The cover letter is one of the most important documents of your job application package. It plays a crucial role in standing out from other applicants and convincing the employer to interview you. Therefore, it is important to craft your cover letter carefully following an appropriate format and template.
The standard cover letter format consists of 3 paragraphs – introduction, body and conclusion. It is advisable to keep your cover letter to 3 paragraphs to maintain brevity and focus on the most important details.
The first paragraph is the introduction. It should contain information like your contact details, the date, the employer’s contact details and the job title you are applying for with reference to the source from where you found about the job vacancy like a job portal or referral. Mention clearly if you are applying for a specific referred job requirement or in response to their general recruitment drive.
The body paragraph is the most important part of your cover letter. It should compellingly demonstrate why you are a perfect fit for the job and company. Start by stating why you are interested in the role and company. Research thoroughly about the company mission, vision and values and refer to them to indicate your passion and alignment with the organizational goals. Mention the key requirements for the job as stated in the job description and highlights from your experience, qualifications and skills that directly fulfill each of those requirements. Quantify your achievements and impact wherever possible with relevant metrics, figures and facts to make your statements more powerful.
Relate stories and examples from your professional background to showcase your relevant experiences and qualifications for the job. You may include how your qualifications and past accomplishments would help add value to the new role and organization. Highlight transferable skills you possess that are applicable even if you do not have direct experience in the same industry or domain. Emphasis should be on the values you can add to the organization rather than just responsibilities handled in the previous roles.
The conclusion paragraph should thank the employer for considering your application and re-emphasize your enthusiasm and suitability for the role one more time. State that you would be delighted for a chance to discuss your candidature in more detail in an interview. Reiterate your contact information and communicate your availability for a meeting. End the letter in a positive and confident tone.
In addition to the above structure, there are some basic formatting guidelines to keep in mind:
Use the same font style and size as your resume, preferably Times New Roman 12.
The cover letter should be addressed to a named contact person like the Hiring Manager instead of a generic salutation. Research to find the correct contact.
One page is the ideal length for a cover letter. Keep it to 3-4 paragraphs with single spacing.
Use the same header as your resume with your name and contact details.
Proofread thoroughly for typos, grammatical and spelling mistakes before mailing. Get it checked by another person as well.
Use strong, compelling and engaging language to convince the employer why you are their best choice candidate.
Thank the employer for taking the time to review your application at the beginning and end of the letter.
Customize each cover letter for different jobs with relevant details rather than generic content.
Attach your cover letter in PDF format along with your resume when applying online or sharing via email.
Print the cover letter on high quality white or cream paper using black ink if sending it via post with your resume.
Following an appropriate cover letter template and structure along with formatting guidelines will help you create a professional and persuasive cover letter to market yourself effectively for the desired job or internship opportunity. Remember, your cover letter serves as the first impression and is one of the primary factors determining if an employer takes interest in your candidature enough to review your resume. So craft it carefully highlighting the most compelling reasons why you are the ideal candidate to be invited for an interview. With practice, you can master the art of writing polished and results-oriented cover letters that get you noticed by potential employers.