How to: Write a stunning cover letter! The ultimate guide
The cover letter is an important part of any application! In our ultimate guide to jobs, we briefly spoke on it. But too many times people forget about this very important part. The cover letter is where you convince the employer of the value you will bring to the company. However, writing it can be a challenge, in this guide we will go through it and show you how to write the perfect cover letter.
What is a cover letter?
To understand what a cover letter, we need to understand the resume. In our resume template guide we talked about why your resume needs to be short and to the point. This is because the resume is there to simply list your skills and experiences. However, in the cover letter we get the chance to go a bit deeper.
In the resume the employer can see our previous experience and skills. But this does not tell them why those things will be useful in the company! In other words its just a bunch of text at this point, we need to change that! In the cover letter you get the chance to explain why your talents and the work experience that you talked about in your resume, will be useful to the employer today. Meaning this is your chance to really sell yourself to the recruiter and win them over.
Why is the cover letter so important?
The cover letter is so crucial because it is your only chance to really tell the employer about yourself. You get the chance to explain why your skills are relevant. And it can really help set you apart from the rest of the applicants. You cover letter is a great addition to any application that can really help your chances. Not all employers require it, but it is always good to include one anyways. Think about it, recruiters receive hundreds of resumes, if you want to stand out, you need to add something that the rest do not have!
But whats the difference from a resume?
You already have a clue to the difference in the name! A cover letter is just that, a letter. While a resume is structured more like a list, the cover letter is written like a regular letter. This means that you can be a lot more free in what you put in it, such as your personal history and interests, that would not be appropriate in your resume. Styling is also less important when it comes to a cover letter, and we recommend that you just keep it simple.
But this is what you came here for, what should you actually write in the letter? Well if you remember, this is your chance to actually convince the employer why you deserve the job. So you should use this chance to go a bit deeper on what you already stated in your resume. Explain why your years of experience at a certain company can translate really well to this new employer. Its important to be very clear, state exactly why your skills are useful to the employer. But how do we do this?
How to sell
The point of the cover letter is to sell yourself to the recruiter. But exactly how do we do this? This is where research comes in! Read up on the company to see what their culture is like, and look through the job ad to see what they are looking for. You can use those pieces of information to help you. When writing your letter, keep everything you learned in mind. Does the company need a cashier with admin experience? In that case talk about how your previous experiences makes you good at both admin and cashier work!
In other words research is super important in your cover letter. It makes it seem a lot more relevant and focused, and it really makes it easier for you to write as well, since you will have a few pointers to go after. A standard template you can use is to always mention your previous experience, and then say a few words about why that particular skill solves a problem the company has.
Again, keep your cover letter relevant
Just like the resume, your cover letter needs to be to the point. Another reason why its so important to do your research. You do not want to send a cover letter that contains a bunch of useless information. Keep your love of puppies and minions to yourself, and instead focus on providing value to the recruiter.
It is up to you to decide what is relevant, but through the research you did, its easier to know what exactly the company is looking for. Just make sure to keep it short and simple, around 500-700 words is more than enough! No one has time to read a long essay for one simple application. A good trick to help you decide what you should use, is to think about what skills you can actually use at this new company, and only write about them!
Remember your writing an actual letter! in the cover letter its more important than ever to actually be interesting. Make sure to write in a way that captivates the reader, while staying professional of course. Be very careful of using difficult language, as this just makes your text harder to read, and doesn’t really impress anyone.
Make sure to write varied sentences, and please, watch your spelling. There is nothing worse than receiving a poorly written cover letter with spelling errors. If you’re not used to writing, it can be good to prepare yourself. There are many resources to help you get started but one of our favourites is this guide from grammarly!. You don’t have to be Shakespeare, but knowing a bit about writing goes a long way to help you write a perfect cover letter!
Now you know how to write a cover letter! If you apply these pointers, your next job application will have a much higher chance of making it past the recruiter. But the cover letter is not the only part of applying, don’t forget to visit our other articles on how to get hired to learn more!
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