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How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter: Templates and Examples
We get it, cover letters can be tough. There is so much confusion about cover letters, and so many people just simply don’t know where to begin, what needs to be included and how to really go about the whole process.
Well, we thought we would clear things up a bit, because let’s face it, cover letters are important. In fact, they are more important than you think, and if you submit a cover letter that isn’t exactly up to scratch, you could find yourself being tossed into the rejection pile before the hiring manager even gets to your resume.
It is so important that 85% of hiring managers state that they base their decision to shortlist someone based solely on their cover letter. So, if you haven’t been paying attention till now, maybe that will change your mind.
We took a look at what should be included, what needs to be left off and have given you a couple of templates and examples for you to use. Handy ‘ey?
Those Sneaky Myths About Cover Letters
Myth One: Your cover letter should be a summary of your resume.
This is an absolute no. In fact, when putting your cover letter together, set your resume or CV aside completely and start writing from scratch. Your cover letter is essentially an explanation of why you are perfect for the job and what skills, expertise and experience you have to offer the company that will make you a perfect fit.
Myth Two: Your cover letter should be short
Your cover letter should be simple, straight to the point and written in clear simple language, yes. But short, no. Here is your chance to create a personable connection with the hiring manager and really convey something about yourself to them. As much as a resume needs to be around two pages, a cover letter can really expand on what you can bring to the table.
Myth Three: You can use a generic greeting
It is important to remember that the entire cover letter needs to be personalized for each job that you are applying for. So, by saying something like “To whom it may concern”, shows the hiring agent that you might not have taken the time to thoroughly read the job listing. Rather address it directly to them.
What Absolutely, 100% NEEDS to be in a Cover Letter
Roles and responsibilities laid out in the job spec
When writing your cover letter, make sure you have the job spec right next to you so that you can tie your experience into what has been listed in the requirements. Tell them a story about how you have gained the experience and how it can be practically implemented in their company.
The company name and role
Mention the company in your cover letter. Adding this in will show the hiring manager that you are familiar with the company, have spent time researching it and that you are invested in becoming a valued employee.
Your basic information
Don’t leave this only for your resume. Rather include this on the cover letter too in order for the hiring manager to see exactly what they need to know about you in one quick look.
Where are you based?
What is your current role?
Your contact details (just in case they instantly love you and need to call you instantly).
A Great Example of a Cover Letter (with a few explanations)
1640 Riverside Drive, Hill Valley, California
Here you can see the basic information the hiring manager needs so that they don’t go scrounging around your CV looking for details. If you have been shortlisted, you details will be right on top for them to contact you
Dear Liz Lemon,
Make this as personal as possible. Most job listings have the name and surname of the hiring manager on the spec. If not, you can gather the name based on the email address.
I was excited to see the advertised role of Digital Marketing Specialist at Stark Industries as I have avidly followed the company for a number of years. With my years of experience in the digital marketing industry, I am certain that I will make a great addition to your team.
As you can see, we have mentioned the company's name and that we have been following the company's progress for a while. Here, you can also go into a bit about what the company has actually done that you admire so much, so that later on in the cover letter, you can tie that back to your achievements and what you can bring to the company.
In my current role as Head of Digital Marketing at Acme Co., I have been responsible for all of the company’s online marketing efforts and am currently supervising a team of five people in the department. I have been responsible for the 30% increase of traffic to the site over the last 6 months with targeted campaigns and an overhaul of the content strategy.
This is your chance to show off what you have achieved and how you have helped your current company succeed at something. This will show the hiring company that you have something to offer and know your way around the role. Make sure here that you tie in your achievements with what the job spec has laid out. So, if campaign management and driving traffic to the site was part of the spec, this would be a perfect response to the ad.
I would be honoured to join the team at Stark Industries as I fully believe that your current campaigns are leagues ahead of your competitors. I have particularly noted the campaign in which you highlight the plight of small businesses during COVID-19, which is a cause very close to my heart, and I would be excited to be a part of something that important. I am certain that my skillset and passion for the industry will be a great addition to your team.
You can see that we have praised the company for something that they are currently working on in order for the company to note that you have a good knowledge of their work. It is a good idea to really be personal about this and be genuine and heartfelt instead of bland and robotic.
Given the opportunity, I would appreciate a chance to discuss how my ideas and experience can be aligned to the Stark Industries marketing objectives. I would love to be a part of a team that helps in growing the company in the next five years.
This last paragraph can focus on what you want to do in the company and how you can help make a difference. Remember, they are investing in you, so this can be your closing point of your sales pitch.
You can choose to add a PS at the end of the cover letter, adding one more fact about yourself and how you would like to discuss it further with them, but that is fully up to you.
As you can see, it is short, concise and is all about the company, more than it is about you. So, keep that in mind going forward, and remember, do your research first!