Careers aren’t built in a day. Making it far in any industry might take decades to achieve professional goals. So how to start this challenging road? Start in small steps like upgrading your skills and composing a great resume with a cover letter. Writing a cover letter takes time and effort, yet it might seem unworthy. But did you know that 85% of recruiters read cover letters? Some of them even prefer resumes with cover letters.
So, how to craft a winning cover letter powered by your writing skills? Check the tips from Skillhub experts in the article below.
#1: Don’t Underestimate Courtesy
Keep your ‘monologue’ structured with a proper entrance and exit. Address your audience by ‘Dear Hiring Department!’ if you don’t know the receiver or ‘Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms. Name!’ if their name is not a secret. Sure, you can buy cover letter to land an interview and forget about these exhausting courtesy moments. But no cover letter will help you develop soft skills. Try composing a cover letter on your own, and if it doesn’t work for you, then reach out to professionals.
- Now, let’s proceed with courtesy (pun intended). After you tell the reader everything about your accomplishments, exit the scene with a good closing line. Stay polite! The way you handle your ‘Dears’ and ‘Byes’ tells a lot about your communication skills and whether you’re pleasant to be around;
- Express your gratitude for the opportunity and the time they’ve found to read your letter;
- Keep your feedback about the previous workplaces positive. There is always a job interview to tell the hiring manager about the toxic culture for which your last workplace was famous. So, in the end, don’t be annoying and leave your complaints for the interview.
#2: Structures Add Clarity
Let’s take a quick look at the cover letter structure below.
- Contact data. This is where you write down your name, address (optional), phone number, and email;
- Opening line. This part is also called the salutation. Before you write anything, say ‘hi’ to your reader by writing ‘Dear Hiring Department!’ or ‘Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms. Name!’ as we’ve talked about before.
- Body. A typical cover letter would consist of 2-3 paragraphs. The first paragraph must tell the reader where you’ve learned about the job position and how excited you’re to apply. The second paragraph must showcase your education, skills, and achievements in your recent workplaces. Meanwhile, the third paragraph discusses how you can help the company grow. How do you envision the company’s future and your place in it after you’re accepted? How will the company benefit from you?
- Closing paragraph. Say how much grateful you’re for the opportunity and thank the reader for their time;
- Signature. ‘Kind regards, Name’ or ‘Best wishes, Name’ is a short, sweet phrase to finish your cover letter and leave a good impression.
#3: Length and Style
Don’t get too chatty is the core rule. The bigger the company, the busier the recruiter. Yeap, they’ve got tons of applications to process during their workday! So, respect their time and keep your cover letter short. Which length for a cover letter is considered appropriate? The answer is simple: 1-1,5 pages. Keeping your letter short shows your ability to work with data, process it, and give your findings effectively. Hence, put on your ‘writing’ shoes and impress the reader with the perfect organization of your cover letter sections!
What do we mean by saying ‘style’? Mostly, the language you use. Your style of writing should be formal when it comes to cover letters. Avoid using slang, idioms, and other inappropriate words in official settings. Yeap, the rules are pretty much the same as those in composing a bot-beating resume.
#4: Professional Keywords
Professional keywords aren’t only for your resume. Did you know that ATS bots go through your cover letter too? An ATS system is designed to determine the number of professional words and conclude whether you’re the right fit for the position. Don’t worry; each industry has its keywords, so your cover letter won’t be empty.
Which keywords to add to your cover letter?
- Names of tools. These are programs and any software or hardware you’ve worked with;
- Names of professional processes. These are the words that signify your professional activities;
- Names of companies you’ve worked for. If you’ve had an internship at Google – that’s impressive, add it!
- Any words related to your job. Even adjectives like ‘innovative’ or ‘effective’ can be a part of the ATS algorithm, so use your keywords wisely.
#5: Formats and Repetitions
Don’t use bright colors or extra peculiar fonts. Instead, keep your cover letter formal – Times New Roman font, 1.5 spacing, and 1-inch margins. Sure, you might add some expressivity if you’re applying for a job as a graphic designer and want to showcase your skills. But, in all other careers, stay as formal as you can. Additionally, don’t repeat the exact data from your resume. Cover letters and resumes come in packs. Yet there is a high chance that the recruiter had already read your resume before they started reading your cover letter.
The main tip to remember is ‘writing a story.’ First, use the information from your resume to tell the reader why you’re so passionate about the industry. Then, continue with your accomplishments and your career plans. In other words, engage the reader with your career story while revealing more about your personality.
Good cover letters come in style (again, pun intended) and are spiced up with courtesy and maximum clarity. A cover letter showcases your soft skills and how well you communicate your ideas to the reader. So what to start your cover letter with? Well, you already know it! Start with a great structure and proceed with courtesy. Pay attention to the length and style, add professional keywords and keep your format official. Oh, and don’t forget to tell a great story to your reader!
We hope the article was helpful to you. Good luck on your journey!