Writing a cover letter can be difficult and when finding jobs, you don’t always know how to personalise your CV and cover letter to the specific job. I have applied for numerous jobs since graduation and the cover letter was always important to show the employers what my key strengths were and what I could offer for the job. A short and concise cover letter is always better than writing one which takes a long time to read. It would be beneficial to be as formal as possible and address the employers or department directly. The below tips give a general overview of how to write a good cover letter.
Below are a few suggestions and tips on how to write a successful cover letter:
Related: Difference between CV and Resume
Be as formal as possible:
One way to be formal is to start with “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Urban Planning Department” as it gives the impression that you want to keep a professional tone towards the job. The cover letter should also be written in a formal tone being as impartial as possible and at the same time indicating why you would be a suitable candidate for the job. It would be advisable to highlight your key strengths, for instance, if you are good at writing, indicate the various platforms you’ve written for and how well your articles have done. Keeping a professional tone in your cover letter will make the employers understand that you will be professional on the job as well.
Your cover letter should normally not be more than 300 to 400 words. The shorter you keep it, the better and easier it will be for the employer to read it. Start with the job experiences you have and keep it simple by giving the main points of your previous experiences and how that will contribute to the current job situation. Highlight the key aspects of your performance in your previous employment and the main skills you have gained to this date. Do not address the employers by their name and always be as respectful as possible, it is better to address the department than addressing the people by their first names, especially before you meet them in a formal interview. Although you need to keep it short, make your best attempt at showcasing how unique and great you are as a person, based on your background and skills!
Understand your employer’s needs:
It would be good if you read the job specifications and tailor your cover letter for each job you apply for. Even your CV would need to be specific for each job, so it would be good to relate your cover letter to your CV. You can relate your cover letter to your CV, by stating “as my CV indicates” or giving some form of linkage to your CV so that the employer would be interested in reading your CV after seeing your cover letter. Do not state the skills in your cover letter that you have not already written on your CV. By reading the job description and understanding as much as possible about what the job entails you can directly relate your skills to the job in hand. If you need more information about the job before writing your cover letter, don’t be afraid to contact the company for more information.
Be honest about your skills and achievements:
It is always important, to be honest about what you’ve achieved and done in your professional career. This means, do not give false impressions and do not write false details about your previous or current job. Being honest is a value that most employers appreciate and you will be more confident about your abilities if you are honest in your CV and cover letter. One of the most common reasons people don’t get hired is because they lie about their previous positions and roles in their CV to get a better opportunity in the job. This will not work and you will be more likely to get the job if you are honest about yourself.
Make a good impression:
It would be beneficial for your future if you make a good impression on your cover letter by giving accurate details and providing a confident tone about yourself. Employers appreciate it when people are confident and are able to discuss their skills and abilities that they have written in the cover letter in a future interview. To be able to do well in the interview, you need to know what your skills and abilities are and what you can offer to the job. Even if you don’t get the job, at least you tried your best, by not compromising on your values and it will pay off for future jobs. Getting as much experience with cover letter, CV and interviews will only improve your confidence and will allow you to make a good impression.
The above tips are just some basic guidelines for a good cover letter based on my experiences. It is by no means the only way to address a cover letter, and it would be good to be open to other perspectives and opinions about writing a cover letter. Feel free to experiment on your own as you will learn best by trying to get jobs yourself in the way that suits you best. It is will practice that you will obtain perfection at getting that perfect job that you always dreamt about, or even if it is a job that you need to be independent to pay the bills! Whatever the job, if you follow the above tips, you are more likely to succeed.
Also Read: 9 Tools to Write an Eye-Catching Resume