How To Write a Cover Letter: A CV and Cover letter are two essentials for every Job application as they are the first things which an employer will consider in giving you a job. Thus, you have to get it right if you are to land your dream job and you can only get it right by drafting a perfect CV and Cover letter tailored for your Job Application, but how can you draft a perfect CV and Cover letter?
Often times people get to pay professionals to draft their CV or Cover letter, but it’s best that you draft it yourself as no one can communicate your personal strength and story like you and one way to draft it yourself is by learning how to draft a perfect CV or Cover letter, and trust me learning how to do these isn’t hard. In my previous Article, I discussed how to Draft a CV, now let me consider and teach you how to draft a Cover letter.
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Table of Content
What Is a Cover Letter?
A Cover letter is an application letter sent alongside a CV when applying for a Job and other related opportunities. This Cover letter gives a brief introduction about yourself and gives you the opportunity to highlight your skills and show an employer why you are best suited for the position that you are applying for.
A Cover letter is usually used to indicate your interest in a Job and furnish such interest with a direct application for the job; highlighting your personal life, details, skills, professional experience and additional information which makes you an ideal candidate for the position in which you are applying for.
This is what a Cover letter means in a nutshell and trust me drafting a Cover letter isn’t a difficult task, you just need to understand the format for doing so and filling your details in this format and you’re good to go. So therefore let’s examine this format of a Cover letter.
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Steps/Format of a Cover Letter
A Cover letter comprises of the following:
1. Header: Every Cover letter begins with a Header which contains your Name, contact details and date. By contact details I mean your Home address, email address and phone number.
Your header is the first step to drafting a good Cover letter and it is very easy to draft, all you need to do is to fill in your Name, Home address, email address, phone number and date of application in any Cover letter format of your choice.
Here is a sample of the Header of a Cover Letter:
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2. Recipient Details: Just below the header of your Cover letter which contains your personal Details, you are to include the details of your recipient. These details of a Recipient are as follows:
The Name of Employer, Title of the Employer, Name of Company and address of Company.
Most at times, you may just include the title of the employer, company’s name and address, rather than inserting the name of the employer which depending on the specifications of the application may not appear professional.
Below is a sample of the format of a Recipient detail and how it should be arranged:
3. Salutation: Just below the Recipient details, a Salutation follows suit. This Salutation in a Cover letter is formally addressed as “Dear Sir or Dear Ma or Dear + title of the person which it’s being addressed to, e.g Dear Manager”
After your Salutation in any of the manner above, you are to include the title of your Cover letter. For instance: An Application for Internship, Job application, et cetera.
Here is an illustration of how a Salutation and title should be:
4. Introduction: The Introduction is the beginning of your Cover letter proper. It is also known as the opening statement as it is the first statement on your cover letter and it gives a brief introduction about you, the position which you are applying for, your interest in this position, how you heard about the job opportunity, and your main qualification which makes you fit for this position.
This opening statement always leaves an impression on your employer so you have got to get it right.
Here is a sample of an opening statement in a Cover letter:
Also see: Differences between a CV and Resume
5. Body: After your opening statement, another paragraph follows suit and this we refer to as the body of your Cover letter.
In this body, you are to exclusively highlight your skills, achievements, experience and why you are the best candidate for the job which you are applying for. In this body you may also summarize any additional strength which you may have and how this strength will improve the company.
Here is a sample of the body of a Cover letter I drafted for a client:
6. Closing Paragraph: The closing Paragraph is your third paragraph of your Cover letter. In this Paragraph you are to state another key achievements, skill and how this meets up with the job description you are applying for. In this Paragraph, you may also recap, reiterate your interest in the job role and your desire to be granted an interview to adumbrate on the contents of your CV and Cover Letter.
Here is a sample of a Closing Paragraph Flowing from the above Sample of the body of the Cover letter:
7. Closing Remark: Closing Remark is the final phase of your Cover letter. In this closing remark you are to end with a professional signup thanking the employer for their time and kind consideration and following up such Thanks with ‘Yours Sincerely or Yours Faithfully or any remark beat suited for your application”, your signature and finally your name.
Here is a sample of a closing remark:
That’s all for drafting a Cover Letter. Easy isn’t it? But honestly it may not be easy if you don’t avoid some common mistakes in drafting a Cover letter and apply some tips which will make your cover letter great.
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Tips On Writing a Great Cover Letter
a. Keep it simple. It is highly important to keep your Cover letter succinct, Simple and professionally looking. The only time your cover letter shouldn’t be simple and short is when you are given a Word limit or an Application specification to that effect. Every other day your Cover letter should be straightforward, simple and short.
b. Have a great opening statement as it captures the mind of the employer and makes a good first impression on what you have to offer the Company.
c. Always remember to show how your skills, experience and accomplishments are essential to the job description you are applying for, how it will help impact the company and why you are the best candidate to impact the company through that position given your established pedigree in that regards and your strong desire for the success of the Company.
d. While writing your Cover letter show enthusiasm. This will help produce a Compelling letter which will land you your desired Job.
e. Use a different Cover letter for every job application. Your Cover letter must not be repeated, it should be exclusively tailored toward the particular job and company you are applying to.
f. Customize your Cover letter header in the same format as your CV.
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Common Mistakes To Avoid In Drafting A Cover Letter
a. Avoid Grammatical errors and blunders. So therefore you must edit and proofread your Cover letter before you send.
b. Do not be Vague. You should be specific in the details you’re filling in your Cover letter.
c. Don’t go extreme with your details and speak with much flattery. You’re to keep your Cover letter simple, matured and Professional.
d. Don’t try to be funny or rhyme in your Cover letter, it doesn’t always turn out well.
e. Don’t send in a generic Cover letter, meaning that you have a Cover letter which you use and send for every application you make. This is very wrong and must be avoided at all costs.
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Avoiding these aforementioned errors, implementing these tips in the appropriate format of your Cover letter will help you in drafting a Perfect Cover letter for your job application. In case you are still having any confusion or you need help in drafting your Cover letter or CV, you can drop a comment in the comment section.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.