Ever wondered why some people land job interviews and others don’t ? While it is true that the company might not be hiring, it could also be that you did a poor job in catching their attention. How? I am glad you asked…The answer lies in your cover letter.

I used to dread writing cover letters until I understood what it was all about and how to go about it. I remember applying for jobs that required no cover letter. Phew! It saved me a lot of stress. But then I figured out writing a compelling cover letter goes a long way.

I might not be the best at drafting one, but I can say that “practice actually makes perfect”. There are different types of cover letters – application letter, referral cover letter, letter of interest, networking letter and value proposition letter. No matter the type, you need to know how to go about it.

For all those struggling to get past the first sentence in your cover letter, or trying to figure out how to properly structure it, you will find some tips below on how to get it done.

 

Do your homework

How much do you know about the company? Information can easily be found on the company’s newsletter or website. You can also look up the company and its employees on LinkedIn. Find out about the recruiter or hiring manager; know about the position you are applying for. By doing so you figure out what the company needs and know how to be of help.

 

Make a great first impression!

This is an opportunity to sell yourself; to distinguish yourself from other applicants, so you should make it count. You want to catch the reader’s attention; make him/her have a lasting impression of you, so make sure you do it right.

 

 

Keep it short, simple and clear

Don’t talk about things that are of no importance. Go straight to why you are applying for the job; throwing light on your key strengths, qualifications and what you have to offer. There is no need to write your life story in your cover letter; 3- 4 paragraphs is ideal.

Use simple and clear language. This isn’t the time to wow the recruiter or hiring manager with your superb vocabulary or to prove that you excelled in your English classes. Unless of course, you’re applying for a job as an English tutor or something in line with that. Keep your language simple.

 

Address your cover letter correctly

 This can be quite daunting especially when you don’t have a name or are clueless about the gender. Be sure to search online for the recruiter’s name and gender first. However, if all attempts prove futile, use a generic greeting or none at all.

Examples of general cover letter salutations include Dear Hiring Manager, Dear Sir/Madam and Dear Human Resources Director. In cases where you have a name but are still uncertain about the gender, use the first and last name of the person without any title which might indicate gender.

In addition, pay close attention to the title of the person – be sure you know when to use Dr, Mr or Ms.

 

Pay attention to grammar

 

In a bid to to complete the cover letter , you might fail to pay attention to your grammar. Take time to proofread before sending it. Anyone can make a mistake, but you don’t want to come across as careless and sloppy to the recruiting manager. Check out for typo, spelling and grammar mistakes. This is your one shot to impress the human resource manager. Don’t mess it up with endless grammar mistakes.

 

Be mindful of your closing

Ensure that you have a great start and  a great ending end. Pay attention to how you wrap up your cover letter. End by stating how your qualification will help the company. You can also state that you look forward to having a meeting with them.

 

Have fun writing

A bonus tip! Relax, take a deep breath and write.


Do you have any tips for writing winning cover letter?

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