How to Write a Cover Letter in 2021: A Comprehensive Guide
You might have often heard about the importance of attaching a cover letter to your job application. A cover letter can increase your chances of getting the position you’re applying for or at least receiving a callback. However, writing a cover letter is an art that you must master, and it requires time to develop the skills to write cover letters that impress employers.
If you’ve just graduated, you might not know what cover letters are and what they entail. Likewise, if you’ve never submitted a cover letter in your career before, you might find them perplexing. Therefore, before you can write a captivating cover letter, you’ll need to learn everything you can about them.
What is a Cover Letter?
Before we proceed any further, let’s get one thing clear. Cover letters aren’t mandatory unless stated otherwise. However, many employers do prefer them. According to a survey by Resume Labs, 83 percent of human resource professionals consider cover letters to be essential. Moreover, these hiring executives also state that an excellent cover letter can compensate for a substandard resume and help you get an interview 83 percent of the time. Therefore, you can’t deny the importance of writing a killer cover letter.
Now, you might be wondering, what’s a cover letter? A cover letter is a one-page document that supplements the contents of your resume. Typically, candidates use cover letters to provide employers an overview of their job history and skills. In addition, you’ll also want to use your cover letter to demonstrate your interest in the position. Moreover, a well-written cover letter can help provide a glimpse of your personality to prospective employers. It’s also an opportunity to showcase why you would be a suitable fit for the company.
Considering unemployment soared in 2020, it’s more important than ever to attach a cover letter with your resume to stand out among a sea of candidates. According to the Resume Labs survey, 74 percent of hiring executives prefer receiving applications with cover letters than without one. If you want to increase your chances of receiving a job interview, consider drafting a cover letter.
What Should a Cover Letter Contain?
Now that you know what a cover letter is, it’s time to learn about the contents of these letters. Although there’s no standard format for cover letters, most recruiters agree that a cover letter should follow some fundamental principles. For starters, you’ll want to include carefully curated career stories to provide a glimpse of your work experience and accomplishments. Moreover, you’ll also want to highlight the skills you bring to the table. In addition, you’ll want to combine these two to demonstrate how you can add value to the reader’s organization. Lastly, you’ll want to use a paragraph or two to showcase your knowledge about the employer’s work history and specify your interest in working for them.
Writing a Captivating Cover Letter
You’ll want to ensure that you follow a format when writing a cover letter. Here’s how to make sure your cover letter captivates the reader:
Use a Professional Header
You’ll want to make sure that you use a sleek header for your cover letter. Typically, it should include your name, address, contact information, and date. Moreover, it should also include the name and designation of the recruiter, the company’s name, and address. Therefore, it’s vital to research the necessary information before you start penning your cover letter. If you can’t find the recruiter’s name online, you can address them as Sir or Madam in your letter. However, if you do this, make sure to sign off by writing “Yours Faithfully.”
In addition, remember to keep your header professional. Avoid using email addresses that may come off as juvenile or unprofessional. If you don’t have a suitable email address, create a new one. You should also refrain from using your current work address when sending cover letters.
Write a Compelling Opening Paragraph
We can’t overstate the importance of a compelling opening paragraph. The truth is most hiring managers don’t have enough time to read every single cover letter religiously. Therefore, most recruiters will read through your cover letter’s opening few lines to decide whether it’s worth a read. A compelling opening paragraph ensures that you captivate the reader’s attention, preventing them from moving onto another cover letter abruptly.
There are several strategies you can employ to ensure your opening is compelling. You could share how you’ve been following the company’s progress over an extended period. Likewise, you could also detail aspects about the company that piqued your interest.
Detail Your Accomplishments and Experience in the Body
The body of your cover letter is a perfect opportunity for you to detail your work experience and accomplishments. You can insert career stories that showcase your best attributes more enjoyably. Remember that a cover letter differentiates from a resume. Your cover letter should be more flavorful rather than reading like a list of achievements. Highlight your areas of expertise and demonstrate how you would be the perfect candidate for the job. In addition, show how you can add value to the organization by bringing something new to the table. The body of your cover letter is your time to shine, so use it wisely. However, ensure that you don’t come as braggadocios. Instead, you want your employer to know how your past work experience can contribute to their plans.
Demonstrate Your Eagerness to Join
While highlighting work experience and past accomplishments is an excellent idea, you also want to demonstrate your eagerness to join the organization. Therefore, it would serve you well to include some aspects about the company that you like – whether that’s the organization culture, the work environment, or anything else. The hiring manager will appreciate your interest and the research you’ve done on the company’s history. One of the easiest ways to show your interest is by selecting a company fact and explaining why you find it captivating.
Once you’ve followed all the steps above, it’s time to cap off your cover letter. Utilize the final paragraph to provide your offer to your prospective employer. Consider telling the hiring manager that you’re looking forward to meeting them and discussing how you can help the organization meet its goals.
Furthermore, ensure that you finish your cover letter with the appropriate formal closing. You’ll want to refrain from ending the letter informally. Instead, opt for a more professional ending, like “Yours Sincerely” or “Regards.”
Gain an Edge with a Professionally Written Cover Letter
Writing cover letters can be challenging. Hence, you might want to consider utilizing a professional resume and cover letter service. We can help you draft an excellent cover letter that captivates the attention of the hiring manager.