Aside from the CV, a cover letter (or application letter like some of you call it) is also used by recruiters during the recruiting process. It usually accompanies the CV and is used to explain or add information that may have been left out on the CV. But today we will not be discussing the purpose of a cover letter; you can read more about that here. The focus today is on how to write a cover letter that wins recruiters.
Most job seekers assume that having a professional CV is enough to get them the interview. This is not entirely true. While some recruiters may be content with using only your CV during the shortlisting process, some prefer that you also have a customized cover letter as part of the application. I say customized because using a generic cover letter will not ogre well with recruiters.
So, how do you write a cover letter that wins recruiters?
You use the usual standard format, official font, and size, and follow the steps below to craft the perfect cover letter.
1. Start with contact information
Every cover letter should include both your contact information and that of the organization where you are applying for a job. When writing your contacts, start with your official names, P.O Box number and the town associated with the box number. Just below your contacts, remember to include the date you are writing and sending your cover letter.
After the date, you will then write the organization’s contact information, starting with the name and title of the person you are addressing (if you don’t have the name, The Hiring Manager will suffice), then include the name of the organization, P.O Box number and the town.
2. Write your subject line (or reference) based on the job title
Most job seekers fail at this step by writing “applying for a job at your organization” or something similar as their reference. This is very wrong. When a recruiter sees this, the first thing they will assume about you is that you are either lazy, not sure about what you want or don’t really care. And such assumptions will only ruin your chances for the job.
To be on the safe side, if the job you are applying for is titled BTL Accounts Executive, your reference line should read something close to this; “Application for the position of BTL Accounts Executive”. Make sure you are specific about the position you are applying for.
Read Also >>> 4 Things You Must Do After Getting a Professional CV
3. Introduce yourself in the first paragraph
While the recruiter knows you are applying for the job because you saw the advert, they want to know more about how you came to it. Don’t assume they already know you want the role. Use the first paragraph to tell them exactly that.
Whatever you mention in this section should answer these three questions: why are you writing the letter? How did you hear about the job? What, in particular, makes you the best candidate?
4. Sell yourself in the Second & third paragraph
After introducing yourself in the first paragraph, your next step is to convince the recruiter you are the best for the job. To successfully sell yourself as the best candidate for the role, go back to the job description and look at the key skills highlighted. Ask yourself; do I have the key requirements indicated. If your answer is yes, use that information to write your second and third paragraphs.
Explain how your past experiences, abilities and the skills you possess will be applicable towards the delivery of the company’s needs. Make sure to use the phrases used in the job description. And to even perfect your pitch, research on the company to find out why they are hiring in that position. If they are experiencing a shortage in that department, position yourself as the solution.
5. Conclude in style
When concluding your Cover Letter, remember to thank the recruiter for their time, direct the recruiter to your CV, ask for an interview to discuss your abilities further and provide your contact information.
The conclusion is basically where you tell recruiters what you’d like them to do next after reading your application letter. Since you made the application to be considered for the role, invite the recruiter to look at your CV and leave your contacts to make it easy to be reached.
Do you have any questions regarding your cover letter or CV? Leave a comment below and we will do our best to get back to you.
The writer is a Communications Officer at Corporate Staffing Services. Email: email@example.com