Let’s start from the beginning – What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a document that you submit when applying for jobs, briefly introducing your skills and experience.
It is usually about a page long, between 3 and 5 paragraphs. It should include points about your education, work experience, and qualifications for the job.
Cover letters allow you to leave a good initial impression on the recruiter by showing off your strengths and experiences. When done right, a cover letter can make all the difference between a rejection and landing an interview. And we want the interview, right?
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter
Cover letters can be a pain to write. Additionally, not everyone will read them! Frustrating, I know, but nonetheless, they are still important. And to make your life a bit easier, here are some steps and tips for writing a good cover letter:
- Customize the letter based on the job advert. We cannot emphasize enough how important this step is. If it’s an online position, use relevant vocabulary and show off your ability to work in a home office environment without distractions. Similarly, you don’t have to write a completely different letter for every job you’re applying for – after all, you cannot change your experience. Instead, change relevant details, foreground some knowledge, and shift things around to match the advert.
- Use a business format. Cover letters are business letters. Therefore handle them like such and use a formal letter format. Most text programs like Word and Pages have such templates and are perfect for an easy start. That being said, you can tailor the style to the tone of the job ad – if the ad and company are quirky and fun, you can go for a more creative approach to your cover letter.
- Research the company. What are their values? What is their mission? Does this resonate with you? Try to include that in your cover letter. But be honest.
- Address a person. Usually, there is a contact in the job description. Address the letter straight to them. If not, use formal addressing.
- Introduce yourself. In the first paragraph, you should clarify a few things – who you are, why you want this position, and your skill set. Your birthdate, for example, shouldn’t be in there, as it’s already in your CV. Tell them about you as a person.
- Use short paragraphs and bullet points. Recruiters have to look at hundreds of applications. Make your cover letter short and precise. Use bullet points for the most significant skills and experiences so they can easily skim your application.
- Your experiences and skills. Set a focus on how your skills and experiences will contribute to the new role and the company. Avoid general, sweeping statements about your skills. Be specific.
Instead of saying you’re ambitious, provide an example of how you’ve developed this trait and how you can use it in your workplace.
Example: In my previous post, I took it as a personal challenge to increase our company’s visibility on the market by developing a more user-friendly interface, which generated X successful results and increased our company’s visibility by Y.
- Address your gaps. You don’t have to go into detail, but don’t hide longer gaps. Honesty can go a long way, and everyone knows how hard life can be.
- Proofreading. Spelling and grammar errors don’t leave a good impression. Have someone read your cover letter for mistakes. Don’t skip this step.
Need more information? I have these additional tips for you! 🙂
- Don’t be afraid to apply for a job you aren’t 100% qualified for. Emphasize your skills and how you would use them on the job.
- Show enthusiasm. HR wants to see that you are passionate about the role and your work. Show them why you are excited!
- Always avoid irrelevant information! Remember, they already have your CV, so they don’t need it repeated – instead, elaborate on some points of your work or study experience and skip the rest.
- Lastly, use an active voice. Don’t be passive in your cover letter. Using an active voice shows better confidence in your skill set and yourself.
Cover Letter Example
While we strive to bring you the best, most relevant examples for a cracking cover letter, please bear in mind that these are only our examples. You should try to tailor your cover letters to each job you’re applying for, as they are all different. Nevertheless, here it is, the cover letter example of your dreams:
Use the one page you have, and use it well. Be specific about your skills and experiences, provide anecdotal examples, and demonstrate your intention of meeting the company’s standards as an employee.
How to End a Cover Letter?
End your cover letter with confidence about why you are the best fit for the role. Make sure to say “Thank you” and use a professional sign-off, such as “Kind regards“, “Best regards“, “Sincerely“, or “Respectfully“.
Don’t end your cover letter with informal salutations such as “Thanks”, “Cheers”, “Take care”, or “Bye”. Don’t use emojis either.
Make sure your cover letter closing is appropriate and professional. This is one of the most confusing parts of any cover letter, and so it deserves special attention.
How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship?
Excellent, we now know how to write a good cover letter for a job. However, you are aiming to apply for an internship. Worry not, we’ve got that covered too!
The two aren’t really that different, but some things should be kept in mind:
- Why do you want the internship? School? University? To gain experience after finishing school? Describe what you expect from this internship.
- Highlight your coursework. If you are still in education, use your cover letter to explain what your courses cover and how this could be relevant to the internship.
- Contact person. Did someone at the company tell you about the internship? Mention them.
- Ask a teacher or professor for a recommendation letter, especially when you don’t have any work experience.
No Experience? No Problem! —How to Write a Cover Letter Without Experience?
Every job can be learned. It is a fact. There are many reasons why someone might have no relevant experience, and this is nothing we should be ashamed of. If you have little to no experience, focus on what you learned in the last few years.
- What was the coursework like? Your education is important, so focus on it.
- What skills have you developed in the last few years?
- Were you a sports coach or any other coach? Mention any form of volunteer work.
- What do you do in your spare time? Use your passions to your advantage.
- Explain why you want this job. What are your expectations? What do you want to learn during this time?
Yes, it is challenging to write a cover letter without experience. But it can be of great help, as it means you have something else to send to the recruiters besides your CV. Write it with confidence and stand out from other applicants!
Example Cover Letter With No Experience
[Your contact information]
[Company Contact Information]
Name of HR Manager (if available)
Dear [Recipient’s Full Name/General Job title],
I am writing to express my strong interest in the [Position] role at [Company Name]. While I am a recent [Your Qualification] graduate with no prior work experience in [relevant industry or field], I am eager to start my career and believe that my skills and enthusiasm make me a great fit for this position.
Throughout my academic studies, I have gained valuable knowledge and skills in [relevant coursework or projects], which have prepared me to succeed in this role. Additionally, I have developed [related skills or qualities], such as [specific skills or traits], that I believe will enable me to contribute to the team’s success. [additionally, insert any volunteering experience you have, and give specific examples and results]
I am particularly drawn to [Company Name] because of its [specific aspect of the company that interests you, such as its mission, products, or culture]. I am impressed by the company’s commitment to [related aspects of the company, such as innovation or social responsibility], and I am eager to contribute my skills to the team.
As a highly motivated and dedicated individual, I am excited to have the opportunity to work in a professional environment where I can continue to develop my skills and make meaningful contributions to the team. I am confident in my ability to [related responsibilities or tasks of the position] and I am committed to [related goals or values of the company].
Thank you for considering my application. I have attached my CV for your review and would welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further.