The perfect cover letter should be like a handshake when you introduce yourself to someone – confident, sincere and brief.
Cover letters are one-page documents that allow you to introduce your skills and experience to a potential employer and get their attention. So in that spirit, here’s a quick and easy guide for a resume cover letter example that will help you craft an eye-catching statement you can tailor for any job.
Before You Start Writing
A sharply written cover letter will grab a potential employer’s attention and qualify you as a worthy contender for the job. So before you write, research!
You can easily find an example cover letter online that can help guide your creation of the perfect opening lines. By reading as many cover letter examples as possible, you’ll be able to craft your own version, tailored to the job you desire.
There are typically four main areas that a cover letter should address – the introduction, how you qualify for the job, why the employer should read your resume and a call to action.
Your cover letter should begin politely, addressed to the person named in the job advert. If that’s not stated, do some research, make some calls or send an email. ‘To whom it may concern,’ is polite, but below par. Show your initiative!
Following this, your introductory sentence should state who you are and quote which job you’re applying for.
Show Your Value
Next, you need to state why you are applying for the job and why you are the best fit for it. The job advert will usually list some required skills, experiences or values, so address this one by one with examples taken from your professional and personal history.
This is the part where you attract and keep a potential employer’s attention. You are proving to them why you should get the job over someone else.
Nudge them toward your resume
Now that you’ve got their attention, point them in the direction of your resume, which will go into greater detail about your skills and experience.
In many ways, a cover letter is used to open the door for your resume. It shows that you’ve done your research on the job’s requirements and are suitable for further consideration.
End with a call to action
The goal of sending your cover letter and resume is to secure a job interview – and then get the chance to secure the position.
So end your cover letter with a call to action.
You can ask for an interview, indicate your willingness to meet and discuss the position, or offer to provide more information upon request. Don’t just say a simple thank you – give them a reason to keep the conversation with you going.
Do’s and Dont’s
Cover letters should never be recycled. It may be tempting to create a boilerplate template that you can use over and over again, inserting new names and job positions, but this is a fraught exercise.
It pays to research the job thoroughly and demonstrate your specific knowledge in the cover letter. Apply for each job on its own merits and craft a tailored cover letter to go with your resume and application. Employers can notice the difference.
That said, not everyone likes cover letters.
Most job applications require them, but it pays off to read the job advert carefully. If it says not to send one, don’t! Otherwise, fire away with a unique and sharply written cover letter.
Write, Then Edit, and Edit Some More
Finally, a cover letter should never be longer than one A4 page. Use a good font size – 12-point type is very readable, anything less may annoy the recruiters who may be squinting to read your words.
A cover letter must be sharply written and be as to the point as possible. So by adhering to a one-page limit, you will be forced to consider every word and sentence carefully.
A good exercise is to write your cover letter as a draft, as long as you like. Then hone the writing down, improving each line, cutting unnecessary words and phrases until you are left with a single snappy page.
Remember, a cover letter is your introduction. Be brief, be impressive, and show the qualities that make you an ideal fit for the job.