cover Letter

First, don’t make it long. Keep it brief a couple of paragraphs. Maybe third half a page that’s about the right length. So often cover letters are a page and a half – two pages long. It should be avoided. It shows that the person is unable to get their message across in a concise way. All the information about your background, your qualifications, your experience, it’s all in your CV. So you don’t need to talk about that in great detail.

Don’t tell them your long personal story. It’s not interesting and it’s not what they want know, such as a lack of respect for the recruiter’s time. Sometimes you see cover letters that are too short. For example, “I would like to apply for the position of Accounts Assistant. Please find my CV attached.” That says nothing. This also will end up in the bin.

Second, make it personal. Do not use the same cover letter for each job you apply. Some might send the email to multiple recipients. That shows that you can’t even bother to write a separate cover letter for each job. Do you think you really want to work with a person like that? Every letter should be personalized. Do some research on the company. Yes it takes time, but it’s time well spent. Read the website, read articles about the company that you find online or in the media.

When you are writing it, imagine that the person you are writing to is sitting opposite you and imagine you are having a conversation with them. And as of any conversation don’t just start talking about the achievements, how great you are and what you want. It’s going to bore a person if you are speaking to them and it’s going to bore them in writing too.

Do your best to get the name of the person who is recruiting. You can use Google, you can use LinkedIn, you can use social media, you can call up the company. If you can’t get the name, don’t write “To whom it may concern“, because that sounds cold. You could write “Dear sir/madam“, “Dear hiring manager“.

Of course, it’s much better to write a name, but if you don’t get a name don’t panic. You can personalize the body of the letter so in the letter there should always be something that’s going to give the impression that you took the time and effort to write to them. If you do this even if you don’t get to the interview stage, you will almost certainly get a reply. In fact you should make it your goal to get a reply rather than an interview. Make that your challenge.

So how do you personalize it? Well, for example: “I recently read online that XYZ is surely going to open a subsidiary in Madrid. It seems like your company is going from strength to strength. That’s great news. By the way, in addition to my other skills, I do speak Spanish and I would love to play a part in your expansion whether it be at home or abroad I’m your man. Or if you’re going to go for a local government job I’ve just downloaded your app and I used it to find a parking space in the city and it was great though. I do believe that if I had the opportunity to work on it I could make it even better.”

Third, don’t write about yourself and what you want. It’s not about you, it’s about them. . Tell them what you can do for them. Don’t say “I’ve got 3 years experience in business studies and I’m looking for a company where I can progress my career.” Do say “I’ve got a degree in Business Studies which provided me a great academic background and with these skills along with my passion I’m sure I would be a great asset to your team.” So even if you don’t have any significant work experience that gives you the chance to get them excited.

Fourth, don’t put the cover letter in a separate attachment. Put it in the body of the email. If you put it as a separate attachment, it just adds extra unnecessary steps. Do you really need a cover letter for a cover letter? Of course, not. As soon as the recruiter opens email it should be there. Don’t give them unnecessary obstacles in front of reading your application.

Fifth, don’t make unnecessary mistakes. Check the spelling and grammar. If English is not your first language, that’s okay. The interviewer is not a grammar teacher. They won’t notice any small grammar mistakes. However, if you’re a native speaker or a non-native speaker it is recommended that you get the letter proof read by another person even if your cover letter is wonderful. If you can’t be bothered to check the spelling and the grammar, if it has spelling mistakes that looks bad. It’ll end up in the bin.

Sixth, don’t be too formal or too friendly. It’s about the style. Write the cover letter in a formal, but friendly style. If it’s too formal you will sound distant and cold. If it’s too friendly, well that’s not good either. In order to get the balance right try first of all to use active sentences rather than passive sentences.

So for example instead of saying, “I was employed as a technical assistant for two years” say “I worked as a technical assistant for two years.” Instead of saying “Your company has been recommended to me by Don Redburn” say “Don Redburn recommended your company to me“.

Do not use the word “very“. Just strike it out. Use another word so for example do not say “Very happy to meet you“, do say “I’d love to meet you“. And don’t be too friendly. Never ever use emojis. If you don’t have a personal connection to them, then use “Mr” or “Ms”/”Mrs”. If you don’t know the marital status of a woman use “Ms” and it’s very polite so use that “Ms”.


What You Should Include in a Cover Letter and an Example

Here are the things that you should include in your cover letter:

1. State the job you are applying.

2. Tell them who you are and a few words and sentences about your work experience and/or your educational background.

3. Give a few adjectives to describe yourself.

4. Make a personalized statements.

5. Tell them what you can do for them.

6. A call for action.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be in that order, but those are the things that you should mention. So here’s an example of a cover letter:

Dear Mr. Tolbert,

I’m writing to apply for the position of marketing strategy manager at Biggles Ltd. posted in Marketing Today.  I’m a graduate with two years experience in the field of marketing. My university degree in Business Studies gave me an excellent combination of skills in sales, budgeting, branding, pricing, product life cycle and much more.

Since I graduated, I’ve gained considerable practical know-how at a leading software house where I have been working with large and small companies, helping them to plan out and implement media campaigns and gain footholds in new markets. Throughout my career I’ve been reaching goals and exceeding expectations.

Do have a glance at my CV to find out more. You will find me an enthusiastic, friendly and reliable person. I’m hard-working and I have a certain creative flair which I hope I can put to good use at Biggles. Of all the companies in the field, Biggles is certainly the one that interests me most. Simply because it matches my own style and outlook. Your recent campaign for community pharmacies was so original and humorous. I know not everyone got the joke, but for me it was outstanding and by all reports extremely effective. It was this as well as the strength of some of your other campaigns that roused me to write to you today.

I would love to bring my skills, knowledge and passion to your organization. I can make a positive contribution to the future of Biggles. Give me the chance and I will help develop new marketing strategies for your clients and increase your business. Please get in touch with me by telephone or by email and I would be happy to attend an interview at your convenience.

I know recruiting can be a long and stressful procedure, so I would like to thank you for taking the time to consider my application.

Yours sincerely,

(Your name here)


Source: LetThemTalkTV Channel on Youtube

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