Cover letters are the emissaries of the twenty-first century. They act as an introduction to almost everything in the modern world. Some of the documents that are accompanied by cover letters include-
- Job application letters
- Business proposals
- Internship applications
A cover letter is used to accompany numerous other documents that by themselves, do not offer much information about the applicant or what they are applying for. In some cases, a cover letter is used to outline a summary and save the recipient the burden of having to read through an entire document.
A good cover letter should accomplish several objectives such as;
- Introduce you professionally and personally.
- Mention the kind of opportunity or job that you are applying for.
- Match what you have to offer with what the company needs.
- Encourage the reader to go through your resume.
- Request for a meeting or interview.
Structure of the cover letter
Like any other official business letter, a cover letter should follow a specific structure.
The heading of the cover letter offers basic information about you. It should contain
- Phone number
- Email address
- The name of the hiring manager and their professional title
- The name of the company to which you’re applying
Before you are done with the heading, you should make sure that you have done enough research on the structure of the hiring company. This will prevent you from addressing the letter to the incorrect hiring professional. However, more often than not, the hiring professional is usually the human resource manager.
Some dos and don’ts in the header are
- Details in the header should be professional.
- Your email should contain only official names that belong to you. Nicknames and likes will work to your disadvantage.
- Your contact details should be consistent across your resume and cover letter and any other attached document.
- It is also impolite to use your current work email. A personal email is recommended.
This is the person to whom you addressed the letter to. Conventionally, a Dear Sir/Madam is used. However other alternatives such as To whom it may concern or Dear Sales Team Hiring Manager may be used.
The body of the cover letter consists of three sections.
- Autobiography – The opening paragraph of the cover letter is used to introduce yourself, the position you are applying for and how you came to know about it. The introduction should be catchy as it determines if the hiring professional will read on.
- Professional skills – The second paragraph should be used to blow your own horn as a manner of speaking. Tell the reader about your skills, your experience and what you can do. Prior research about the company you are applying to will help you tailor your skills to the skills they require.
- The matching – This paragraph should be used to show the potential that you possess the skills they need. You should identify the kind of person and portray your professional image to suit that very identity.
- Conclusion – Once the employer is under no doubt that you are the right fit, you can use this opportunity to request for a meeting or interview and express gratitude if they could fulfill that wish.
- Sign out
Include your name and sign out respectfully.
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