The cover letter is one of the most important parts of any application as it’s the one place where the applicant can actually speak to the employer. CVs are there as a rigid list of qualifications and skills, they are not there to act as anything more, and that can be restricting for many. Writing that impressive cover letter doesn’t have to be a difficult exercise, but it can be a nightmare if the proper study material hasn’t been available. That’s why this piece aims to demonstrate how a cover letter should be written.
The opening paragraph is supposed to be a brief introduction that formally introduces the applicant to the reader. Important things that should be mentioned are the job that’s been applied for, a little comment about where the advertisement was found, and when the applicant can start.
The most important thing about the opening paragraph is that it’s short. All of those things that were just mentioned could be included within two sentences. If it goes over three sentences then it’s probably too long. Writing a great letter is about keeping it short and sweet. Employers don’t have time to waste on lengthy applications.
Now it’s time to start explaining the reasoning for applying in the first place. Second paragraphs are all about getting the right balance between impressing the employer and explaining the reasoning of the applicant. Get this right and it will impress any potential employer as it will communicate professionalism and being able to think about other people.
Start with a sentence on why that specific type of work is of interest. Try to make it professional and keep any shallow reasons out of it. For example, informing them that working outside is enjoyable because it’s not a hot and sweaty office is not a good idea. Try something such as: “I enjoy working outside as it gives me the freedom to tune my innovation and creativity to the job at hand in a more optimal manner than an office environment would.”
The second paragraph should end with why that specific company is an attraction. Take note that this will only work for larger companies. Smaller companies should have a sentence on why working for a small organisation is a particular desire.
Advance on why certain skills would be an advantage for the organisation. Beware of just listing the same skills that were on the CV, though. Try to use the best and most unique skills in this paragraph as the third paragraph is where that unique selling point should be coming into play.
Sum everything up by listing any dates that won’t work for an interview, if any. Be careful with this, however, because unless the candidate is exceptional then an employer may just dismiss them out of hand and choose somebody else instead. Finish the letter by thanking the employer and telling them that they look forward to being in contact soon.