The cover letter is a part of the application process that causes problems for a lot of people. After all, in a job resume (or “CV”), you need to provide a detailed report of your relevant accomplishments. So, what’s left to write about in your cover letter?
The answer will largely depend on what you are applying for, but we will delve more into that a little later.
First, let’s address some of the most pressing questions related to cover letters: What cover letter template should you use? What are some good cover letter examples? What are some tips for writing a cover letter when you have no experience? And finally, how can YOU write the perfect cover letter?
3 Steps for Writing a Cover Letter That Will Impress
Before you put your pen to paper (figuratively speaking), you’ll need to know what to include in your cover letter. Whether you’re applying for a new job, an academic grant, a spot at a great school, or something else entirely, you’ll want to craft a cover letter that makes sense. Luckily for you, writing a great cover letter is easier than many people realize!
Step 1: Compile the Right Information
Generally, a cover letter accompanies a resume or formal application.
Your resume or application should serve as a snapshot of your life. More precisely, it should include your education, work history, skills, references, and any other relevant experiences.
On the other hand, your cover letter should serve as a description of exactly why you deserve the position for which you are applying. In essence, a cover letter gives you the opportunity to plead your case directly. After all, the school, company, or organization will likely receive dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of applications, so you will want to do everything in your power to catch their attention.
What information should you include in your cover letter? To answer this question, you will need to analyze your application and the position you want. Which parts of your application are MOST relevant to the position? More importantly, which parts will look most appealing to the hiring manager or recruiter?
For example, let’s say you’re applying for a job as a receptionist. On your resume, you listed your degree in Business Administration, your 3 years working at a fast-food restaurant, your relevant skills (multitasking, organizational skills, and IT knowledge), your time spent volunteering as a summer camp counselor, and your references.
While this can all be included on your resume, not everything is necessarily relevant to being a receptionist. So, for your cover letter, you should probably focus on your Business Administration degree and your relevant skills.
By analyzing the position you want and how your accomplishments could appeal to a hiring manager or recruiter, you can easily determine which pieces of information are most relevant. Once you find the information that makes you stand out and makes you seem like the right person for the position, you can begin writing your cover letter.
What if I don’t have any relevant job experience?
However, if you’re writing a cover letter when you have no experience, things get a bit more challenging. Don’t worry! You can still impress the person reading your application.
Rather than focusing on experience (since this is a weaker part of your resume), you should focus on your skills, work ethic, enthusiasm, and similar characteristics that could justify being chosen for the position. You can even use a personal story to showcase why you’re a great fit for the company and the position.
Now that you know what to include, let’s look at the correct writing style to use for your next cover letter!