Cover Letter Writing

Professional Cover Letter Writing Tips

Cover letters are introductory letters that are meant to accompany a resume or CV when a person is applying for a job. The purpose of a cover letter is to provide a candidate with a less formalized way to introduce themselves, their qualifications and the reasons for their interest in a particular position. Cover letter styles can vary depending on the type of position being applied for and the circumstances of the application. Industry-specific letters can prove useful when a candidate has a strong background in a specific field. A good cover letter can encourage a potential employer to read on and can help a candidate get noticed.

With employers receiving so many CVs these days, a well-written email covering letter will make your application stand out. Gone are the days when you can just say in your email cover letter "Here is my CV". Physically posting your CV, is not recommended as you will appear out of touch with the present job market. These days, you must produce a first-class email covering letter that clearly links your experience, skills and achievements to an employer's real needs. It must demonstrate that you are better than the other applicants and make the reader want to read your CV.

The objective of the cover letter is to present a brief overview of yourself to the employer. By presenting your personal information in a coherent format, your objective is to convince the employer that your skills are valuable to the employer.

Below are some tips to aid you in preparing a concise cover letter:

Note: Above all else, the most important element of any cover letter is clarity. It must be easy to read, contain useful information, and be straightforward. Always check your cover letter before you send it to anyone with this in mind.

Make sure there are no spelling errors, or grammatical mistakes. The application is the only information an employer has about you, and presentation really matters.

The cover letter gives you an opportunity to provide extra information, express your interest in the job, and do a sales pitch for your skills and experience.

* Avoid lengthy letters exceeding 1 page. Most cover letters consist of 3 paragraphs. If you really need more space, first check what you've written for clarity and information, and delete unnecessary material. Don't exceed the one page rule unless absolutely unavoidable, and even then, try to keep it brief. 

* Always include any employer references, the title of the job, and address your letter to the attention of the employer contact name in the first lines, in bold type. (Attention: Mr. ABC: Re Customer Service Officer position, your reference 12345) The employer needs these, and it shows you understand the rules of business correspondence. 

 *Paragraph 1: Brief self-introduction including a description of your career objective. This should make a relationship between the job and your career, explaining your interest in the position and how it relates to your CV.  

* Paragraph 2: A short description of your education, skills and other relevant information. Make sure this information also fits the essential criteria for the position. You're telling the employer you have the necessary qualifications. 

* Paragraph 3: A closing paragraph indicating all your contact details, your phone, your email and fax contact if available. 

*Date your letter. This is standard business practice, and will be part of your file with the employer. It's also the only available reference to your application on your end, and will be the date of application for future reference.