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How to Write an Excellent Cover Letter

These days, we hear terms such as cover letter, covering letter, motivation letter, motivational letter or letter of motivation often used interchangeably.

A cover letter is an introductory letter attached to or accompanying another document such as a résumé or a curriculum vitae.

It is often used by job seekers as a marketing device for employment.

Cover letters are equally used by business men in connection with many business documents such as loan applications (mortgage loan), contract drafts and proposals, and executed documents.

A cover letter should be persuasive to fully capture the reader's attention.

It introduces the writer to the reader. First impressions as they say count, so taking great care to write an impressive and effective letter is primordial. Remember that the letter not only shows accomplishments but it also reveals how effectively the candidate can communicate.

On average, your cover letter should vary from 250-400 words long. Cover letters are usually structured to contain the following:

  • Contact details

  • The hiring manager/department and company information

  • Formal salutation

  • Opening paragraph

  • The body

  • Closing paragraph

How then should one write an excellent cover letter? Below are some tips to guide you in the writing process:

1. Prepare a New Cover Letter for Each New Opportunity.

The tendency is always to take an old cover letter, quickly change the name of the old institution and add the new one. But this isn’t advisable; it rarely works. It’s better to create a custom letter for every new opportunity; that increases your odds of success. It enables you to be specific and show the recruiter excitement about the role you're applying for. Even if you have to use a template or a previous cover letter , do not just copy and paste everything. Do well to recycle and edit the information to suit the particular context.

2. Do your research first

Before you get to writing a cover letter for any offer, do your research well. Get to know more about the hiring institution first and the requirements/description for the opportunity you're applying for. This will direct and ease the customization of your letter.

3. Focus on the future

While your CV is designed to highlight to your experiences and where you’ve been, your cover letter should focus on the future and what you intend to do. Make the hiring managers know what you're bringing to the table and why you are the best fit for the role.

4. Include the hiring manager's name

If you know the specific person handling the recruitment process, it's best to address the letter using that person's name. Avoid using generic salutations such as: “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam”; they’re rigid, obsolete, and as you remember, we mentioned that cover letters need to be customized.

5. Start with a strong opening sentence

Let your opening sentence be catchy and impressive. You could start by introducing yourself with a snappy first sentence that highlights your excitement about the company you’re applying to, your passion for the work or task, or your past accomplishments.

6. Highlight just the right experiences

Select relevant experiences which are in line with the role you're applying for. Listing all experiences which have nothing to do with the present role is somehow irrelevant. Bringing out the right past experiences, and showing it's positive impact via the evidence of statistics is highly recommended.

In case you don't have relevant experience, lay emphasis on the strengths and skills you have with respect to the solicited role.

7. Communicate Enthusiasm

Make the recruiter clearly understand why you want the role. The recruiter should see from your letter that you know what you're getting into and you possess the right skills to pull through.

8. Keep it Short and Interesting

Avoid lengthy cover letters that go above a page. Keep it short but let your recruiters be mesmerized and excited to have you on board after going through your letter.

9. Have a strong finish and Proofread

Your last lines should lay emphasis on your enthusiasm for the company and how you will be a great fit for the position. Don’t forget to proofread your letter at least twice to ensure that it is error free. It’s also a good idea to give it to someone else to edit; the person could see things that you missed.

Thank you for reading and we hope you apply these tips when writing your cover letters. The more you practice writing, the better you get and it will increase your chances of success. If you need help with writing a cover letter or if you need a template to get started, contact us. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our Blog to receive enriching content such as this. We’ve equally selected a few articles for you to enjoy next. Keep reading and until next time, BESTech remains your BEST Bet.

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