If you are searching for a job, a compelling CV is essential. There are times when your CV may not be enough. South Africa has a very high unemployment rate putting pressure on available positions and leading to hundreds of extremely qualified candidates applying for one job. Therefore, if you want your application to stand out, you must know how to write the best cover letter for a job application.
Because it’s through your cover letter that employers get to see the kind of employee you will be if they decide to hire you.
What is a Cover Letter for a CV?
A cover letter allows you to endorse yourself for the position you’re applying for by supporting elements in your CV and giving your application more personality. It is attached ahead of the CV. But since most people email or upload their CVs and cover letters, it is a separate document that is ancillary to the CV.
Usually, employers will ask you to add a cover letter to support your reason for applying for the job, especially if they presume there’ll be many candidates.
It’s important to note that your cover letter should be a separate document from your CV. If you’re uploading it
What Do I Write in Cover Letter?
The first time you write a cover letter for a CV, don’t expect it to be perfect. Being concise but detailed about why you want the job can be challenging, especially if you really hope to get it. But, if you write methodically, your cover letter will be easy to read and understand, ensuring you get that coveted follow-up.
Your cover letter should include:
Statements Supporting Why You Think You’ll Be Good at the Job
The cover letter precedes the CV, so it is an excellent way to promote the contents of your CV.
As a result, you want your cover letter to show why you are the ideal fit for the job before the HR manager takes a look at your CV.
Discuss how your qualifications, work experience, and core competencies ensure you’ll excel at the job. Then, when the HR manager sees your qualifications and works history, they can apply them to the advertised position.
Notes on Why You Want to Work For The Company
The cover letter should also include flattering text about the company, especially if it’s a smaller or newer business with fewer than 100 employees. These smaller companies will usually have hiring processes that require you to meet with a senior executive or the CEO before you are hired. If your cover letter includes details about what you enjoy or look forward to about working for the company, it shows that you have spent time researching the company.
Concise and Compelling Opening and Closing Statements
Be sure you instantly get to the important information about your “why hire me” qualities. Formal greetings and introductions are good but should be under 30 words.
The same applies to closing statements, as you should mention that you look forward to hearing from them before mentioning your availability.
Contact Information and Full Name and Surname
Always include your email and cell phone number on the cover letter. You can include this information in the header, footer, or beneath your signature.
You should also sign your letter with your full name and surname as this is professional.
How Do I Write a Good Cover Letter?
Now that you know what to include in your cover letter, it’s time to compile one that will ensure you get a call back from employers.
Step 1: Create an Outline
Don’t just start writing. Create an outline that includes everything you want to mention about yourself within the cover letter. Keep it to five points.
This way, when you write the cover letter, you can tick off each point after you’ve included it.
Step 2: Include Key Phrases
If you aren’t aware of how the hiring process works internally, know this: those who create the job advertisement include the specific elements the company wants in a candidate. So, if they say “a dynamic candidate who can work in high-pressure situations,” they are looking for someone with those exact characteristics. It’s your job to read through the job ad carefully and pick up on the key phrases they’ve used so you can modify them slightly and include them in your cover letter. Only include up to three key phrases or words so it doesn’t seem like you are parroting their statements.
The more jobs you apply for, the more you’ll see key phrases repeated and can insert that into your letter to avoid having to rewrite the entire letter for every job.
Step 3: Create a Draft Letter
Now that you have created an outline and have your keywords create a draft. The draft should include a formal greeting,
an opening paragraph of no more than thirty words.
A two-paragraph body. The first paragraph should detail what you bring to the job, and the second paragraph should be open to customization. In this second paragraph, you’ll write about the company and include one or two key phrases.
Then write a closing paragraph, mentioning that you look forward to hearing from them.
Step 4: Customize it to the Job You’re Applying for
Once you have a draft of your cover letter, you should customize the dynamic elements in the letter for each job you apply to.
The dynamic elements include information about the company and key phrases in the company’s advertisement.
Step 5: Summarize Your Letter
Your cover should be no longer than 250 words. It can be as short as 150 words if you can write a convincing and compelling letter within those constraints.
Remember, the person reading your cover letter could be spending a considerable amount of time reading other cover letters. Therefore, you only want the most pertinent information present as this makes it easy to read.
Also, you should remember that not everything that you feel is a stand-out feature is relevant to your cover letter. As such, cut out:
- Filler content that doesn’t relate to the job, company, or relevant accomplishments.
- Mention of accomplishments that took place more than five years ago.
- Lengthy sentences of more than twenty words (you don’t have to remove the entire sentence, only cut down on words).
Step 6: Check for Spelling and Grammatical Errors
If the role you are applying to requires you to communicate with clients, colleagues, or the public, your employer will take special note of your competency in this area.
Step 7: Send in the Correct Format
Before you send your cover letter, be sure it is in the correct format: Docx or PDF. Sending it in the incorrect format shows that you weren’t attentive to the brief and can lead to the employer questioning your commitment and diligence, as it’s a simple phone call or email to find out what the correct format is.
Alternatively, if the job’s ad does not include that information, you can send it in both formats.
How to write a simple cover letter?
When writing a cover letter, it is important to be concise and to the point. You want to grab readers’ attention and make them want to learn more about you. Here are a few tips on how to write a simple cover letter:
1. Start by introducing yourself and stating the position you are applying for.
2. Next, list your skills and experience that are related to the position.
3. Finally, thank the reader for their time and indicate that you look forward to hearing from them.
What do I include in a cover letter?
The following are some tips on what to include in your cover letter:
1. Introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in the job.
2. Explain why you are the best candidate for the job.
3. List your skills and experience that relate to the job.
4. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest in hearing from them.
Good Cover Letter Examples
A good cover letter can make a big difference in your job search. It can help you stand out from the crowd and get the attention of hiring managers.
When writing a cover letter, be sure to include a clear and concise introduction, body, and conclusion. You should also be sure to tailor your letter to the specific position you are applying for.
Here are a few good cover letter examples to help you get started:
Dear [Employer], I am interested in applying for the [position] position at your company. I have the skills and experience that would make me the perfect candidate for the job. I have worked in a [position] position for the past [amount of time] years, and I have learned a lot about the industry. I am confident that I have the skills and knowledge to be successful in this role. I am excited to learn more about this opportunity and I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time, [Your name]
Dear Mr. Smith, I am interested in the Accounting Manager position that you have posted on your website. I have five years of experience as an accountant, and I am confident that I would be a valuable addition to your team. I am a hard worker and I am motivated to succeed. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this position with you further. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, John Doe
Summary of How to Start a Cover Letter
A cover letter is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information and highlight your qualifications. Tailoring each letter to the specific position you are applying for is important.
The first paragraph of your letter should explain why you are writing. Mention the job you are applying for and how you learned about the opening.
The second paragraph should highlight your qualifications. Focus on specific skills and experiences that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
The third paragraph should explain how you can contribute to the organization. Discuss what you can offer the company and how you can help them achieve its goals.
The fourth paragraph should thank the reader for their time and reiterate your interest in the position.
The last paragraph should include your contact information.
Summary of Cover Letter for a CV
Don’t expect to have a perfect cover letter the first time you write one. The more you apply for jobs, the more you will understand what to include, what to remove and how to create a letter that is informative but easy to read.