Job Application

Four simple steps to writing a great cover letter

Although most companies don’t strictly require candidates to attach a cover letter to their resume anymore, knowing how to write one is still a great skill to have. Adding a cover letter to your application accomplishes three things: it shows you are willing to put in extra effort, it allows you to add context to the information on your resume, and it sets you apart from the rest – especially if the rest didn’t write a letter. Despite these reasons, many candidates don’t bother to write letters when they apply. One of the reasons for that is that most candidates are unsure of what to write. In this article, you will learn a tried-and-true template for writing a convincing cover letter. What’s surprising is that this is much easier than you might think. In fact, there are just four simple steps to writing a good cover letter! Let’s dive right in.

 

This template has four simple paragraphs. Each paragraph has its own function:

 

Paragraph one:

First, introduce yourself. This introduction should be short: two sentences max. You don’t have to be elaborate, because you have also attached your resume – which should also contain a link to your LinkedIn profile. State your name and your current position. Then, explain why you are writing this letter: you are eager to apply to the position ___. Explain what you are trying to achieve: you hope to give some context to your application, so the company knows who you are, why you want to apply, what you hope to bring to the table, and what you hope to get out of this job.

 

Paragraph two:

Here you should explain how you came to the point of applying. How do you know this company? How did you learn about this vacancy? If you have already spoken to people inside the company (which you should), mention that here. Next, explain why this company is attractive to you. Make it personal – try to stay away from generic characteristics that could apply to many different companies. The more specific, the better. Also, explain what excites you about this role. Convey enthusiasm and a thorough understanding of the role.

 

Paragraph three:

Next, you should elaborate on why you would be a great fit for this position. Explain what you think it takes to be a top performer in this role. Then, link that to yourself. What are your strengths? How do you fit in this ideal image? For extra marks, mention some of the current challenges the company faces. To learn about those potential challenges, ideally, you want to have an informal conversation with someone in the company. Use the techniques covered in this article.

 

Paragraph four:

Fourth and finally, explain what you hope to get from this function. How does this fit as a natural next step in your career path? In what ways do you want to develop yourself here? Ideally, after reading all of this, the reader should think “it’s only natural that he/she applied. This position is a perfect fit!”

 

That’s it! Four simple paragraphs. Nothing fancy, just a tried-and-true template. There is no need to spend hours and hours writing the perfect letter. Instead, focus on writing a solid yet simple letter. A couple of extra tips:

 

  • Keep it concise. All of this should fit on one page.

  • Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Mistakes make you come off as unprofessional or sloppy.

  • Whenever possible, write short sentences. People generally enjoy reading short sentences.

  • Don’t just repeat what’s on your resume. Fill the gaps! Remember, the cover letter is a complement to your resume. Both documents have unique roles.

  • Choose an attractive yet readable font. Solid font choices include Arial, Helvetica, and Open Sans. Use font size 12pt.

  • Think about aesthetics and uniformity. If you use a certain accent color on your resume, use the same on your cover letter.

    If you send the cover letter digitally, give the file a sensible name and save it as a PDF. FirstnameLastname_Cover letter.pdf.

 

That’s all! Now get to writing. Good luck!