9 important elements of winning cover letter

A good CV details your general experience, but the cover letter presents you as an applicant the company should think. In the digital age, where you can apply for a job with a click of a button, it is tempting to overlook the cover letter.

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A good CV details your general experience, but the cover letter presents you as an applicant the company should think. In the digital age, where you can apply for a job with a click of a button, it is tempting to overlook the cover letter. A correct written cover letter, however, can mean the contrast between getting the interview and not. It provides a moment to highlight your skills.

Are you doing it right, though? Give a sight of these nine essential elements to improve your cover letter.

1. Formatting

Cover letters are regular business letters. They should include your address in the top right or left corner and the organization’s address on the left. They should be a few paragraphs long, including a short introduction, some information about your experience, and a short paragraph about further contact.

These formatting requirements hold true even if you are sending an application by email.  Attach and save your cover letter and resume in PDF files to maintain formatting. This’ll ensure that any printed copies will be visually correct.

2. A Specific Recipient

If possible, send your cover letter to the person doing the hiring. Taking time to research the company to identify the hiring agent will show the employer that you are a committed go-getter. At the very least, it’ll make you stand apart from the other applicants writing a letter “To Whom It May Concern.” To find out this type of information, check the company’s website for contact information, ask someone who works for the same company, or call the company and ask who is the hiring manager is for the posted position.

3. A Fantastic Introduction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Usually, people start their cover letters by writing, “My name is John Smith, and I am applying for the project coordinator position I saw advertised on Indeed.com.” This is boring and does not encourage the reader to keep reading. Instead, jump right into who you are and why the company should consider you for employment. Rather than the earlier example, you might say, “With ten years of project management experience under my belt, I believe I have the skills you are looking for.”

4. A Proper Sales Pitch

Instead of considering your cover letter as an introduction to you and your CV, think of it as a 10-second sales pitch. What makes you unusual and how can you benefit the company? The main part of the letter should give some particular examples of experience from your previous jobs, and how these abilities can help the company. The mission isn’t to brag about your experience, but to show why you are the right candidate for this company. Concentrate on the benefits that you bring to the table.

5. Knowledge of the Company

Research the company and include this information in your cover letter. This shows the employer you are interested in working for them individually rather than desperately applying for any job that might be a reasonable fit. For example, if you are thinking to apply for a marketing position, you might look up the company’s sales numbers, and describe how your prior experience with another company could help you take the new company’s sales to the next level. Companies appreciate this kind of detailed knowledge.

6. A Call-to-Action

The call to action is a sales term that asks the reader to take the desired action. In a typical sales letter, you would ask the person to purchase a product, donate some money, or sign up for a newsletter. In a cover letter, you are asking the hiring manager to contact you for an interview.  Be assured to use language that makes the person want to take action. Instead of “looking forward to hearing from you about scheduling an interview,” say that you are “excited to meet and discuss how you can bemefit their business grow.” This small difference in words can make a big difference in interviews you get during your job search.

7. Good Spelling and Grammar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write in a character that matches the company’s culture. For example, you would probably use a very formal tone while applying for a job at an accounting company but might be able to be a bit more casual when applying for a web design company. However, you should always be pro and use proper grammar and spelling. A cover letter is used to be the company’s first impression of who you are, and an obvious mistake could cause them to pass you over. Read your cover letter out loud carefully and slowly. This often helps you find out awkward phrases. Watch out for words that people commonly confuse, such as their/there/they’re. Do not rely on the use of a spelling and grammar checker; human eyes can catch mistakes software programs do not see.

8. Keywords

Usually, hiring managers quickly scan a pile of cover letters and CVs rather than reading each one thoroughly. To overcome this, it is smart to pepper your letter with a few keywords that fit naturally into the narrative. Keywords are particular little words that the employer might be looking for as they read. You will often find out them in the job description, job requirements, or preferred qualification sections of an application. Match cover letter keywords to the language the employer uses to make your cover letter stand out. For instance, if the employer is looking for someone with Microsoft Excel experience, you should mention your specific knowledge using Excel rather than saying you are familiar with Microsoft Office products, in general. As the manager scans through your letter, “Excel” will catch her eye and she will give your application a closer look.

9. New Information

Some applicants use the cover letter to summarize a CV, but this is not best practice. Instead, the cover letter should build on your CV with specific examples of how your knowledge will benefit the company. Think about the cover letter as a movie preview. You want to provide enough information to make the reader read your CV, but if you give too many spoilers, the CV itself will seem disappointing.

The job search can be harsh, but you can get more interviews with a good cover letter. Take some time to think about how to craft the letter in a way that will appeal to the company. Do not use a standard letter that you merely tweak for each potential job – that is obvious to hiring managers. You will stand out when you craft a letter that is personalized and concentrates on how your experience relates to the job you want. When you start to do this, you will get more interviews.