The purpose of a cover letter is to showcase who you are and to explain your strengths and how you can be an asset to the company you are applying to. This single page document is designed to complement your resume so you can stand out above the rest.
However, it can be difficult to know where to begin, so here are easy steps to develop a compelling cover letter.
1. Get their attention
The design of your cover letter should look professional and easy to read. Make sure you use plain English and avoid jargon. Always address it to a particular person by their name, and make sure that the spelling is correct. The cover letter also should not be too long; limit it to a single page.
2. Gain their interest
The first paragraph should include any knowledge you have of their company and the work they do. However, don’t make it forced. Next, you should always include the position you are applying for and explain your interest for their consideration.
3. Sell your strengths as assets
In the second paragraph, explain what you have to offer the company. For this portion of the cover letter, you should put yourself in the employer’s shoes. Present facts about your skills and qualifications that lead back to what the company is looking for. They are interested in what you can do for their company. Do not talk about your weaknesses and try to compensate for them, such as lack of experience.
4. Ask for an interview
The last paragraph is where you ask for an interview. Remember to be courteous, but direct. Give specific times and days that you are available to schedule an interview. Then, wrap up your cover letter by restating your interest and include the phrase “thank you for your consideration.”
5. Sign off appropriately
End your cover letter with a formal closing. Some good examples are “Best,” “All the best,” or “Sincerely.” Then type your full name. If you want to add a formal touch, add your signature above your typed name. An easy way to do this electronically is by signing on a white piece of copy paper and taking a picture to insert in the document.
6. Spend time proofreading
Re-read your cover letter and have your friends and family proofread it. Look for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and ask your friends if it’s understandable. If you let it sit in your mind for one day, you might find additional errors or think of a better way to phrase something.