A well-written cover letter can be crucial to ensuring you end up with your name on the interview list, so taking a little time to make sure that the one you submit makes for riveting reading, can be a real benefit. A cover letter provides an introduction to your resume and serves to give employers a brief snapshot of who you are, what you can offer and why you’re keen to work for them.
If you don’t have much experience in writing successful cover letters, take a look at our helpful guide to find out everything you need to know in the art of writing a cover letter. The following explains what information to include as well as tips on how to generate a cover letter that employers will actually want to read. Remember, the aim of a cover letter is to make yourself memorable, giving them a clear indication of the type of person you are. Cover letters can say a great deal about the person writing them, and because of that, it’s crucial that you try and get it right.
Key Sections of a Cover Letter
Although job candidates should feel free to customise a cover letter to fit their own style, in general, a cover letter should contain the following information:
- What job you’re applying for and when you can start
- Why you want to work for that particular employer
- The skills and experience you have which make you the best candidate
- How your skills align with what the company are looking for
- What makes you the best suitor for the position
While the above acts as a general guide to what a cover letter includes, let’s go into a bit more detail.
Job Cover Letter Template Information – What Skills Make You Stand Out?
Remember that a cover letter should be no more than one side of an A4 page, so it’s imperative that the information you give is concise, relevant and accurate. The job of the cover letter is to provide an irresistible taste of the talent you have to offer a company. Pick three or four skills you possess which are exactly what the employer is looking for and write a sentence on each which includes an example of how you have used them previously.
If an employer is advertising a post for which team working skills are essential, you might wish to write something like, ‘I am an enthusiastic team player and value the opportunity to work with others towards the achievement of common objectives. In my current team, I lead a recent project to install new monitoring software for the department. This was successfully achieved on time and within the agreed budget.’ Obviously, the specific skill and experience will need to reflect your particular strengths, but this example illustrates the type of text which might work well in a covering letter.
Value your Employer
Everybody wants to be considered unique and special, including employers! It’s important to write a line or two about why you consider the post to be so attractive. Take some time to read up on the company and put together some text on why you want to work for them. Remember that employers want candidates with a genuine interest and enthusiasm for the work (many employers love what they do and want their employees to share their passion), so reflect this in your covering letter.
How your Skills are the Perfect Match
It’s no use wowing your prospective employer with details of your prowess in creative writing and archery if they’re looking for an accountant with an interest in logistics! Not only do you need to draw attention to your strengths, you also need to show that they’re the attributes needed to do the job well. If it’s not immediately obvious how your previous work experience and qualifications could fit you for the job, it’s important to show the employer through your covering letter. Write with the aim of making life as straight-forward as possible for the reader by making it clear how you’re the perfect candidate.
Top Tips When Completing your Free Resume Cover Letter Template
DO keep it short! Your cover letter reflects your writing style and employers will use it to judge you – not only on content but also on your literacy! Clarity and brevity are absolutely essential.
TAILOR your vocabulary and writing style to your intended audience. Flowery phrases and obscure, polysyllabic word choices doesn’t make your text read well. It’s more likely to irritate a busy employer who wants to quickly grasp what you have to offer without the need of a thesaurus and a spare hour or two.
DO keep it accurate. Check your spelling, grammar and layout to ensure it’s flawless. An error creates an immediately bad impression, even if the content is excellent. Remember that your computer’s spell checker won’t pick up every grammatical error or correctly spelt words used in the wrong context. If you’re not 100% confident of your proof-reading skills, ask someone else to check your covering letter for you. Even one error or badly worded phrase could be enough to tip the balance in favour of someone else, so always check, check and check again.
USE the correct names. Find out who will be processing your application or leading the selection process and address your cover letter to them. If you’re not sure, phone the Human Resources section of the company and ask. Taking the time to address the letter to the correct person shows an employer that you’re thoughtful, thorough and appear interested in them and their organisation, rather than simply wanting a job. If you’re emailing your application, it’s usual to put your covering letter in as the body of your email and send your resume as an attachment.
Although writing a cover letter can initially be quite intimidating, once you’ve decided on what you wish to include and completed a few draft attempts, it’s surprising how quickly you’ll improve. Use our cover letter template word document as a basis for writing your own cover letter, in order to ensure that you don’t miss out any vital points. Your cover letter can make a real difference to your chances of obtaining an interview, so make sure you give it plenty of attention in order to maximise the chances of a successful outcome.