A cover letter is a brief introduction to a job application or a university essay that is about a page long. Within a few paragraphs, the writer is expected to present themselves, their qualifications, and skills. They are typically required to gauge a candidate’s competence and abilities.
A well-written and thought-out cover letter can help employers or admission officers learn a lot about applicants including their basic skills and level of interest. It is a great opportunity to show off your organization and writing. An excellent one can definitely help you advance to the top contenders to your desired position.
What Makes a Cover Letter Great?
There are a few key elements that you need to turn your cover letter from okay to exceptional. In order to get your reader’s attention, your cover letter must be simple and to the point but without lacking style.
First, identify your goals and what you would hope to accomplish. You must highlight your expertise and accomplishments next in a way that is brief, compelling, and straightforward.
Just like you wouldn’t settle for professional services e.g. CustomWritings which will write your paper from scratch by someone professional, don’t slack on perfecting and polishing up the accompanying cover letter. It is your weapon to stay competitive amongst your peers so keep it concise, engaging, and detailed.
What is the Difference Between Business and Academic Cover Letters?
Business and academic cover letters are fairly similar in purpose and function but can vary in their details.
If you are applying for a specific job, your business cover letter should cater to the particulars of that position. That means it is expected for you to showcase your best skills and achievements that match that opportunity within 3 to 4 paragraphs.
However, a university cover letter is a more detailed presentation of personal, professional, and academic accomplishments. It can reach a length of 5 to 8 paragraphs in a couple of pages to fully cover the requirements needed.
Cover Letter Writing Process: Step-by-Step
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, a great way to start your cover letter is by reading its requirements. It can be extremely helpful to learn the expectations of your reader in order to surpass them.
Sometimes a certain format is instructed by the organization requesting the cover letter. In that case, stick religiously to that format to ensure your letter gets the attention it deserves.
Date and Contact Info
First things first, list your date and contact information on the top of your digital cover letter page. Here’s an example of how to do it:
- City, Country
- Phone Number
- Email Address
Begin your cover letter by getting personal. By doing some research into the expected reader, you can address them directly. This will give you an edge since you have grabbed the reader’s concentration within the first few seconds.
If it is not possible to gather the name or contact of the hiring manager or admission’s officer you are referring to, you can just stick to their title. Here are some examples of greetings you may use:
- Dear Martha Smith
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear Board of Directors
- Dear Selection Committee
Introduce yourself as well as mention how excited you are about what you are submitting the cover letter for. Don’t forget to mention how you found out about the opportunity or bringing up a person who referred you. You can talk about what interested you in this university or job and how it matches your ambitions or goals. Avoid being too stylistic or too formal; finding a balance in between is perfect.
Cover Letter Body
Skip the small talk after the introductory paragraph and get to why you are the ideal candidate. Dive into the experience and qualifications that make you stand out. Mention the skills you master, your most impressive accomplishments, and your overall relevant highlights.
Be descriptive and detailed with this part as it is the sole purpose of the entire cover letter. Keep your tone formal and your points clear as to avoid any distractions from the actual content.
In this section, briefly sum up the contents of your cover letter and mention the value you believe you could add to the organization if selected.
Reviewing applications, reading cover letters, and filtering candidates takes effort and patience so thank the reader for their time and consideration.
You may take this opportunity too to request an interview without being too pushy.
Stay friendly with your complimentary closing without being too cordial. Examples of great closers can be:
- Thank you for your consideration
- Looking forward to talking to you
Stay clear of sounding unprofessional with casual options like:
- Yours truly
- Have a great day
Quick Tips Before Submitting
Since the competition is so fierce, having the right credentials isn’t enough to land your spot. The style, vocabulary, and structure can elevate your cover letter beyond other applicants. In order for your cover letter to fulfill its purpose, it needs to not only stand out but also boost your advantage over your competition. So be extra diligent with your editing and proofreading so no errors or typos slip through the cracks.
Ask for fresh eyes to review your cover letter from one of your peers or mentors or simply read it out loud before submitting. These methods will help you spot any mistakes in no time. Nevertheless, proofreading is a process that takes time and concentration so don’t rush.
Submit Requested Materials Only
While you are submitting your cover letter, be sure to review the requirements asked of you. Take a minute to check that they are all there without any shortage or additions. Your cover letter may not be considered if it does not fulfill the proper length or demands. On the contrary, it can be ignored if it is paired with other unsolicited documents that are wasting time for the responsible party. So err on caution’s side and send exactly what was asked of you and leave the rest for the interview.