How to write a cover letter

Previously we wrote about how to write a good tech CV and with a good CV comes a good cover letter. Here we give you tips and tricks about what an impressive cover letter should contain and an overview what a cover letter should look like.

A cover letter is basically a written summary of your skills, experience and suitability for the job. Writing a good cover letter takes time and is not an easy task. Not writing a cover letter can make you miss out on that one dream job.

Your CV and cover letter cover the same ground, but have slightly different purposes. A cover letter is used to emphasise why you are the best candidate for the job. Here you can highlight why you are interested in the role and company, you can give in-depth information about your skills and experience and explain your CV in more detail. (click here for tips and tricks about how to write a good tech CV).

Always send a cover letter

The internet made it a lot easier to apply for jobs, especially when sending your CV which can be done in just a few clicks. Writing a cover letter slows down the process of applying for jobs, but applying quickly to jobs and not sending a cover letter is not the greatest decision. A cover letter shows you are willing to put in extra effort to apply for the job which you believe is tailored to your skills. Sending a cover letter is a bonus point easily earned compared to the other applicants.

Research

This is a very important step before you start writing your cover letter. You have to research the following things; what the company does, their competitors and where the company is placed in the market. This will not only give you more information about the company but also shows that you are really interested in the role and company.

Customize your cover letter

Always cater your letter to the job you are applying for. Show how you meet the job requirement to stand out which increases your chance of securing an interview.

Emphasise on accomplishments

Past career accomplishments are a good example of future performances. Past accomplishments show the future employer that you performed well and that you were a valuable employee.

Incorporate keywords

Recruiters look for job-related skills, so make sure you incorporate these keywords from the job description into your cover letter. In particular, if a job asks for specific technical skills and you have this expertise, make sure you write these down at the beginning of your cover letter.

Be concise

Recruiters don’t have the time to read your life story. Most recruiters spend half a minute viewing a cover letter. So keep your letter clear, concise and focus on the key points. To make your letter more readable, divide your letter in paragraphs and when possible make use of bullet points. And never use a long word where a short one will do. A key rule is that your cover letter should not be longer than one A4 page.

Proof read

Check and then double-check. Typos in a cover letter will make recruiters think twice about inviting you for an interview. Always check that your spelling and grammar is flawless. Not proof reading your cover letter is a killer mistake.

Lay out

Start with the address of the company and name of who you are writing to and the job you are applying for. Try to find the name of the person to write to. Why? Because research has shown that those who wrote to the correct named person were 15% more likely to get a reply.

First paragraph

Grab the reader’s attention. Introduce yourself and explain why you are writing. Write about your qualifications and why you are interested in this position. Don’t forget to write down your years of experience, previous relevant job title and new position and company name that you are applying to.

Second paragraph

Here you expand on your strengths by providing more detail that supports the first paragraph. Explain why your skills and experience will be beneficial for the company. It is important to write both about soft- and technical skills. A good tech cover letter explains how you used both these skills.

Third paragraph

Reiterate about why you can make a positive contribution to the prospective company, complete your cover letter by showing your desire to join the organisation.

Finish strong

Write a strong and confident closing and end the letter with “yours sincerely” and your name.

A few examples of a strong closing are:

  • “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how my qualifications will be beneficial to your organization’s success.”
  • “I welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I can make a positive contribute.”

Read here how to write a good tech CV

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