Cover letter is a statement of purpose, explaining applicant’s fit for specific position or role. Other titles used interchangeably for cover letter are; Application Letter, Application Essay, Personal Background, Introduction Letter, etc.
Most times, your cover letter could probably be the first thing the recruiter will see. Therefore, it should be written in a way that is appealing to the reader such that the recruiter will not be able to resist the urge to read the actual CV/Résumé. The tone of the letter should be business-like, employer-focused and should respond to the job requirement.
Cover Letter should not be a ‘one-size-fits-all-role’ document.
It is not advisable to use one cover letter across board, for all vacancies across all industries. Every cover letter should be customized for specific job vacancy, job responsibilities and job requirements.
Most often than not, job vacancies require cover letters. However, in a scenario where it is not explicitly stated as part of the job requirements, it is worthwhile to write the cover letter as the body of the mail (BTW do not forget to attach your CV/Résumé).
Suggestion: Always have the specific job description handy when drafting a cover letter, pay attention to relevant keywords/phrases and present your skills or expertise in the most applicable way possible.
Address it like a business letter and stick to recommendations below unless otherwise stated during application.
- THEME FONT: The choice of font style should be clear, easy-to-read and business like; e.g. Times New Roman, Calibri, Serif, Arial
- FONT SIZE– Font size should be between 10pts-12pts.
- LENGTH– Total length should not exceed 1 page. If it goes beyond that, review and edit the document to fit into a page.
- LINE SPACING– Use the line spacing rule as applicable on a business letter.
The contents of the letter should include;
- Address of writer and recipient.
- Salutation- keep it brief and direct.
- Paragraphs- not be more than 4-5 paragraphs
Ideas for arranging paragraphs;
¶ 1- Indicate purpose of application.
- How did you hear about the role and through which medium- Newspaper publication/ website/ referral/ or on LinkedIn?
- You could also specify why you are interested in working for this particular employer.
¶ 2 & 3- Fit for role
- Outline your qualifications/competencies and match them to the requirements of the position.
- Provide specific and relevant achievements to demonstrate fit for the role (use bullet points for emphasis)
¶4- Next Step
- Include a brief paragraph that indicates what action will come next.
- Make known your availability for an interview opportunity to discuss further.
Close by thanking the employer for their time and consideration and Signoff with ‘Yours Sincerely or Yours Faithfully’.
Finally, proofread more than once! Double check for grammatical or spelling errors! Assume the role of the hiring Manager!
Do not second-guess whether the cover letter will be read or not. Do the needful and maximize every opportunity to get your dream job.