How to Write The Perfect Cover Letter
The goal of a cover letter is to communicate what makes you the perfect hire personality- and skills-wise. It should be on-point, professional and give a ‘preview’ of what you can bring to the table. After all, that would be the first document from your job application packet that the HR will see. So the stakes are high!
If you are struggling to find the right words for your letter, here are four actionable tips from
Cover Letter Ninjas writing team that should steer you in the right direction.
1. Brainstorm Your Unique Selling Proposition
Your cover letter should briefly communicate why the company should hire you and not someone else. That is pitch a unique selling proposition (USP) – your distinctive characteristics that set you apart from other applicants.
Before you sit down and write, think about the ways of how you can contribute to the organization. Did you perform a relevant project? Do you have deep domain expertise in the industry? Are there any special skills or industry accolades that would make you appear more interesting than other candidates? Jot down those thoughts and incorporate them in your letter later on.
Here’s a quick example of a great UPS for a teaching cover letter:
“Apart from working as a general arts K12 educator for the past 6 years, I’m also the sponsor of the school’s art club and host to regular fairs”.
2. Test Different Opening Statements
Most cover letters start with the standard ‘I’m writing in response to your job posting…” statement. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that. But it’s not great either. Remember: an HR manager reads dozens of cover letters per day, and you don’t want yours to be treated as a ‘dime a dozen’.
So here are some alternative ideas for how to start your cover letter:
- Make a big statement about your skills.
- Drop a mention of your biggest accomplishment up-to-date.
- Reference a connection you have.
- Demonstrate your awareness of the company/industry news.
3. Stick to the Standard Cover Letter Format and Length
A cover letter consists of:
- An opening paragraph – up to 3 long sentences.
- Body (2-3 paragraphs).
- Closing paragraph with call-to-action.
Deviations from this structure are mostly unwelcome by the HRs. So you’d better stick with it.
In terms of length, Indeed recommends aiming for 250-400 words. That’s around a ¾ a page in standard word processing software if you are using a 12 point font. Also, don’t forget to use spacing between lines and keep sufficient margins.
4. Write a Memorable Closure
Finish your cover letter on a strong, positive note. There are several ways to do so. First, you can make the last final pitch to the HR. For example: “I’d be glad to help XYZ marketing team maximize the ROI as I did at my last job”.
Alternatively, you can reinforce the idea that you’ll be a great company fit. “I believe that my skills and past expertise will massively contribute to realizing the XYZ mission of becoming the next-gen catering services provider”.
Lastly, you can go with a more general closing statement, but make your final pitch in a P.S. section. Doing so will likely command even more attention to it. So here are your four tips for crafting the perfect cover letter. Now go on and get to writing!