how to write a cover letter

How to Write a Cover Letter

A cover letter is a very important part of job application process. A good cover letter accompanied with a resume increases the chances of getting shortlisted for the desired job. It is highly essential to send customized cover letters for different jobs applied by a candidate. It reflects the concentration and focus employed in the application process of a particular job and works to the benefit of the candidate.

For every competitive job opening, recruiters receive a lot of job applications and hence it is advisable to attach a fine cover letter to stand out among the crowd. Cover letters should be regarded as branding tools for effective selling of the personal brand. It should convince the recruiters about the competitive advantage of the potential candidate.

Following is a step by step approach to help you in writing a good cover letter:-

How to Write a Cover Letter : Step 1 - Self Introduction

Your introduction must create a positive first impression, just like in person. Introduction is very crucial in cover letter writing. It can either create an everlasting impression or mar your reputation just by the way you introduce yourself. Self introduction speaks a lot about your personality. Employers feel if you can explain yourself well, you are an organized person who can handle the job responsibilities also. In three four sentences your introduction should cover:

  • The position you are applying for
  • How you found their contact
  • Why you are interested to take the job
  • A valid reason for them to read on

How to Write a Cover Letter : Step 2 - References and Salutations

Ideally, if you are referred by someone or if anyone has allowed you to use his/her name in your cover letter, you must use their name, mention the name and show your association to them at the opening of the letter. You can otherwise, include how and where you came to know about the job opening: online, through any employee, in a newspaper, through a recruiting agency, etc.

However, if you do not know the name of the contact person you are writing cover letter to, never use generic salutation. It is advisable to altogether skip the generic salutation and start with the letter itself.

How to Write a Cover Letter : Step 3 - Do Initial Homework

Doing homework is always good for the job aspirants. When they write a cover letter they need to know everything about the company they are applying to. For this internet is an excellent medium these days. Trying and contacting the past and present employees of the organization will also help a great deal.

How to Write a Cover Letter : Step 4 - Organization Centric Cover Letter

In order to write a successful cover letter, it should be crafted from a professional approach. Care should be taken so that proper format is adopted while writing a cover letter. Organization centric cover letters are much better than those written from an individualistic point of view. It should tell about the candidate’s intention and mutual value that they can generate upon his/her selection for the opening.

How to Write a Cover Letter : Step 5 - Well Researched Content

Only well researched and precise content should be included in a cover letter. Avoid random writing or generic writing in cover letters. A well researched content with some homework done about the organization’s history, its inception, its current market value, its functionality will help in drafting a good cover letter. The content must be relevant and informative. It should show you and your personality in a good light. It is best if your match your skills and competencies to the organization’s vision.

How to Write a Cover Letter : Step 6 - Quantify and Validate Past Success

Employers d not want vague sentences about your past success. The applicants should possess solid evidences of their past successful outcomes and achievements. Many HR recruiters deem past achievements as a benchmark to decide if you are an eligible candidate for their organization. So focus on what you are capable of offering to your potential employers by drawing upon your combined experiences, talents, achievements, training, education and competency.  Validate all pertinent contributions and successes made by to the past employers by making use of numbers, figures, percentages or dollars wherever you can. Additionally if you cannot quantify your experience or contributions with any quantifiable entity try to qualify it by furnishing instances of difficulties or challenges which had been overcome in the past projects and assignments.

How to Write a Cover Letter : Step 7 - Show Your Interest for the Given Role

The cover letter should be written in such a way that it exhibits the interest of the applicant for the particular job role. It should also clearly explain the skills & experiences of the candidate and how they are helpful for successfully carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the role as well how the applicant’s profile can contribute in realization of organizational objectives.

How to Write a Cover Letter : Step 8 - Closing Paragraph - Call for Action

Last and most importantly, remember the objective of cover letter is to land an opportunity for a personal interview. Ideally you should not just end cover letter stating you'll hope to get in touch. Try to be precise and communicate to the reader the exact day and how you will be contacting them for a follow up. And when you state you will be following up with the employer, make sure you do it!. This clearly conveys a "call to action" and will likely generate a response from the receiver.


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